NORMAN — Dad used to perpetually hum a few bars of music when he entered a room. Around the holidays, the tunes were often unrecognizable. We finally figured it out: He’d mix some popular ones with some old Catholic school favorites to form an eclectic song that was always one of a kind.
Richard Zielinski, music and artistic director of the Norman Philharmonic, invites some of those local, freelance composers to put their own songs down in writing this week, perform them and send him a video. The winner gets $500 and gets their song performed by the Philharmonic as part of “A Simple Gift” concert at 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church.
Here are the rules: Song can used sacred or secular texts, must be no longer than 3 minutes in length, can be a cappella or with accompaniment.
Entrants should send a Youtube audio or video link to Info@NormanPhil.com, Subject: 2012 Christmas Song Competition.
The winner will receive $500 cash. Concert tickets cost $10 each and are available at McFarlin, 419 S. University.
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When top coaches leave successful programs, the names of replacement candidates are quickly scattered among the sports talk radio hosts and those “well informed” callers who seem to know everything.
Thank goodness it doesn’t work that way with university presidents. In August, Dr. Richard Levin announced he would retire as president of Yale University at the end of this academic year. “Informed callers” might drop the name of OU President David L. Boren as a candidate.
Dr. Levin, 65, has served longer than any major university president and one of the longest-serving in Yale’s history. With his departure, President Boren is believed to be the longest-serving president at a major university.
President Boren, who came to OU from the U.S. Senate in November 1994 is the second longest-serving OU president. He passed Dr. David Ross Boyd in longevity in January 2011 and is now second only behind Dr. George Cross who served from 1944 to 1968. The average tenure for university presidents is 8.5 years.
We don’t look for President Boren to be a candidate at Yale, his undergraduate alma mater. In January 2017, he’ll have 50 years of public service, counting his election to the legislature while still an OU law student, the governor’s chair and the U.S. Senate.
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Also in the longevity category, friends of Otto Hansmeyer will say goodbye next week. The pioneer Cleveland County resident died at home this past week at age 100.
From his farm on Tecumseh Road, he watched Norman change from a small town surrunding the university and state hospital to a thriving community with all the amenities of a larger urban area.
Interviewed in January, Hansmeyer told me about when his family finally received electricity. It was 1941 and the shortage of wire during World War II slowed the process.
“We just went from darkness to light,” Hansmeyer told me. “We were all ready to go before World War II. They got the right of way, set the poles and the war broke out and they couldn’t get the wire because of the war effort.”
Hansmeyer’s family will celebrate his life at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity Lutheran Church. His presence in east Norman will be missed.
“I’ve seen Norman grow from nothing to what it is today,” he told me in January. “I was born and raised on the same farm and I’ll stay here until they take me out feet first.”