The Norman Transcript

February 9, 2014

Wagner’s Trombone Choir set to kick off his 45th year at OU

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — You can’t say or write OU music professor Irv Wagner’s name without mentioning spoons and trombones. He’s a master of both but will only play the trombone in a special concert Wednesday night at 8 p.m. inside Catlett Music Center.

Wagner’s Trombone Choir will kick off Wagner’s 45th year at OU. He came to Norman from Baton Rouge where he taught briefly.

“This marks the beginning of my 45th year and the trombone choir. This is sort of a kick off for the year,” Wagner said.

He’s expecting some special guests for the hour-long event. OU President David Boren and former Gov. George Nigh will be there. Wagner played for Boren’s Norman announcement that he would run for governor in 1974. Wagner’s group played a special piece for Boren’s OU inauguration 20 years later in 1994.

For one of George Nigh’s inaugurations as governor, Wagner assembled 77 trombones (one from every county with maybe a few immigrants) and played “76 Trombones.”

The appeal of trombones has declined in recent years. They’re a tough instrument to carry on a bicycle or on the school bus.

“But we’re trying to do all we can in Oklahoma to bring it back,” he said.


Former state Rep. and state Sen. Cal Hobson will run for District 3 County Commissioner.

He told me he made the decision following a meeting of Lexington townsfolk this week.

They were upset over the state’s closure of the bridge over the Canadian River and the lack of action to get it repaired and reopened. “He wasn’t even there,” Hobson said of the current commissioner Rusty Sullivan.

That span connects Lexington and Purcell. The detours are killing businesses, splitting families and causing problems for schools and churches.

Hobson, 68, lives in Lexington. He’ll run as a Democrat and is a familiar name on the ballot. He served in the state House and state Senate, rising to the Pro-Tem seat.

The County District 3 post was held by Democrats until Rusty Sullivan defeated Leroy Krohmer in 2006. Sullivan is expected to run for a third, four-year term. Daryl Covey of Lexington will also run in the Republican primary. State Rep.Mike Reynolds is also considering a run at the post.


Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is quite the draw. Her appearance on campus this week marked one of the largest audiences ever at an OU President’s Associates dinner.

Justice O’Connor, who turns 84 next month, had some advice for judges feeling the pressure of popular opinion weighing on their adherence to the rule of law. “It’s called a backbone,” O’Connor said.

She had some advice for young women entering the legal profession. Get as much experience as you can and don’t ever give up.

O’Connor should know. When she graduated No. 3 in her Stanford Law School class no one would hire her. She answered 40 help wanted ads on her law school bulletin board but no one returned her calls. One firm wanted to know about her typing skills. She eventually landed a job as an assistant county attorney in California.

In about 30 years, she went from being an unemployed law school graduate to her 1981 appointment the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Andy Rieger


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