KU pep band gets a red-hot performance at the Champions Classic

Posted on Nov 15, 2017 in News and Sports

With legendary programs such as Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke joining Kansas for the annual Champions Classic doubleheader, the stars were out in Chicago’s United Center.

One famous face, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, was spotted in the stands sporting a KU shirt and hat. Men’s basketball band members improvised a chant to invite Smith to come jam with the Jayhawks. “He was actually really nice and super excited to play with us,” says band director Sharon Toulouse, f’97, g’05. “A memory these guys will never forget!”

Watch the video below, posted by Chad Smith himself! The original video is from Kolby Coons, c’13.

-Ryan Camenzind

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Jayhawks in the News | Oct. 20

Posted on Oct 20, 2017 in News and Sports

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org | Jayhawks in the news
Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

The last rocket pilot | HistoryNet

Joe Engle flew everything from Super Sabres to the Space Shuttle, but it is as an X-15 pilot that he is perhaps best known. Born in Kansas in 1932, Engle graduated from the Univer­sity of Kansas at Lawrence in 1956 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. From the start he set his sights on the sky, joining Air Force ROTC and earning his wings in 1958.
Read full article.

CAM Integrated Solutions to establish Denver presence | BusinessWire.com

CAM Integrated Solutions, LLC, a provider of EPCM services to the onshore oil and gas industry, recently hired Chris Reischman. He will lead the company’s new office in Denver. Reischman is a University of Kansas graduate and holds a Bachelor of Science in both Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration.
Read full article.

Home sweet home away from home | The Kansan

Kelly Breckunitch is a general assignment/county reporter for The Kansan. He headed back to his alma mater for Homecoming and alumni band and wrote a column about it.
Read full article.

Cities taking narrow approach to start adapting to climate change see benefits | EurekAlert!

A new study led by a University of Kansas urban planning researcher sheds light on tradeoffs between taking a narrow approach focused on connections between climate change adaptation and reducing risks from hazards like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and taking a broader approach connecting adaptation to a wide array of city functions.
Read full article.

Native American secrets lie buried in huge shell mounds | New York Times

KU alumna Jacque Miller, now a graduate student at the University of Maine, helps conduct research on shell middens along the coastline in Maine. The research was featured in the New York Times.
Read full article.

Education is her choice of weapon | Fort Scott Tribune

Bernadette Gray-Little, former University of Kansas chancellor, was honored during the 14th Annual Gordon Parks Celebration Tribute Dinner. Kevin Willmott, the 2016 Choice of Weapons Award recipient, introduced Gray-Little and led a conversation with her.
Read full article.

Alumna uses ground-up limestone to paint different iterations of the Jayhawk | University Daily Kansan

Thirteen years after graduation, artist Megh Knappenberger has returned to the University with “The Original Six” project. The six-piece display represents the six different iterations of the Jayhawk. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2004 with a degree in visual communication.
Read full article.

Green Light to Hollywood: A KU alum’s chase for the glimmering hope of making it big | University Daily Kansan

Kansas man and visual effects producer Barry St. John went from recreating a Beastie Boys music video for a class at KU to managing effects for films at Disney and Warner Bros. Now at 36, his career has continued to rise, with a timeline that includes work on the Oscar-winning 2016 animated feature “The Jungle Book” and the upcoming Spielberg flick “Ready Player One.”
Read full article.

Christina Warinner uncovers ancient tales in dental plaque | Science News

At age 21, Christina Warinner cut her teeth on that incredibly complex sacrificial burial left behind by the Maya in a Belize rainforest. Today, at age 37, the molecular anthropologist scrapes at not-so-pearly whites to investigate similar questions. She splits her time between the University of Oklahoma in Norman and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.
Read full article.

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Forty years of Hog Calling: The Marching Jayhawks’ pregame tradition

Posted on Oct 6, 2017 in News and Sports

You’re already in your seat. You’re still in line at the snack bar. Or maybe you are enjoying one last beverage before heading into Memorial Stadium. Be anywhere else but under the east side stands about 40 minutes before kickoff, and you will miss a Marching Jayhawks tradition that’s a little more obscure than most.

For 40 years, the Marching Jayhawks have used one song to pump them up before running onto the field at Memorial Stadium to play the songs that get everyone else ready for the game.

“When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
A-a-men!”

If it sounds bizarre and unofficial, that’s because it is. Unlike other KU traditions that date back to the late 19th century, “Hog Calling” began 40 years ago when a group of Marching Jayhawks were bored.

 

From the top

Lee Whitman, d’82, from Kearney, Nebraska, learned the song while working on staff at a Boy Scout camp. “It was a silly song the staff would sing to the Boy Scout troops, kind of like a comedy skit,” Whitman said.

“It was started my freshman year in 1977 when three friends and I were trying to kill time before run-in by singing classic barbershop quartet songs. Fellow tubas John Clyatt & Gordon Lankenau, drum major Steve Gordon, and I ran through a few songs to scattered applause and had time to do one more. I pulled Hog Calling out and said to just follow my lead. The people listening laughed and next week we were asked to do it again. And so it started. By the time I marched my last game as a student, it had elevated to most of the band gathering around to join in,” Whitman said.

“Don’t ask me what made me suggest the four of us sing it that first time in 1977, or why such a nonsensical song would catch on in Jayhawk nation. It just happened. It was just a time-killer until everyone yelled ‘drums on the field’ meaning we were getting ready to run down the steps and start pregame.”

Surprised that the song is still going strong, 40 years later?

“I thought it would die a swift death after I graduated in 1982.”

Hog Calling today

Bennett Johnson, a Lenexa senior studying music education, is a drum major for the Marching Jayhawks. As a four-year member, Johnson has gone from wide-eyed freshman to a leader for more than 250 students in the band.

“The freshmen in the band aren’t told about it beforehand, and the surprise is pretty amazing,” Johnson said. “I thought it was one of the coolest experiences I’d had at KU so far.”

Like most traditions, the Hog Calling has changed over time. The entire band gathers arm-in-arm in circles and sings the verse two times. In between verses, a band member gives a short speech while everyone hums along to the melody. Afterwards, everyone huddles up for a ‘What time is it? Game time!’ call and response.

Since the sousaphone section started the tradition 40 years ago, it’s only appropriate that they get their time to shine during each rendition today.

“Each game, a different sousaphone member gives the speech and leads the chant at the end,”  Johnson said. “The last game of the season is usually taken by the most senior member of the section.”

Despite the changes, don’t expect to hear complaining from those who were there first.

“I love how it has morphed over the years,” Whitman said. “I like that Hog Calling is our band’s private tradition, and the members are free to modify as they see fit. When we started, it was four guys singing at a single run-in line and believe me, even after we graduated we had no idea that the younger students would keep it up!”

The other KU team

As a group of students that commit their free time three days a week to practice—plus gamedays, which are often all-day affairs— the Marching Jayhawks share a bond in their passion for the University, the music, and each other: the other KU team that plays on Saturdays on the hill.

“The band is a family, often as close-knit as any greek house or other similar organization,” Whitman said. “We aren’t all music majors, in fact I think a majority are not. But we love playing, being part of the game day experience, and being a part of one of the best marching band programs around.”

-Ryan Camenzind

Chalk 'n' Rock | Homecoming 2017KU’s 105th Homecoming celebration, Jayhawks of the Galaxy, takes place Oct. 1-7, 2017. All alumni are invited to return to their alma mater, including Marching Jayhawks. Band alumni return to Memorial Stadium every Homecoming to march on the field— and join in the hog calling! For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, visit the Homecoming website. Homecoming is sponsored by Crown Toyota Volkswagen.

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Fortissimo Fan Fare

Posted on Mar 15, 2017 in News and Sports

Carrying on traditions that date back to the days when the Jayhawks played in Hoch Auditorium, the men’s basketball band fills Allen Field House with an energizing mix of musicianship, enthusiasm, school spirit and just plain fun. Hear director Sharon Toulouse, f’97, g’05, and many of her talented musicians explain the stories behind their rites and rituals, and read more about it in “Fortissimo Fan Fare,” in issue No. 2, 2017, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

 

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KU Drumline helps celebrate Royal win

Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in News and Sports

We’re loving this video of the Marching Jayhawks Drumline at the Kansas City Royals celebration in October!

 

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“Whistlers” entertain Fieldhouse crowd

Posted on Feb 27, 2015 in News and Sports

Joe Zielinski and Curtis Marsh, Allen Fieldhouse Whistlers | www.kualumni.org
Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Joe Zielinski, j’92, are well-known to many KU basketball fans for their, shall we say, shenanigans in Allen Fieldhouse. Anyone remember Captain Jayhawk and the Superfans, or the Flying Banduzzici Brothers? Many of their antics were left behind when the men graduated, but one tradition still makes an occasional appearance in the Fieldhouse: whistling.

As fixtures in the student section during their college days, Joe and Curtis spent their pre-game hours like most students— tearing newspapers into confetti and organizing cheers— but they also became adept at whistling very loudly, sometimes even on-key.

They used their newfound skill to make as much noise as possible during the games, but they also began to experiment with actual songs. According to Curtis, “We didn’t like the profanity some students used to show their disdain toward the game’s referees, so we started whistling ‘Three Blind Mice’ whenever we disagreed with a call.”

Joe and Curtis then decided to step up their game and try whistling the trumpet solo while the pep band played “Brass Roots.” After several attempts, they perfected their whistling duet and a new tradition was born.

After graduating, the pair thought their whistling days were in the past. “We thought it was less acceptable to be so silly in other parts of the Fieldhouse,” Curtis says. But to their surprise, they discovered that the “Brass Roots” whistle duet was still well-received outside the student section.

“The song is played less often these days, but the current band director heard about our little show and asked if we’d like to perform with the band,” explained Curtis. “So, whenever we attend a game together, if the band plays ‘Brass Roots’ we whistle along.”

—Debbi Johanning

Watch a video of the Allen Fieldhouse Whistlers, shot in 2014 by Andy Lees with KU Marketing and Communications:

 
Additional video footage of the Whistlers:
Video posted Dec. 24, 2007
Video posted Dec. 10, 2014

Photo credit: Chuck France

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Throwback Thursday: Homecoming 1925

Posted on May 1, 2014 in News and Sports

KU’s 102nd Homecoming celebration will take place Sept. 21-27 of this year, and we thought it would be fun to share photos and stories from past Homecomings to help get alumni, students and fans excited. So, we’re participating in the internet theme Throwback Thursday, a popular trend on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram where users post old pictures of themselves.

Here’s a fun picture from University Archives at the Spencer Research Library: the alumni band from 1925 in a semi-circle on the football field. The photo is titled “Band of old timers.”

Homecoming 1925  |  photo courtesy of University Archives, Spencer Research Library

Check back next week for another look at KU’s rich tradition of Homecoming! We’d love to see your Homecoming pictures and hear your stories. Submit them to us at share@kualumni.org, or tag your pictures with #kuhomecoming on Twitter or Instagram.

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5 fun items in the Rock Chalk Ball auction

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 in News and Sports

Rock Chalk Ball | www.kualumni.org

Rock Chalk Ball is this Saturday!

The popular Kansas City event, now in its 19th year, is officially sold out for the first time in history. One of the most-anticipated components of the black-tie event is the auction, where attendees have the opportunity to satisfy their shopping habit while supporting their favorite university.

Here’s a look at five unique items in this year’s auction:

1. Marching band bagMarching Band bag

These unique tote bags are made from actual KU Marching Band uniforms! KU Bands has donated two bags, each of a different style. These bags are perfect for the Jayhawk who already has everything, and they’re a great conversation starter!

2. A year of pizza

Like pizza and beer? Who doesn’t. The winner of this auction can make a trip to Westport every month for an entire year to enjoy a large pizza from Joe’s Pizza and two pitchers of beer at Kelly’s. That’s twelve pizzas and 24 pitchers of beer, folks.

3. KU rocking horse

Our creative director, Susan Younger, isn’t the only artist in her family. This adorable wooden rocking horse, handcrafted by her husband, Jerry, will convince any toddler to be a Future Jayhawk.

Handcrafted wooden rocking horse

Crimson and blue stilettos

4. Crimson and blue ceramic stilettos

Here’s another unusual addition for your KU collection—a pair of ceramic stilettos adorned with a Jayhawk theme. If only you could actually wear them…

5. Basketball boy/girl

No, you aren’t bidding on an actual child. Give your future Jayhawk the opportunity of a lifetime- the chance to be a ball boy or ball girl at a 2014-15 men’s basketball game!

These are just a few of the many fun items that will be auctioned off this Saturday at the Ball. The silent auction will take place during the cocktail hour. Stay tuned this week to read about more auction items, or check out the full list.

Bidders, take your mark, and don’t forget your wallet!

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Throwback Thursday: Homecoming 1956

Posted on Mar 13, 2014 in News and Sports

KU’s 102nd Homecoming celebration will take place Sept. 21-27 of this year, and we thought it would be fun to share photos and stories from past Homecomings to help get alumni, students and fans excited. So, we’re participating in the internet meme Throwback Thursday, a popular trend on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram where users post old pictures of themselves.

The first official Homecoming theme, “Songs of Victory,” was introduced in 1956. Fraternity, sorority and residence hall members incorporated the Homecoming theme into decorations on their lawns.

The picture below was taken at halftime of the Homecoming football game against Nebraska. The Jayhawks fell to the Cornhuskers 20-26.

Homecoming.1956

Check back next week for another look at KU’s rich tradition of Homecoming! We’d love to see your Homecoming pictures and hear your stories. Submit them to us at share@kualumni.org, or tag your pictures with #kuhomecoming on Twitter or Instagram.

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Alumna parlays study abroad into a career in Germany

Posted on Sep 24, 2013 in News and Sports

img_news_homecoming_meggan_holtWhen Meggan Holt, f’02, was a senior in high school, she had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Germany. Fast forward to 2001: An opportunity to study abroad arose during her fifth year at KU; three months later, she was on a plane to Frankfurt.

Meggan says she never planned to stay in Germany. “On the contrary, I had interviewed for a graphic design position at Hallmark in Kansas City. They said, ‘Give us a call when you get back from Germany.'” That day never came. “Since I had no obligations in the states, I decided to stay in Germany as long as it was possible. Twelve years later, I’m still here!” she explains.

Although she teaches English to business professionals, Meggan is still involved in music and design. She joined the Symphonic Choir of Hamburg in 2010 and has also designed the concert promotional materials since 2012.

What made you decide to attend KU?
I decided to attend KU for many reasons, including the reputation of the design and music departments, and I wanted to be involved in activities outside of my program of study. Since I have such a variety of interests, I wanted to be at a university that would allow me to study design, be involved in the different bands, continue improving my German, as well as other extracurricular programs.

What is your favorite KU tradition or KU memory?
Waving the wheat, although, to be honest, I think I was always in the band playing during those times! When I catch a game online now, though, one can see me waving the wheat with the best of them!

What groups or activities were you involved with while at KU?
I was involved in many activities while I was at KU, including marching, concert and women’s basketball bands, Tau Beta Sigma (honorary band sorority) Campus Christians, and AIGA.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence?
The sense of community. I felt there was definitely a relationship between the city and the university; something that is not present in all college towns. And who couldn’t love Mass Street?!

img_news_homecoming_band_meggan_holtWhat do you love most about KU Homecoming?
ALUMNI BAND! Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to participate once. But I will be attending Homecoming again this year! I planned my visit to the states around it. I knew that I would have fun being part of Alumni Band and seeing old friends again. However, I had no idea just how much fun it would be! The best part about it is how the alumni and current band members are integrated.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Find a way to study abroad for a semester or year. Yes, I am definitely an exception to the rule because I stayed abroad! But I hope this will encourage students to not give up on dreams that seem impossible. I didn’t think I would be able to come back to Germany, other than possibly for vacation, let alone live here. What an amazing adventure!

Jayhawks Around the World, 2013 KU Homecoming | www.kualumni.orgThis year’s Homecoming theme, Jayhawks Around the World, celebrates the University’s global reach in terms of international students and faculty, research discoveries that change the world and the achievements of KU alumni, who live in 150 countries around the globe. Visit www.kualumni.org/homecoming for a schedule of events and to learn more about KU’s Homecoming tradition.

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