Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on 88.7 FM, WICR in Indianapolis.

Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our new listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show. We invite you to visit our website!


July 3 show

Maestro Raymond Leppard's legendary life


Raymond Leppard, conducting the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In a first for Hoosier History Live!, our guest holds the title of Commander of the British Empire. That honor, bestowed by the Queen of England, is merely one of many high notes in the remarkable life and career of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conductor laureate Raymond Leppard.


The 82-year-old maestro's visit to our studio comes as he is about to be named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society at a black-tie gala July 16.


Maestro Leppard, who served as the ISO's music director from 1987 to 2001, certainly has become an adopted (and beloved) Hoosier since taking up permanent residency in Indianapolis. He even became an American citizen in 2003.


Born in London, he grew up in scenic Bath and became a prolific recording artist (his other honors include a Grammy Award) and conducted major orchestras around the world before his 14-year career with the ISO. During that tenure, he led the orchestra on eight recordings and two tours of Europe. He also has written several film scores, including the soundtracks for Lord of the Flies (1963) and Hotel New Hampshire (1984).



Raymond Leppard. Image courtesy Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.What's more, Leppard returned to the podium at the Hilbert Circle Theatre last September when his musical successor, Mario Venzago, left the ISO after contract negotiations failed. The ISO reached out to its conductor laureate and asked him to lead the orchestra for its season opener.


The maestro's legion of admirers also know he was a longtime friend of the late "Queen Mum" (mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II) and that he initiated Indianapolis On-The-Air, a nationally syndicated radio broadcast of ISO performances. At the beginning of his prolific career, he won raves as a harpsichordist.


In addition to the maestro, the distinguished Living Legends-to-be will include U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and civic leaders Bill Mays, founder of Mays Chemical, and his wife Rose, a professor emeritus at the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI.


Some fun facts:


  • The ISO is one of just 17 year-round orchestras in the country.
  • Leppard has honorary degrees from several universities, including the University of Indianapolis. So this Commander of the British Empire should feel at home in the WICR-FM studios.


History Mystery question


Shortridge High School served as the first Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra home in 1930. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis blog.The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1930 and played its first concert at Shortridge High School. Since then, three venues have served for long periods as the concert hall for the ISO. The second venue was Clowes Hall, which opened in 1963. The ISO moved to Circle Theatre on Monument Circle with its initial renovation in 1984.


Question: What majestic building was the primary concert hall for the ISO from the mid-1930s until the opening of Clowes Hall? Hints: The building was not Shortridge. And it still stands.

The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is two tickets to the Children's Museum, courtesy of the ICVA.




Spirit of America band combination image.Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA recommends that we check out the Spirit of America, a world-class marching band from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. How does free sound? Check out this marching-band extravaganza on Thursday, July 8 at 8 p.m. at IPS's Manual High School. The Spirit of America 100-member marching band will perform its acclaimed "Exploration," an inspiring adventure and a time travel through history to meet some of our nation's most prominent figures.


Indianapolis Public Schools logo.Founded in the early 1970s, Spirit of America began as a hometown marching band and now tours the country to teach of the about the United States and the history of our country. This group has toured Europe, Africa, Canada and even Australia. Be sure to make the easy Roadtrip to Manual High School this Thursday!


Your friends in Hoosierdom,


Nelson Price, host and creative director

Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101

Chris Gahl, Roadtripper

Richard Sullivan, tech and web director    

Garry Chilluffo, consultant



Lucas OilIndiana Historical Society logo.

The Fadely Trust. A fund of the Indianapolis Foundation.

Henry's Coffee Bistro logo.Story Inn

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Henry's Coffee Bistro on East, The Fadely Trust, Indiana Historical Society, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.


Acknowledgments to Scott Keller Fine Art and Antiques Appraisals, Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.


July 10 show

Diners across Indiana


Plainfield Diner in Plainfield, Ind., is among many endangered stylish old diners. Exterior image.Roadside diners are a broiling topic this summer, what with a landmark, now-vacant eatery in Plainfield imperiled. Built in 1954 and topped by an eye-catching coffee-cup sign, the Plainfield Diner stands along the National Road/U.S. 40 and heads the "10 Most Endangered" buildings in the state list compiled by Indiana Landmarks.


The hubbub has prompted the creation of a Facebook crusade to save the beloved dinner and an outcry that's startling all and sundry, according to Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services at Landmarks.


The Plainfield Diner is in the Streamline Moderne style, and its 1954 interior is original.Obviously, diners (which boomed during the 1940s and '50s) have been popular across the state, even though, as the current issue of Landmarks' Indiana Preservationist puts it, they now are at risk of being "rendered obsolete by fast-food chains, urban sprawl, and interstates."


At Hoosier History Live!, we relish this opportunity to explore all aspects of Indiana diners. That means not only will Mark join Nelson in studio, so will a well-known foodie to weigh in on an array of Hoosier diners, contemporary and bygone. What are the ingredients of a good diner, and what are telltale signs of a rotten one? What makes the Plainfield diner, built in an architectural style known as "streamline moderne," so special? Do you savor the jukeboxes, tenderloin sandwiches, milk shakes or curved booths at a Hoosier diner?


Consider yourself invited to call in during the show to share your picks and pans.  You can also expect a second Mystery Guest who is known simply as "Diner Dude." This wily gentleman has traveled the highways and byways of Indiana experiencing roadside diners for a good seven decades.


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