Letters: Women and Orchestras, Diller, Sports Scores

Scott Simon tears open the listener e-mail bag. Many write to note that other women have preceded Marin Alsop as the leaders of large American orchestras. Other topics: a memory of an early Phyllis Diller comedy routine and the reporting of sports scores.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

Last week, we interviewed Marin Alsop about her appointment to become the next conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra beginning in 2007. We identified her as the first woman to be chosen to lead a major American symphony. Many people wrote to point out that this is not strictly true. Anne Manson was music director of the Kansas City Symphony until last year, and Michael Metzger in Buffalo wrote in praise of JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic. He said, `While the BPO may have to take a backseat to the New York, Philadelphia, Boston and maybe even Cleveland and Detroit orchestras, it's certainly as major as the Baltimore Symphony.

Many of you also wrote in praise of Phyllis Diller, whom we interviewed last week about her retirement from stand-up comedy. She recalled one of her earliest performances in a US Army psychiatric ward for the Red Cross. Coralee Key(ph) of Ft. Worth, Texas, was a student nurse at the hospital where Ms. Diller performed. She says, `I remember it like it was yesterday because the nurses were the only ones laughing. The patients were all medicated and just sat there expressionless. We felt so sorry for this poor woman who was really giving her all before an audience that was 75 percent out to lunch.' So that's how nurses talk about their patients.

Finally, Karen Kroverst(ph) of Woodland Hills, California, wrote to complain about our sports coverage. She says, `Please stop giving away the results minutes after the event ends. I live on the West Coast and many of these events occur very early in the morning here, so I usually record them to watch once I wake up.' Well, sports scores are news, Ms. Kroverst. We can't keep them secret, but let's try it your way. We'd like to report at this time that Lance Armstrong has won his seventh Tour de France.

Now turn away from your radio so you don't hear this: (Whispers) The Cubs will win the pennant in 2006. The Cubs win the pennant! The Cubs win the pennant!

(Soundbite of Phyllis Diller laughing)

SIMON: You can reach us through our Web site, npr.org. And please tell us where you live and how to say your name.

(Soundbite of music and typing)

SIMON: People find my laugh irritating. You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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