December 18, 2014

Oak Ridge boy reflects on Elvis, Elvira (AUDIO)

Richard Sterban

Richard Sterban

The bass singer for the Oak Ridge Boys, known for his “oom-pa-pa-oom-pa-pa-mau-mau” bass solo in the song “Elvira” says he’s thrilled the band is still drawing huge crowds after four-plus decades of touring.

Richard Sterban and the other “boys” will be making one stop in Nebraska this year, tonight in Norfolk.

Sterban says the four first began as a gospel group in 1973 and he sees no immediate end in sight to their successful run.

“I think we have to be realistic,” Sterban says. “Nothing lasts forever but as long as the good Lord above keeps blessing the four of us with good health, you’re going to see us out here doing this. This is really what we enjoy doing. After all these years, 41 years together now, we still enjoy taking our music live to our fans and to our audience every night.”

The oldest member in the band is 75 years old while the youngest is 66. At 71, Sterban says he trusts they’ll be on the road and recording in the studio for many more years to come.

“We have developed a closeness between the four of us,” Sterban says. “We’ve developed a friendship that is second to none. We’ve developed a respect for each other. Each guy in our group is totally different and each guy brings something totally different to the table and the four of us respect that between the four of us.”

While Sterban is known for his very deep voice, he started his long singing career as a soprano at age six in the church choir and his voice remained high until he reached junior high school.

“In seventh grade, I was still singing tenor,” Sterban recalls. “Over the summertime, between seventh and eighth grade, my voice made a drastic change. When I went back for my eighth grade year, the choir teacher ended up putting me in the second bass section and obviously, I’ve been there ever since.”

His autobiography was published in 2012, “From Elvis to Elvira: My Life On Stage.” Before joining the Oak Ridge Boys, Sterban toured with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, who were singing backup for Elvis Presley. Earlier this year, “the Oaks” sold their 41-millionth album.

The Oak Ridge Boys are playing a special Christmas show tonight at the De Vent Center in Norfolk.

For ticketing information, visit the band’s website:

AUDIO: Hear the full interview with Sterban, 9:50


Famed Oak Ridge Boys to make one holiday stop in the state (AUDIO)

ORBChristmas1One of the most successful and longest-running country music acts will be making one stop in Nebraska next week.

The Oak Ridge Boys are marking their 25th annual Christmas tour in their 41st year as a band.

Bass singer Richard Sterban says the show is divided into two sections, the first being a rundown of the songs that have made them so famous for decades.

“It’s our greatest hits done live,” Sterban says, “so you’re going to hear 45 minutes of Oak Ridge Boys hits, including ‘Elvira,’ even though it’s a Christmas show, you’re going to hear ‘Elvira’ and ‘Thank God for Kids’ and all the songs that you’d expect to hear from the Oak Ridge Boys.”

After an intermission, the four-member group will return to the stage to focus exclusively on the songs of the Yuletide season.

“We cover just about every aspect of Christmas,” Sterban says. “We’re going to cover the secular side of Christmas, the fun side of Christmas, the romantic side of Christmas. We have a great time, a lot of audience participation.”

During the holiday half of the show, the four band members will have a seat in four rocking chairs arranged in front of a fireplace in what Sterban says has become a fan favorite.

“Basically, we take turns talking about childhood Christmas memories and what Christmas means to the four of us,” Sterban says. “It’s really a chance for the audience to get to know the four Oak Ridge Boys better. It’s a great down-home segment. We sing some traditional Christmas carols and we encourage the audience to sing along with us.”

Sterban became famous for his “oom-papa-oom-papa-mau-mau” bass solo in the single “Elvira.” It became the band’s fourth number-one country hit, reached number-five on the pop charts and won the group a Grammy award.

The Oak Ridge Boys are playing Wednesday, December 17th, at the De Vent Center in Norfolk. For ticketing information, visit the band’s website:

AUDIO: Hear the full interview with Sterban, 9:50


Nebraska ranks as the nation’s 10th healthiest state

Medical LogoNebraska rose one notch and again ranks in the top ten on the latest report that rates the states for their health and wellbeing.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, spokeswoman for the United Health Foundation, says the list is compiled by comparing 30 different criteria in four main categories: behaviors, community environment, public policy and the clinical care system.

“Nebraska ranks #10, last year they were ranked #11, and in 1990 when we began the report, they were ranked #5,” Dr. Randall says. “Nebraska has consistently been in the top 20 states over the course of the 25-year report.”

She says Nebraska had excellent showings in several categories this year.

“Nebraska is #1 in high school graduation and #2 in immunization coverage for children, so, very good news there,” Randall says. “Also, #3 for a low rate of drug deaths compared to the rest of the nation.”

Nebraska had a poor showing in rates of smoking, obesity and inactivity and Randall says there are a few other areas where the state could stand to improve.

“Twenty percent of the adult population, or one in five adults, is reporting they binge drink,” she says. “There’s a high incidence of salmonella which is a food-borne illness and a good indicator of infections related to contamination in our food.”

Hawaii ranked first this year, Mississippi was last.

See the full list of the rankings at:

Survey points to good job prospects in Nebraska in 2015

JobsFor people who are looking for a job, Nebraska should be a good place to find one in early 2015.

Karen Miller, a spokeswoman for Manpower Incorporated, says a survey of business leaders across the state by finds more than 20% plan to add to their workforces between January and March.

Miller says, “When taking a look and interviewing the businesses that participate in our survey, the exciting news is that about 70% of the employers surveyed said they’re going to maintain their current staff levels while another 21% are saying they’re going to increase staff levels.”

Those figures combined mean the first quarter of next year should be a good one for the state’s jobs outlook.

Miller says, “With 91% of businesses out there maintaining or increasing staff levels, it makes Nebraska a very solid place to find employment.”

While 21% of businesses surveyed in Nebraska plan to add to their staffs in the quarter ahead, about eight-percent plan to make cuts. When you subtract one from the other, you get what’s called the net employment outlook, which Miller says is very good for Nebraska.

Miller says, “Ultimately, the net employment outlook is a positive 13% for Q1, so if you’re needing a job, make sure you’re getting out there and knocking on some doors because the opportunties abound in Nebraska.”

The situation is much better than a year ago when the state’s first quarter net employment outlook was only at 8%.

Nebraska’s jobless rate is hovering around 3.5%, which is well below the national unemployment rate of almost 6%.


Could early winter weather be giving you the blues?

SunlightCold weather rolled into Nebraska weeks early this fall and lingered, forcing many people indoors much sooner than usual.

Kevin Gabbert, a social worker and counselor, says being deprived of exposure to the sun can bring on the blues and make some people feel moody and lethargic.

Gabbert says the early onset of winter -may- bring an uptick in cases of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“It really kind of depends,” Gabbert says. “If it’s a longer winter, if there’s less sunlight, those types of things tend to play a role in SAD and we could experience more cases. It’s a little early for us to say yet.”

On the plus side, Gabbert says a little counseling can go a long ways for SAD sufferers.

“Talking about what’s going on with you, talking about your feelings,” Gabbert says. “It may be to the point where counseling would be beneficial. For those symptoms that are a little more advanced, it may be something you want to talk about with your physician. It may be that medication would be beneficial for you. Also, light therapy or phototherapy could be very helpful as well.”

Psychologist Dr. David Towle says light therapy is a simple solution that really helps some people get through the Midwestern winter.

“We typically think about exposure of about 30 minutes per day of a full spectrum light,” Towle says. “Often, people will get up in the morning and sit and read the newspaper, listen to the radio, drink their coffee, and sit in front of a light for 20 or 30 minutes and that’s a pretty effective intervention.”

Towle says another option is what’s called “negative air ionization,” which uses a device like an air purifier.

“It is like that and it’s something that people use while they’re sleeping,” Towle says. “It seems not to be quite as effective as the full-spectrum light exposure but it’s pretty effective for a lot of people.”

Studies find that between 10 and 20% of Americans report feeling tired or sad when there are fewer hours of daylight during the winter months.