People in the News

Eds: Items on Chubby Checker, Jack Kevorkian, Emerson String Quartet, Kit Armstrong

AP Photos NY111 for Checker, MIPON103 for Kevorkian, NYET305 for Emerson String Quartet

By The Associated Press

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) – Singer Chubby Checker wants a new record – a Guinness world record.

Checker, who now goes by “Chubby C” to reflect his reinvention as a rap artist, vied for the distinction in a dance event Saturday sponsored by Myrtle Beach radio station WWXM FM. Nearly 190 people took part as Checker played his ‘50s hit “The Twist.”

“It’s so nice to be here,” he said. “This old eagle is laying some new eggs.”

As part of the event, at least 114 people did the electric slide and then 151 did the cha-cha. The crowd grew to 188 as dancers did The Twist while Checker sang his famous song.

The Guinness Book of World Records currently does not list a record for the most people participating in a dance.

LAPEER, Mich. (AP) – Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, behind bars for the videotaped lethal injection of a man in 1998, says he expects to die in prison, but has few regrets.

In a telephone interview with The Daily Oakland Press of Pontiac published Sunday, the 75-year-old retired pathologist said he does not see his work as a failure.

“There’s no doubt I expect to die in prison,” said Kevorkian. “All the big powers, they’ve silenced me. … So much for free speech and choice on this fundamental human right.”

Kevorkian is serving 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder in the 1998 videotaped poisoning of Thomas Youk, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease and was shown on CBS’ “60 Minutes” receiving a lethal dose of potassium chloride.

Kevorkian said there has been no outcry over his imprisonment because his supporters are “frightened.”

“The American people are sheep. They’re comfortable, rich, working. It’s like the Romans, they’re happy with bread and their spectator sports,” he said. “The Super Bowl means more to them than any right.”

Kevorkian has said he assisted in at least 130 deaths, but has promised he will not assist in any more suicides if he is released from prison. He said in the interview that he stands by that promise.

NEW YORK (AP) – Music benefactor Avery Fisher didn’t take quartets into consideration when he established the prestigious classical music prize in his name in 1974.

Recipients of the Avery Fisher Prize include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the violinist Midori and pianists Emanuel Ax and Andre Watts.

Now, for the first time in the history of the award presented by Lincoln Center, the winner is a chamber music ensemble. The Emerson String Quartet – violinists Philip Setzer and Eugene Drucker, violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel – are getting it Monday.

But they will have to share the $50,000 prize.

“When I found out we had to split the fees four ways, it was the first and only time I wished we had formed a string trio instead of a quartet,” Setzer joked during an interview with The Associated Press.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Although only 12 years old, child prodigy Kit Armstrong has already been compared to Mozart for his piano and composition skills.

His teachers, however, think that may be an understatement.

“Mozart didn’t do math and he didn’t go to university when he was 9,” said Eleanor Sokoloff, 89, Kit’s piano instructor at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Kit, who is also studying chemistry and abstract algebra at the University of Pennsylvania, recently landed professional management from the same talent agency that represents Jennifer Lopez, Diane Keaton and Yo-Yo Ma.

Interview requests are streaming in and he already has been on David Letterman’s show.

“My first compositions were really complete gibberish,” Kit says. Then at the ripe age of 6, “Through some unclear transformation, I wrote my Chicken Sonata, and that was my first real piece of music.”

He describes the piece as “a collection of four chicken pieces. In the classical style.”

AP-ES-04-11-04 1418EDT

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