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KPBS Radio Holiday Programs 2009

Above: Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men's choir: Michael McNeil, Alan Reinhardt, Cortez Mitchell. Matthew Curtis, Jace Wittig - Assistant Music Director, Gabriel Lewis-O'Connor, Gregory Peebles, Adam Ward, Dylan Hostetter, Eric Alatorre, Brian Hinman, Ben Jones

KPBS Radio will broadcast these holiday specials throughout the month of December:

"Hanukkah Lights 2009"
Airs Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10 a.m.
A perennial NPR favorite for nearly two decades, acclaimed authors explore Hanukkah stories written expressly for Hanukkah Lights. This year's show features brand new stories by Danit Brown, Michael Blumenthal and Rachel Shukert. Hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Rick Blackwell, Kathy Mattea, and Bill Cooley
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Above: Rick Blackwell, Kathy Mattea, and Bill Cooley

"A Carolina Christmas From Biltmore Estate With Kathy Mattea"
Airs Saturday, December 12 at 7 p.m.
"A Carolina Christmas from Biltmore Estate, with Kathy Mattea" is a festive celebration of holiday music -- from one of the most magnificent acoustic venues in the country! "A Carolina Christmas" features soloists and large ensembles performing a rich variety of songs, including sacred music of the season, African-American spirituals, Celtic jigs and folk favorites. Center stage is the rich voice and warm spirit of two-time Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Kathy Mattea, singing fresh arrangements from her Grammy award-winning holiday album Good News. Ms. Mattea is accompanied by the Carolinas’ premiere choral ensemble, VOX, as well as the Baroque/Celtic trio The Beggar Boys. This special musical offering provides a rich vocal experience to be enjoyed throughout the 12 days of Christmas. The concert comes to you from the extraordinary Banquet Hall of Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private home, built by George Vanderbilt more than 100 years ago.

"A Harpist's Christmas With Yolanda Kondonassis"
Airs Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 8 p.m.
"A Harpist's Christmas with Yolanda Kondonassis" is a celebration of the holiday with familiar carols arranged for harp, flute and viola. Host Fred Child welcomes one of the world's pre-eminent harpists, Yolanda Kondonassis, into the music studio to play these tunes and to talk about what makes each of these carols so special. Yolanda is joined by Joshua Smith, principal flutist with the Cleveland Orchestra, and Cynthia Phelps, principal violist with the New York Philharmonic. The particular blend of these instruments is at once delicate and dynamic. It's a beautiful way to celebrate the season.
Listen to the program online.

VocalEssence Chorus With Orchestra
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Above: VocalEssence Chorus With Orchestra

"Welcome Christmas"
Airs Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 7 p.m.
There's no better way to welcome Christmas than with "Welcome Christmas!" It's the VocalEssence holiday concert from American Public Media. Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence welcome Christmas with music for the season new and old. For over three decades, VocalEssence has been revered in Minnesota and around the world as a premier producer of innovative choral music.
Listen to the program online.

"Echoes Of Christmas"
Airs Friday, December 18, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Dale Warland grew up in the fields of northern Iowa, singing every day in a one-room schoolhouse and every week in the nearby country church. This was the simple beginning to one of the great careers in American music. His virtuoso 40-voice choir, the Dale Warland Singers, became his 'voice' to convey the many ways of celebrating Christmas. In this program, treasured old carols sit alongside brand new arrangements and commissioned pieces, and the hour's centerpiece is the Benjamin Britten classic, "A Ceremony of Carols." Listen to the program online.

St. Olaf Orchestra 2009-2010
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Above: St. Olaf Orchestra 2009-2010

"St. Olaf Christmas Festival"
Airs Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 7 p.m.
A cherished tradition for nearly a century, the "St. Olaf Christmas Festival" is a spiritual musical journey that takes us from the expectation of Advent, to that holiest of moments when Christ was born in a lowly stable, to the arrival twelve days later of the Three Kings from the East. Over 500 student musicians from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota warm this cold and dark December night with their refined and glowing tone, at one moment hushed and reverent, and at another full of joy and awe at the Christmas blessing. You'll hear familiar carols, choral motets and hymns with the some 3,000 audience members singing along. You may find yourself moved to do the same! Hosted by Alison Young.

"Christmas Around The Country"
Airs Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 8 p.m.
The best of classical holiday music from coast to coast. NPR takes you from churches to concert halls to auditoriums to town halls all across the nation in search of performances that express the best of the holiday season. Lisa Simeone hosts.

"A Paul Winter Solstice Concert"
Airs Monday, December 21, 2009 at 7 p.m.
The holiday tradition continues with "Paul Winter's Winter Solstice Celebration." A dynamic musical celebration in the extraordinary acoustics of the world’s largest Gothic cathedral - New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine - highlight the music of the Winter Consort with Gospel singer Theresa Thomason, Brazilian singer/guitarist Renato Braz, and woodwind master Paul McCandless. John Schaefer hosts the production from Living Music and Murray Street.

The vocal group Trio Mediaeval sings old and new Christmas carols from its native Norway in NPR's Studio 4A.

Above: The vocal group Trio Mediaeval sings old and new Christmas carols from its native Norway in NPR's Studio 4A.

"Choirs And Carols: An NPR Christmas"
Airs Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Hear musicians from around the world in NPR's performance studio as they share special holiday moments. Join host Lisa Simeone for ancient harmonies from Trio Medieval, as well as traditional carols from the Riga Dom Boys Choir, and a rarely heard Christmas song by Sibelius, straight from Finland's YL Choir. The Pittsburgh Brass unpacks a pair of 500-pound bells to ring in the holiday, and the members of Trio Voronezh tune up a balalaika or two.
Listen to the program online.

"A Chanticleer Christmas"
Airs Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 7 p.m.
"A Chanticleer Christmas" is American Public Media's one-hour celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men's choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries — from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic contemporary carols. And no Chanticleer program would be complete without Music Director Joseph Jenning's patented Christmas spirituals arrangements. Recorded in the gorgeous acoustic of Memorial Church, on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, on December 10, we're pleased to make this program available to you the following week — just in time for Christmas!
Listen to the program online.

Jim Cunningham

Above: Jim Cunningham

"The Messiah"
Airs Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 7 p.m.
The holiday season is always a festive time of year at Heinz Hall. A tree is decorated in the grand hall, snow is falling outside, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs one of the season's musical delights. Let the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir get you in the holiday spirit with Handel's "Messiah." Under the baton of Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and chorus perform the magnificent "Hallelujah Chorus," the jubilant "Ev'ry Valley," and the stirring "Amen." Soloists include Awet Andemicael, soprano; Margaret Lattimore, mezzo soprano; Robert Gardner, baritone; Alan Bennett, bass. Jim Cunningham hosts this 2-hour concert, delivering his always fresh insight on the music and short interviews with some of the performers.

"Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites"
Airs Friday, December 25, 2009 at 9 a.m.
This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

Featured Stories:

  • Dad 'n' Sam (Jay Allison)
  • Homeless Christmas (Lee Stringer)
  • Christmas Morning, 1949 (Sylvia Seymour/Paul Auster)
  • Low-Glamour Christmas Party (Bailey White)
  • Doing it in the Closet (John McIlwraith)
  • Christopher (Jay O'Callahan)
  • Ode to Christmas (Chuck Kramer)
  • Santaland Diaries (David Sedaris)
  • Modern Day Joseph and Mary (Scott Simon)
  • John Henry Faulk’s Christmas Story (John Henry Faulk)
Comedian Jonathan Winters

Above: Comedian Jonathan Winters

"Jonathan Winters' A Christmas Carol"
Airs Friday, December 25, 2009 at 10 a.m.
An updated version of a public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Lisa Simeone. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens' holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy. From NPR and KCRW.

Madafo Lloyd Wilson

Above: Madafo Lloyd Wilson

"A Season's Griot"
Airs Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 6 a.m.
"A Season’s Griot” is public radio’s only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for the last 22 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African-American and African peoples. This year’s program features stories told to, for and about children. With folktale, song and poetry, Wilson and friends put the spotlight on youth: love for them, responsibility to them, and ways adults can sometimes not see them. The program presents traditional and original works of poetry, music and prose that speak to the institution of family.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Above: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

"Toast Of The Nation"
Airs Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 9 p.m.
"Toast of the Nation" features live music all night on New Year’s Eve -- a holiday special for your party. Raise a glass with listeners coast to coast and revelers at five live-jazz locations across the continent. After midnights in New York and the Twin Cities, our West Coast artists give a Happy New Year shout-out to Mountain Timers. Then an hour later it's "Auld Lang Syne" (or something hipper) in Pacific Time, with a "here’s to Alaska and Hawaii" in advance of their midnight hours. Listen to the program archives online.

"The Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday New Year’s Special"
Airs Friday, January 1, 2010 at 10 a.m.
Could this decade have been any longer? Do you long for escape? Then jump on your homemade helium balloon and join the "Capitol Steps" as they ring in 2010 by roasting 2009 with their annual awards ceremony! All new categories: "Most Delicious Animal to Cause a Flu Pandemic," "Worst Reason to Be Invited for Beer at the White House," "Best Award of a Nobel Peace Prize to Someone Currently Involved in Two Wars" & "Loudest Town Hall Meeting." You have every reason to look forward to 2010-- but not before we make fun of 2009 first.

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