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Sounds like the holidays: BPR specials on air this month

A graphic with the Blue Ridge mountains in the background, a dark blue frame around it with decorations of gold ornaments, stars, snowflakes and music notes. In the middle is the text "BPR Holiday Specials 2022"

BPR is pleased to share our schedule of holiday programs for 2022. Once again, we’ll bring you two live, worldwide performances: “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” on Christmas Eve and “New Year's Day From Vienna.” Other annual traditions include “Hanukkah Lights,” “Spanish Songs for Christmas,” “A Season's Griot,” and the four-hour event from NPR to ring in the New Year, “Toast of the Nation.” Listen on-air, stream online or on BPR’s free mobile app.

Friday December 9, 2022

The Spanish Hour: Spanish Songs for Christmas – 7 PM – BPR Classic

José Carreras and Maria del Mar Bonet sing traditional Catalan carols and sacred music. plus Joaquíin Rodrigo's charming holiday classic for vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra, Retablo de Navidad (A Christmas Tableau.)

Monday December 19, 2022

Hanukkah Lights 2022 – 9:00-10:00 am – BPR News

A perennial NPR favorite, Hanukkah Lights features all new Hanukkah stories. Read by hosts Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. Murray and Susan looked back into the show's 30 year archive and picked their favorite stories: "Hanukkah Gelt" by Sholem Aleichem, "Gifts of the Last Night" by Rebecca Goldstein, "How To Spell The Name Of G-d" by Ellen Orleans, "Of Love and Latkes" by Lia Pripstein, and "Erev Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore, translated by Marie Jaffe.

Tuesday December 20, 2022

Welcome Christmas! -- 9:00-10:00 AM – BPR Classic

There’s no better way to welcome Christmas than Welcome Christmas!, the VocalEssence holiday concert conducted by Philip Brunelle featuring one of the world’s premiere choral groups, singing traditional carols and new discoveries. Host John Birge is morning host on Classical Minnesota Public Radio, host of APM’s Composers Datebook, and has brought Welcome Christmas! to hundreds of public radio stations since 1998.

Wednesday December 21, 2022

A Soulful Christmas – 9:00-10:00 AM – BPR Classic

A Soulful Christmas is an uplifting, relevant display of Black music in the classical, gospel, spiritual, and jazz-inspired style. This special celebrates the non-idiomatic Black classical music, while exploring non-idiomatic choral traditions.

Guests include: D’Walla Simmons-Burke, director of Choral Activities at Winston-Salem State University; Jason Max Ferdinand, conductor, ‘The Aeolians;’ Dr. David Morrow, director of Choral Activities at Morehouse College; Dr. Tony McNeil, director of Choral Activities at Clinton College; and Dr. Brittany Boykin, assistant professor of music at Georgia Tech

Thursday December 22, 2022

The Spanish Hour: Spanish Songs for Christmas – 9:00-10:00 AM – BPR Classic

José Carreras and Maria del Mar Bonet sing traditional Catalan carols and sacred music. plus Joaquíin Rodrigo's charming holiday classic for vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra, Retablo de Navidad (A Christmas Tableau.)

Friday December 23, 2022

Holiday Season Stories of Warmth and Light -- 9:00-10:00 AM BPR News

Native American myths and tales help us endure or even enjoy the short days and long nights of winter. Living on Earth’s annual celebration of stories helps connect people with the natural world and includes an Iroquois explanation of why the constellation Pleiades twinkles overhead and an Abenaki custom that asks forgiveness for any wrongs of the previous year. Seasonal stories and more, in this holiday special from Living on Earth and PRX.

Candles Burning Brightly -- 9:00-10:00 AM – BPR Classic

A delightful hour for everyone to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights! Lots of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus a hilarious lesson on how to prepare a classic Chanukah dish, and a timeless and touching holiday story that brings light into every home.

St. Olaf Christmas Festival – 10:00-11:00 am – BPR Classic

F. Melius Christiansen started the Christmas Festival in 1911 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota as a simple service in word and song for students, faculty, friends and family. In the 109 years since, it has grown to include more than 500 student musicians who share their gifts with more than 12,000 audience members at the four live concerts – tickets for which always sell out months in advance.

BPR’s broadcast of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival is a chance for listeners in WNC and around the world to participate in one of the nation’s most treasured holiday celebrations. Programming includes sacred choral and instrumental music from many traditions: beloved hymns, classical masterworks, folk songs from around the world, and African-American spirituals.

The Ballad of the Brown King – 11:00-Noon – BPR Classic

Dr. Louise Toppin, a preeminent performer and scholar specializing in the concert repertoire of African American composers, presents the world premiere recording of Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King (Avie Records, 2018). With a libretto by Langston Hughes, this Christmas cantata focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ. This gorgeous work is beautifully interpreted by New York City-based The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, soloists soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart, with Malcolm J. Merriweather at the podium.

Saturday December 24, 2022

LIVE: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols -- 10:00 am-Noon – BPR News & Classic

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a live, world-wide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal Classical music. This special is presented by one of the world’s foremost choirs of men and boys and performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue, the 500-year-old Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, England.

Sunday December 25, 2022 – BPR Classic

All Songs Considered for the Holiday Extravaganza – 6:00 pm-7:00 pm

In this encore All Songs Considered holiday party, the guest list for this (trust us!) unforgettable night of music and tall tales included Kishi Bashi, Dan Deacon, Carrie Brownstein and Nellie McKay. We hosted the festivities at a secluded cabin we rented one weekend in a snowy woods. It was a chilly night, but we had a roaring fire, plenty of eggnog, vegan haggis and lots of holiday songs to keep everybody warm!

Festivo AltLatino with Cantigas – 7:00 pm-8:00 pm

NPR Music's Alt.Latino presents Festivo Alt.Latino -- a special holiday concert from 2014 featuring the 20 piece choral ensemble Choral Cantigas. This musical performance also includes stories about holiday traditions and cultures. Hear a traditional Peruvian Christmas carol, folk music from Brazil, Spain, and Mexico plus Parrandas from Venezuela and Puerto Rico. The many rich styles of Latino choral music will unite listeners through the joyful and trans-formative power of music. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

Jazz Piano Christmas – 8:00 pm-9:00 pm

Check out your favorite holiday classics as you’ve never heard them! This year, our annual sell-out event spotlights ferociously talented Japanese musical phenom Hiromi, Mountain Stage’s Bob Thompson, and Bolivian prodigy José André Montaño, chosen as one of the Kennedy Center’s “Next 50” leaders.

Jazz Night In America: A Holiday Celebration – 9:00-10:00 pm

This year's Jazz Night in America holiday special will feature drummer Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O; a ruckus band recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center that flip seasonal songs on their head while inserting humor and joyful swing. and new takes on classics in this special episode. Christian McBride hosts.

Monday December 26, 2022

A Season’s Griot – 9:00 am-10:00 am BPR News

Hosted by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, A Season's Griot is an annual one-hour special that captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples. The show’s poet laureate, Beverly Fields Burnette, and other members of the Season’s Griot family return with familiar and favorite elements of Griot

Saturday December 31, 2022

Toast of the Nation – 9:00 pm-1:00 am – BPR News, BPR Classic

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio compliment for the occasion. It's festive jazz you can party to, all night long with sets from Quinteto Astor Piazzolla, harpist Brandee Younger, organist Cory Henry, trumpeter Keyon Harrold and The Louis Cole Big Band.

Sunday January 1, 2023

LIVE: New Year's Day From Vienna 2022 -- 11:00 am-1:00 pm – BPR News, BPR Classic

The Vienna Philharmonic and conductor Daniel Berenboim present its ever-popular annual New Year's Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You'll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more -- a festive way to start off the New Year. It's presented by NPR Music and hosted by WBUR's Lisa Mullins.

Catherine Komp joined Blue Ridge Public Radio in September 2020 as the organization’s first Director of Content, leading BPR’s talented team of local journalists and content creators, overseeing national programming and facilitating collaborations and engagement initiatives.