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Playlist: WFMT Radio Network Holiday Specials

Compiled By: The WFMT Radio Network

 Credit:

The holidays are a magical time of food, family, and most importantly, time off of work! Enjoy this selection of quality holiday programming from the WFMT Radio Network!

The Rose Ensemble: Christmas in Baroque Malta

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:29

The Rose Ensemble’s celestial voices team up with a Baroque band to present this unique seasonal program of glorious 17th-century music from Italy, preserved in the Cathedral archives on the Island of Malta, and now being heard for the first time in hundreds of years.

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Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.

This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for two broadcasts from November 1, 2016 through January 15, 2017.

For more information contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112 
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

THE ROSE ENSEMBLE live in concert: Christmas in Baroque Malta
 
The Rose Ensemble’s celestial voices team up with a Baroque band to present this unique seasonal program of glorious 17th-century music from Italy, preserved in the Cathedral archives on the Island of Malta, and now being heard for the first time in hundreds of years. Imagine the splendor of the great Baroque churches of Venice and Rome, resounding with choral music as opulent and ornate as the buildings themselves. Now imagine that same music lost forever in Italy but miraculously preserved for centuries on the Island of Malta. The Rose Ensemble takes us on a fascinating journey to celebrate these musical treasures in a seasonal program featuring lush harmonies, prophetic poetry, a tender lullaby, and shepherds’ songs bursting with exaltation. Joined by a band of period instruments the voices of The Rose Ensemble invite us to spend Christmas in Malta, and welcome the season with Baroque majesty and joy!
Performance recorded at The Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 19, 2015.
 
Performers:
Jordan Sramek, Founder/Artistic Director
Bethany Battafarano, Elaine Lachica, Kim Sueoka (soprano)
Alyssa Anderson, Clara Osowski, Andrew Rader (alto)
Andrew Kane, Nickolas Karageorgiou, Jordan Sramek (tenor)
Mark Dietrich, Jake Endres, Peter Tuff (bass)
Lindsey Bordner, Ginna Watson (Baroque violin)
Josh Schwalbach (viola da gamba)
Paula Fagerberg (Italian-Baroque triple harp)
Charles Weaver (theorbo)
 
Program to include:
Anon., 17th c.: Kyrie and Gloria from Messa Pastorale 
Anon., 18th c.: Primo Tempore from Tre Lezioni per il Primo Notturno 
Anon., 17th c.: Jesu Redemptor Omnium 
Anon., 17th c.: Eia Pastores Surgite 
Anon., 17th c.: O Magnum Mysterium from Responsorii Pastorali in nocte
Nativitatis 
Takach: Il-presepju tal-Milied (The Christmas Cradle) 
Don Giuseppe 
Balzano (attr.): Dormi, dormi, O gran bambino 
Anon., 17th c.: Sancta et immaculata and Beata Viscera from Responsorii
Pastorali in nocte Nativitatis 
Anon., 17th c.: Magnificat
 
Rose Ensemble Biography
 
Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek and now in its 21st performance season, The Rose Ensemble is based in St. Paul, Minnesota and enjoys a full schedule of performing, recording, and outreach. Through virtuosic artistry and scholarly research, the group produces imaginative and inspiring musical performances and educational programs that strive to connect each individual to compelling stories of human culture and spirituality from around the world. Each season, the group illuminates centuries of rarely heard repertoire, bringing to modern audiences research from the world’s manuscript libraries and fresh perspectives on music, history, languages, politics and religion. With ten commercial recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, The Rose Ensemble has thrilled audiences across the U.S. and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and 25 languages, including new research in European, Middle Eastern and American traditions. 
Recognized as a leader and innovator in the world-wide vocal music scene, The Rose Ensemble tours regularly. Recent appearances include Trinity Wall Street Series (NYC), Early Music Now (Milwaukee), the Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix), Cornell University, Luther College, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the National Gallery (Washington, D.C.). In 2012 the group served as artists in residence at the Society for Biblical Literature Conference, and in 2013 appeared at St. Quirinus Cathedral, Neuss (Germany). In 2014, The Rose Ensemble was chosen to represent the United States at the international Baroque music festival Misiones de Chiquitos in Bolivia, and later made its debut performance with the Minnesota Orchestra. The group will represent the United States next summer in Barcelona at the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music. The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and took first place in both secular and sacred categories at the 2012 Tolosa (Spain) International Choral Competition. Mr. Sramek is the 2010 recipient of the Chorus America Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal. The group can be heard regularly on WFMT Chicago, American Public Media, the European Broadcasting Union, and NPR’s Performance Today.
 
About the Host
 
Award-winning Minnesota broadcast journalist Tom Crann serves as the host of Christmas in Baroque Malta: Italian Majesty at Mdina Cathedral. His experience includes two decades as host and producer of classical music and cultural programs in the United States and Ireland. He has also hosted the international cultural broadcasts Sounds Irish and The Last Night of the Proms, a coproduction with the BBC.

Leroy Anderson Christmas

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:30

The WFMT Radio Network invites you to celebrate the holidays with the music of Leroy Anderson! This Christmas special features recorded performances of Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Music with Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, and Leroy Anderson conducting his “Pops” Concert Orchestra. Listeners will also hear Leroy Anderson talking about how he wrote some of his famous Christmas music and what Christmas means to him.

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Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.

For more information contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112 
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for multiple (2+) broadcasts from November 1, 2016 through January 15, 2017.

The WFMT Radio Network invites you to celebrate the holidays with the music of Leroy Anderson!

This one hour program contains 80% music of classic Christmas arrangements and original music by Leroy Anderson.  It is hosted by conductor Leonard Slatkin and the composer's son Kurt Anderson, and features recorded performances of Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Music with Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, and Leroy Anderson conducting his “Pops” Concert Orchestra.  Listeners will also hear Leroy Anderson talking about how he wrote some of his famous Christmas music and what Christmas means to him.

The Leroy Anderson Tribute is co-hosted and produced by the composer's son Kurt Anderson, who is also General Manager of public radio station WMNR Fine Arts Radio in Monroe, CT.  He has produced a number of radio programs about his father including an NPR special concert in 1999.  He also created the PBS website on Leroy Anderson and produced the DVD release of the PBS documentary, Once Upon a Sleigh Ride.

Musical selections to include:

  • A Christmas Festival; (BBC Concert Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin)
  • Suite of Carols for Brass Choir; including While by My Sheep; In dulci jublio; Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming; and I Saw Three Ships;
  • Suite of Carols for Sting Orchestra; including Pastores a Belen; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; and O Little Town of Bethlehem;
  • Suite of Carols for Woodwind Ensemble; including Angels in Our Fields; O Sanctissima; and O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • The ever-popular Christmas tune Sleigh Ride!

A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:30

Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine. All selections are performed by Chicago a cappella, the virtuoso vocal ensemble now in its 23rd season.

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Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.

For more information contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112 
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for two broadcasts from November 1, 2016 through January 15, 2017.

A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella

Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine. Heartfelt original compositions by American and British composers provide added depth of expression to celebrating the holiday. Such works include "Lo Yisa Goy," a plea for peace by Stacy Garrop; Bob Applebaum's stirring new version of "Haneirot Halalu"; and movements from the majestic "Hallel Suite" by London-based Daniel Tunkel. All selections are performed by Chicago a cappella, the virtuoso vocal ensemble now in its 23rd season. Jonathan Miller provides liturgical and cultural background as part of this unique look inside old and newer choral Chanukah traditions.

Chicago a cappella

An ensemble of professional singers founded in 1993 by Jonathan Miller, Chicago a cappella presents an annual Chicago-area subscription series, creates studio recordings as well as live and broadcast-media musical content, produces educational outreach programming, and gives performances on tour and in special engagements. Long recognized for vocal virtuosity and innovative programming, the ensemble enjoys a reputation as a leader in the choral field.

With more than 350 performances to its credit, Chicago a cappella has produced more than 200 concerts on its Chicago-based series. On tour, the group has appeared in 13 American states and in Mexico.  The ensemble has been heard frequently on WFMT radio and through broadcasts distributed by American Public Media, including the nationally-syndicated Performance Today.   The ensemble has produced nine CD recordings of music ranging from Renaissance masses to contemporary works.

From its inception, Chicago a cappella has been a champion of living composers. Since 1993 the group has presented more than 100 works in their world, national, or local premiere. Chicago a cappella has commissioned new music from composers including Joseph Jennings, Chen Yi, Stacy Garrop, Rollo Dilworth, Tania León, and Ezequiel Viñao.

Chicago a cappella is also active in educational and community engagement.  The ensemble produces an annual Youth Choral Festival for young singers from the Chicago area, and leads an innovative High School Internship program, a multi-faceted immersion for selected students in the worlds of performance and arts administration.

Jonathan Miller, Host and Chicago a cappella Founder and Artistic Director

Known for innovative programming of choral concerts, Jonathan Miller has guided Chicago a cappella through more than 300 performances and nine commercial CD releases since he founded the ensemble in 1993. He is the recipient of the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. When Jonathan was a teenage bass in the Chicago Children’s Choir, he was bitten hard by the choral bug. He was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of repertoire by a remarkable group of mentors, including Christopher Moore, Lena McLin, Max Janowski, Howard Mayer Brown, Richard Proulx, John Nygro, and Anne Heider. Eager to learn research tools for choral music, Jonathan earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. After returning to the Chicago area, Jonathan led the choir at Unity Temple in Oak Park for nine years and began composing new music for that ensemble. Jonathan has taken a leadership role in Jewish choral music, composing, arranging, narrating programs on stage and on radio, and leading workshops at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and elsewhere. A champion and publisher of the music of the late Max Janowski, Jonathan conducted the culminating concert of the Janowski Centenary at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation; he also was the recipient of the 2013 Perelmuter Award at KAMII and was Scholar in Residence at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois, in November 2014. Jonathan is honored to serve as high-holiday cantor for Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park. He has written more than 75 choral works in a variety of genres and languages; his music has been sung at venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon; his mashup Jingle Bells Hallelujah Chorus is a minor hit; and his series of Wacky Christmas Carols continues to mix words and tunes in new combinations. He also serves as Director of Choral Catalog at Musicnotes.com. Jonathan is married, has an adult daughter and two step-grandsons, and dotes on his English Cocker Spaniels, Higgins and Moseley. 

Lincoln in Music and Letters

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:30

Take an hour-long, song-filled journey on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train with Lincoln in Music and Letters. Never before had a president’s death been memorialized by rail. Travelling 1,654 miles through seven states, it was a cutting-edge technical notion - extraordinary for its time - but well suited to the extraordinary times the United States faced. You’ll hear how the image of Lincoln, a seemingly awkward man from a humble background, transcended that troubled era and stepped into history.

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Audio for this series will become available January 2, 2017.

This series is available free of charge to all affiliate stations for one broadcast through January 1, 2018

For more information contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112 
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

Lincoln in Music and Letters

Take an hour-long, song-filled journey on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train with Lincoln in Music and Letters.  Never before had a president’s death been memorialized by rail.  Travelling 1,654 miles through seven states, it was a cutting-edge technical notion - extraordinary for its time - but well suited to the extraordinary times the United States faced.  You’ll hear how the image of Lincoln, a seemingly awkward man from a humble background, transcended that troubled era and stepped into history. 

Hosted by Coco Elysses and written by award-winning audio producer George Zarr, the program features nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter and folk musician Chris Vallillo.  Showcased are letters and diaries of the period, many unpublished and from the collection of Chicago’s Newberry Library.  Plus the songs our citizens sang, some long unheard or unrecorded.  Included are dramatic scenes based on actual historical dialogue and accounts.   Lincoln in Music and Letters presents the American voices of those who lived through a difficult time, civilians and soldiers alike, and brings them to vivid life.

Host:                                      Coco Elysses

Actors:                                   Stefan Brün, Greg Hardigan, Jenny Magnus, Marssie Mencotti and Beau O’Reilly

Producer, Writer & Director:    George Zarr

Featured performer:               Chris Vallillo (vocals & guitar)

Executive Producer:                Tony Macaluso

Managing Producer:                Heather McDougall

Production Assistant:              Rebecca Nystedt

Sponsor/Underwriter:             Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

 

The program is produced in collaboration with Chicago’s Newberry Library

 

Special thanks to the program’s advisory team:

·         Thomas Campbell, of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

·         Kristin Emery, Fellowships and Seminars Manager, Newberry Library

·         D. Bradford Hunt, Vice President for Research and Academic Programs, Newberry Library

·         Thomas J. Kernan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Music History at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University

 

Additional acknowledgements to James Cornelius, Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and to the team at The Lincoln Funeral Train for providing audio. 

About Chris Vallillo

Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and folk musician whose prairie poet style has been  compared to the works of Edgar Lee Masters and Vachel Lindsay.  His natural affinity for American roots music makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song.  In the 1980s he conducted the Schuyler Arts Folk Music Project, documenting the last of the pre radio generation of musicians along the Illinois River. From 1990 through 1998 he served as the performing host and co-producer of the nationally distributed, award-winning public radio performance series Rural Route 3 where he performed next to (and with) a virtual who’s who of contemporary and traditional folk musicians. His one man show, Abraham Lincoln in Song, received the endorsement of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the accompanying CD charted at #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in March of 2008. Chris has twice served as the Illinois Scholar for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on roots music, New Harmonies. His latest project, Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement, was released on Martin Luther King Day in 2016 and reached #6 on the National Folk Charts.

About Coco Elysses

Coco Elysses, a modern day renaissance woman hails from Robbins, Illinois and is a producer, musician, actress, voice-over artist, screenwriter and poet. Coco completed her MFA in creative writing and was a published poet before graduation. During their second season she was a featured musician in the critically claimed FOX drama Empire. In 2014, Coco was a semi-finalist in Lifetime Television Unscripted Development Pipeline. Coco’s voice can be heard at the Adler Planetarium in the permanent instillation, Skywatchers of Africa. Coco’s voice can also be heard on spots for BET, BlackVoices.com, McDonald’s, Nike, IN and OUT Burger, Saint’s Row video game, EverQuest II and Watchdogs. Coco has performed as an actress in several Chicago theatres.

In 2015 Coco was a featured actress in George E. Lewis’ film, Afterword and in the opera of the same name at The Museum of Contemporary Art. She was also in two exhibits, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the AACM (The DuSable Museum of African American History and the Museum of Contemporary Art. She performed at the Frankfurt, Germany Jazz Festival with Generation Now of the AACM and at the Made in Chicago Jazz Festival in Poznan, Poland with Voice Heard- a collective of female musicians of the AACM. Coco was featured in an episode on Chicago PD. She recently appeared in the Midwest premier of Detroit 67’ at Northlight Theatre directed by Ron O.J. Parsons. She also appeared at Organic Theatre in The Old Settler, where she received a Black Theatre Alliance Award nomination for Best Featured actress in a drama. Coco also appeared in the Chicago Theatre Company, Black Theatre Alliance Award-winning, and Jeff Nominated production of Shakin the Mess Outta Misery. Coco can be seen in the independent film, Severed Ties, available at Blockbuster video. Coco debuted her one woman show entitled, You Can’t Hide, a part of MPAACT’s solo jam series, directed by Ilesha Duncan. Most recently, she has appeared in Northlight Theatre’s Detroit 67’ and Nicole Mitchell’s, JBM- Images Beyond, a theatrical concert.

Coco was also a featured musician in the book, Black Women and Music: More than The Blues, documenting historical female musicians and Jazz- A Documentary featuring several Chicago musician and their unique contributions to this classic American music. Coco performed with the Great Black Music Ensemble of the AACM in Pisa, Italy for the Insolent Noise Festival, at Millennium Park Chicago for the Tribute to Fred Anderson, and George Lewis at the University of Chicago Artspeaks Festival. She has also performed with Renee Baker’s Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. She was a featured artist in Taiko Legacy 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art with Tatsu Aoki, Tsukasa Taiko and Amy Homma. She also performed with Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Coco’s poetry is featured in 99 New Poems: A Contemporary Anthology. She is also a featured essayist in America is...Personal Essays for Social Justice. A few of her noted recordings were in Chile, South America, with Raiza, on their CD, Latin Soul-EMI and Nicole Mitchell’s Africa Rising. Coco is a member of AFTRA-SAG, AEA, AACM and the AFM.

Giving Thanks to Music

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:32

Music holds a special meaning. Sometimes it marks a momentous time in one’s life, or recalls a deep-seated emotion that stirs us to our core. And sometimes it changes our lives in a profound way. The WFMT Radio Network has invited eight individuals from different walks of life to describe something they all have in common: the profound value classical music has had for them. As these outstanding people from the worlds of poetry, music, opera, film, theatre, humanitarian aid, and radio and television news reveal their experiences, we take a moment to give thanks for the music that has enriched our lives.

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This special will become available free of charge to all affiliate stations on October 1st and will be available for two broadcasts from November 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. 

For more information please contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com  (p) 773-279-2112
David Sims at dsims@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2027
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

Music holds a special meaning. Sometimes it marks a momentous time in one’s life, or recalls a deep-seated emotion that stirs us to our core. And sometimes it changes our lives in a profound way. The WFMT Radio Network has invited eight individuals from different walks of life to describe something they all have in common: the profound value classical music has had for them.  As these outstanding people from the worlds of poetry, music, opera, film, theatre, humanitarian aid, and radio and television news reveal their experiences, we take a moment to give thanks for the music that has enriched our lives. 

The guests taking part in this Thanksgiving holiday special are:

·         Opera singer Renee Fleming

·         US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

·         Film, television and theatre actress Joanna Lumley

·         Author, humanitarian and charity founder Terry Waite

·         Conductor JoAnn Falletta

·         Author and news and current affairs host and documentary maker John Humphrys

·         Opera singer Jose Carreras

·         Television newscaster Geeta Guru-Murthy

Music has played an especially healing role for two of our contributors who faced enormous ordeals in their lives: former Church of England Special Envoy Terry Waite, who was held captive in Beirut, chained to a wall for nearly five years; and acclaimed tenor Jose Carreras, who overcame a near-fatal catastrophe when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. 

Some of the music that these guests are thankful for are Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, the aria O Silver Moon from Dvorak’s opera Rusalka, Debussy’s Clair de Lune from his Suite Bergamasque, the Intermezzo from Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut, and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, among others.