Here in New Orleans the weather outside might not be very frightful, but the sounds on your radio are certainly delightful.
WWNO's 2013 holiday schedule will get you in the mood this season — a little bit of everything special, sans your great-aunt's fruitcake.
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m.: A Chanticleer Christmas
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 and contemporary carols.
Thursday, Dec. 19, 8 p.m.: Paul Winter's Winter Solstice Celebration
The holiday tradition continues with Paul Winter's Winter Solstice Celebration. A dynamic musical celebration in the extraordinary acoustics of the worlds largest Gothic cathedral — New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Hear a unique exploration of the solstice tradition in cultures near and far. The Paul Winter Consort is joined by musicians from all over the world, including Russia's Dimitri Pokrovsky Ensemble and gospel singer Theresa Thomasson. John Schaefer hosts the production from Living Music and Murray Street.
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 9 a.m.: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Hosted by Michael Barone, this is a live stereo music and spoken-word broadcast from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King's College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music.
6:30 p.m.: A Car Talk Christmas Carol
A refreshed and updated version of a holiday classic, in a 30-minute special. Starring Tom and Ray Magliozzi and a stellar cast of public radio personalities including Robert Siegel as Bob Cratchit. From NPR and WBUR.
7 p.m.: NPR's Tinsel Tales
This year a radio tradition continues — 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.
8 p.m.: Christmas with Madrigalia
O Magnum Mysterium is the traditional chant for Christmas morning. Its simple, yet elegant text has inspired composers through the ages to depict the great mystery of the King of Kings born among humble animals and shepherds. This year the Rochester, NY chamber choir Madrigalia returns for another musical celebration of Christmas, centered on the O Magnum Mysterium Mass by 16th century Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria.
Tomas Folan conducts recorded live- in-concert at Saint Anne Church in Rochester, New York, features Victoria’s Mass, along with music for Christmas by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Anton Bruckner, Herbert Howells, Boris Ord and and Darmon Meador.
9 p.m.: A Christmas Carol with Jonathan Winters
A public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg. 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.
10 p.m.: Advent Voices
Advent is a time of quiet contemplation and waiting. It's waiting for darkness to become light and for hopes to be realized. Throughout the centuries Advent has been observed musically in sacred and secular ways. Join Lynne Warfel for an hour of the most beautiful vocal music inspired by and written for Advent.
11 p.m.: Handel's Messiah from Washington National Cathedral
Each year the Cathedral’s annual Messiah performances during the first weekend of December attract an audience of some 6,000 from the greater Washington area. With a team of the finest international soloists, coming from the US and abroad, these performances offer exceptional value for a very high-quality, popular Christmas broadcast.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, Midnight: Welcome Christmas!
The best way to welcome Christmas is Welcome Christmas!, the VocalEssence holiday concert from American Public Media. It's an hour of joyful holiday music featuring the Minneapolis-based chorus VocalEsssence, and hosted for the fifteenth year by APM's John Birge. Gramophone magazine called VocalEssence “excellent and vibrant.” NEA Chairman Dana Gioia named them “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time.” Join us in December for holiday classics new and old, when Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence Welcome Christmas!
9 a.m.: St. Olaf Christmas Festival
A service in song and word that has become one of the nation's most cherished holiday celebrations. The festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.
11 a.m.: Christmas with the Morehouse & Spelman Glee Clubs
One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges — two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation — get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This year's program features the best works of the last several years.
Thursday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m.: A Season's Griot
A Season's Griot is public radio's only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African-American and African peoples.
Tuesday, December 31st, New Year's Eve:
8 p.m.: Toast of the Nation
Toast of the Nation 2013-14 will make New Year's Eve stops in Boston, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Denver and the Monterey Jazz Festival!
An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve, Toast of the Nation is perfect for the occasion. It's jazz that you can party to, all night from coast to coast, with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations and contributing something new to the musical feast.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, New Year's Day:
10 a.m.: New Year's Day Live from Vienna
Get ready to pop the New Year's Day champagne! The Vienna Philharmonic presents its annual salute to the waltz on New Year's Day 2014. The orchestra has invited Daniel Barenboim to welcome 2014 by conducting the annual New Year's year's concert, honoring his 25 years of musical collaboration with the orchestra, and his efforts to bring peace to the world through music. Hear the hit tunes of the Strauss family and others — polkas, gallops and waltzes, live from the Musikverein, on New Year's Day from Vienna! Hosted by Laura Carlo of WCRB Classical New England, a service of WGBH.