Airs Tuesday, December 25 at 2:00 p.m. Bring a Torch! This year's program puts the focus on old French carols, alongside two world premieres in the annual VocalEssence/American Composers Forum Christmas carol contest. The new carols call for the intriguing combination of men's chorus with English horn. Long a favorite from their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, VocalEssence rings in the season with an all-new Welcome Christmas! It's an hour of joyful holiday music featuring the Minneapolis-based chorus, VocalEssence, and hosted for the fourteenth year by APM's John Birge.
Airs Thursday, December 20 at 2:00 p.m. This year's annual special Christmas broadcast from the Washington National Cathedral with the Cathedral Girls' Choir brings a unique performance of Benjamin Britten's much-loved Ceremony of Carols, marking 70 years from its first performance in England in 1942. Often performed by boys and harp, its first performance was in London with women's voices and the celebrated Welsh harpist Osian Ellis. The girls are joined by young actors from Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ, who present the biblical narrative in their own words and commentary.
Airs Thursday, December 20 at 1:00 p.m. The Dallas Christmas Lessons & Carols has emerged as one of the most distinctive holiday events in Texas. Taking its British forebear as a starting point, it has made the rhythm of the familiar service its own in both song and text. The artistic director, Scott Dettra, is widely regarded as one of the finest concert organists of his generation, whose career has taken him from major appointments in Philadelphia and Washington, where he was associate director at National Cathedral.