Holiday Specials

Airs Wednesday, December 19 at 2:30 p.m.  “The Gift of the Magi” is Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s first radio play. The half-hour adaptation of O. Henry’s classic Christmas story was dramatized by Jack Heifner, SFA resident playwright and Broadway veteran writer, and directed by SFA Senior Lecturer Jackie Rosenfeld. Heifner opens his play in an early 20th century pub where an author named William Sidney Porter (O. Henry's real name) is heard worrying about a deadline for a Christmas story due to a New York magazine. An affectionate pair of youthful pub-goers inspires Porter to write what would become his best-known work—the story of a struggling young wife and husband who make extraordinary sacrifices to buy one another Christmas gifts. The presents prove so ironic that the twist ending has become one of the most famous in the history of the short story form.

Airs Wednesday, December 19 at 2:00 p.m.  Heaven and Nature Sing! is an artistic exploration of the joy of Christmas manifest through music. Recorded live at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York, the message and mystery of Christmas are celebrated with anthems and carols by Winston Castler, John Rutter, Mack Wilberg, Deborah Lutz and F. Melius Christiansen, and a traditional Nigerian Carol arranged by Wendell Whalum.  Nearly 200 musicians from the ensembles of Houghton College's Greatbatch School of Music in Houghton, New York bring a sense of wonder and enchantment to this festive season. We'll hear the Houghton College Choir, Men's Choir, Women's Choir and Philharmonia coming together under the direction of Brandon Johnson.  You'll feel moved to sing along with the musicians of Heaven and Nature Sing!

Airs Tuesday, December 18 at 1:00 p.m. The 12-man San Francisco vocal ensemble bring their special seasonal glee to traditional carols and newer works. 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.

Press Image by Michael Haug photography / The Rose Ensemble

Airs Tuesday, December 18 at 12:00 noon
A rhythmic and regal retelling of the Christmas story. The Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient with sacred songs and lively dances for the season from Renaissance Spain. In La Nochebuena, The Rose Ensemble explores the great variety of music that filled the royal court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and flooded the chapels and streets of Renaissance Spain. Serene choral music from 16th-century masters is balanced with spirited cantigas for solo voice and harp. Spanish-language villancicos from court and countryside, and lively dances for vihuela, harp and percussion. Now in its 16th season, the Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient for the holidays.  Bring your listeners this rich variety of seasonal music, beautifully performed and recorded.  The Rose Ensemble will transport them to a time and place when the sacred met the earthy in celebration of the season. The program is hosted and produced by public radio veteran Tom Crann and the Rose Ensemble’s founder & artistic director Jordan Sramek.

A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico

Dec 4, 2012
Press Image / Stile Antico

Airs Tuesday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m.  Celebrate Christmas with the sound of soaring voices. Stile Antico, the award-winning choir from London, pays a visit to St. Paul's Church on Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season by the most acclaimed composers of the renaissance. Hear the group's luminous blend of voices sing the intricately woven music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Hosted by Cathy Fuller of WGBH.