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2023 Holiday Programming Guide

Tune in for this year's holiday programming on KWGS 89.5 FM and KWTU Classical 88.7.

Throughout the yuletide season — on both Public Radio 89.5 and Classical 88.7 — we'll be sharing a festive array of music-driven and storytelling-driven programs. These special shows are sure to enrich your experience of the holidays. Take note...and tune in! And happy holidays!


Hanukkah Lights 2023
Thursday, December 7 at Noon & Friday, December 8 at 8 pm
This NPR favorite returns with the best of the best Hanukkah Lights stories from years past, plus a special musical performance. The show is hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

The Rhythm Atlas Hanukkah Special
Sunday, December 10 at 6 pm
Host Denis McGIlvray celebrates Hannukah in the first half of this week’s special episode of The Rhythm Atlas. You’ll hear new music by Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, two songs in the Ladino language with a swingin’ Latin beat, Americana band Nefesh Mountain with one of Woody Guthrie’s Hannukah songs, a beautiful musical version of a Hanukkah prayer by Carole King, and more.

The One Recipe Holiday Special
Thursday, December 14 at Noon & Friday, December 15 at 8 pm
Join host Jesse Sparks for a holiday edition of The Splendid Table's sister podcast: The One Recipe. Sparks talks to culinary superstars about their family traditions and their "one" (i.e., the unbeatable recipe that signals the holidays have officially begun)!

Selected Shorts: Unwrapping the Holidays
Wednesday, December 20 at Noon
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three unexpected stories that let us consider the holiday season in new and different ways. Selections from Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Sherrie Flick, and John Cheever will be read by Jayne Atkinson, James Naughton, and others.

Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites will air on Dec. 21.

Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites
Thursday, December 21 at Noon
This popular program offers narratives from the NPR archives that touch upon the real meaning of Christmas. You'll hear David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk, Scott Simon, and other NPR voices (both past and present) sharing stories of the season.

A Paul Winter Solstice
Thursday, December 21 at 9 pm
This year, in a newly created program, the longest night of the calendar carries a taste of the tropics. It's a one-hour show with a starry array of Brazilian guests, including Ivan Lins, Renato Braz, and Luciana Souza -- alongside the Paul Winter Consort, as captured at their annual solstice concert in NYC's Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Tinsel Tales 2: More NPR Christmas Favorites
Friday, December 22 at 11 am
The NPR holiday tradition continues with more stories of love, light, humor, and warmth. You'll hear, among others: "Santa Claus, Private Eye" (by the Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre of San Francisco), "Christmas Truce" (by historian Douglas Brinkley), and "The Night Before Christmas, Latin Style" (by NPR's Claudio Sanchez).

Travel with Rick Steves: Christmastime in Bavaria, Croatia, Sweden, Rome, Sardinia, Costa Rica, and The Netherlands
Friday, December 22 at Noon
Enjoy Old World holiday traditions from Europe, and meet some of Santa's cousins, as we hear about yuletide events and customs that range from the sublime to the quirky to the beautiful and moving. Rick's friends explain how they observe the holidays in Germany's Bavaria, on the island of Sardinia, and in Croatia, Stockholm, Rome, and elsewhere.

The Hidden Sixties Special with hosts John Wooley & Scott Gregory.

The Hidden Sixties Holiday Special
Friday, December 22 at 8 pm
Come on along as co-hosts John Wooley (of SWING ON THIS) and Scott Gregory (of ALL THIS JAZZ) serve up a fun, far-ranging, and downright frolicsome program of holiday music! From folk, rock, and jazz to spoken-word, pop-instrumentals, and R&B...it's Christmas music from the 1960s that you've not heard since that decade, if you've heard it at all.

A Christmas Carol with Jonathan Winters
Saturday, December 23 at 6 pm
It's rather like the NPR version of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- this public radio tradition, a beloved hour of radio storytelling that's somehow as timeless as it is familiar, finds the late, great Jonathan Winters doing a memorable reading of the Dickens classic. "God bless us, everyone!"

Swing On This: The Holiday Show
Saturday, December 23 at 7 pm
S.O.T. will combine classic and contemporary Western-swing seasonal numbers alongside cuts from a great series of Christmas CDs done in the early 2000s to benefit the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Released under the title of HOLIDAY HARVEST, these discs presented yuletide tunes from some of Tulsa's then-best-known performers. Plus, host John Wooley will once again share Art Greenhaw's sui generis recording of "Swan Lake Christmas," which occupies a musical space somewhere betwixt Tchaikovsky and the Ventures.

Jazz Night in America: A Holiday Celebration
Saturday, December 23 at 8 pm
Jazz Night in America brings you holiday classics from this popular show's past several seasons — great tunes, fresh arrangements, and entertaining storytelling, all recorded "live" at the Rose Theater in New York City. You'll hear the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, plus special guest vocalists like Catherine Russell and Kenny Washington. Christian McBride hosts.

A Jazz Piano Christmas from NPR
Saturday, December 23 @ 9pm
Each December, NPR and The Kennedy Center co-present A Jazz Piano Christmas, a sell-out concert event featuring at-the-keyboard renditions of seasonal favorites. This year, we spotlight three Cuban pianists for a festive evening of rhythm, melody, positive energy, and holiday cheer: Melvis Santa, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Hilario Durán are at the piano.

Wynton Marsalis hosts an hour of holiday jazz tunes.

A Swinging Holiday Jazz Party with Wynton Marsalis
Saturday, December 23 at 10 pm
The one and only Wynton Marsalis hosts an hour of holiday jazz faves. Join us for can't-miss Christmas jazz tracks from the likes of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gregory Porter, Warren Wolf, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and more.

All This Jazz: The Christmas Show
Saturday, December 23 at 11 pm
It's Xmas-themed modern jazz, both recent and classic, across a range of styles -- tasty holiday jazz cuts and nothing but, folks -- improvised music both freshly recorded and historically treasured. Whether you're wrapping gifts, looking at lights, sipping nog, or all (or none) of the above, do tune in for an ATJ riff on the season!

Tinsel Tales 3: Even More NPR Christmas Favorites
Sunday, December 24 at 10 am
The popular NPR storytelling program returns for more yuletide radio magic. Lynn Neary, Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg, and other voices from NPR's past and present convey moving and memorable stories of the season in this hour-long broadcast.

The Rhythm Atlas Christmas Special
Sunday, December 24 at 6 pm
Join host Denis McGilvray for a celebration of Christmas music from around the world! You'll hear familiar favorites in fresh musical settings as well as holiday songs from a worldwide variety of musical traditions. Tune in for a cup of musical cheer! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas!

Folk Salad: The Holiday Program
Sunday, December 24 at 7 pm
Join co-hosts Richard Higgs and Scott Aycock on Xmas Eve as they share music of the season in a singer-songwriter vein. Folk, roots, rock, Red Dirt, country, alt-country, blues, bluegrass, etc. -- it'll be a decidedly Folk Salad spin on the holidays. Dig in!

The Rhythm Atlas will highlight best world music albums.

The Rhythm Atlas Best World Music Albums of 2023
Sunday, December 31 at 6 pm
To close out the year, host Denis McGilvray celebrates the Best World Music Albums of 2023 on a special NYE program. You'll enjoy a mix of music representing the wide range of fantastic folk, roots, and global fusion albums that were released all around the planet throughout the year.

NPR's Toast of the Nation
Sunday, December 31 at 10 pm
An NPR tradition airing every NYE since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the ideal audio compliment for the occasion: festive and exciting jazz that you can party to, wherever and however that party is happening. Join host Christian McBride for a tuneful gala that'll ring in 2024!


Classical Tulsa: Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
Friday, December 8 at Noon
This Christmastime classic has delighted audiences all over the place for more than a century, but Tchaikovsky's most whimsical ballet was actually the product of a turbulent time in the composer's life. Host Jason Heilman puts The Nutcracker in its context, and shares lots of lovely music from the seasonal masterwork, just in time for Tulsa Ballet's updated production.

A Chanticleer Christmas
Monday, December 18 at Noon
From American Public Media comes this hour-long celebration of the Christmas season with musical selections both old and new. It's a well-chosen program of holiday favorites rendered by Chanticleer, the superb 12-voice male ensemble that's been called "an orchestra of voices."

Carols as Home with the Imani Winds
Tuesday, December 19 at Noon
A modern take on classic Christmas carols, as hosted by Imani Winds founding oboist, Toyin Spellman-Diaz. Toyin coaxes intimate stories of holiday memories from the members of this beloved wind ensemble, who also discuss why these classic carols are still essential today. You'll hear many of your favorite carols updated in the ensembles' own imaginative takes.

The Montserrat Boy Choir.

Montserrat Boy Choir (Escolania de Montserrat)
Wednesday, December 20 at Noon
Perched amid the mountains near Barcelona, the choir of the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat is one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious boy choirs. For the first time in their 800-year history, the choir made its Midwest premiere...as heard here. Conveying a message of peace and joy, the choristers employ music to transcend borders and speak directly to the heart.

Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs
Thursday, December 21 at Noon
The choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the United States, join forces in this pre-recorded concert of holiday music. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' respective traditions of singing excellence, lovingly offered with their trademark mixtures of spirituals and carols.

A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico
Friday, December 22 at 1 pm
Stile Antico, the award-winning, Renaissance-focused choir from London, visits St. Paul's Church on Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season. Hear the group's luminous blend of voices sing the gorgeous, intricate music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.

St. Olaf Christmas Festival
Saturday, December 23 at 8 pm
Minnesota's St. Olaf Christmas Festival was started in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf College Music Department. With hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity, it features the St. Olaf Choir, the St. Olaf Orchestra, the St. Olaf Cantorei, the St. Olaf Chapel Choir, the Manitou Singers, and the Viking Chorus.

Christmas carols and readings from the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 24 at 9 am
This is the live, worldwide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal music, as presented by one of the world's foremost choirs of men and boys. Hear this powerful service as it's being performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue: the 500-year-old Chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England.

The New York Philharmonic This Week: Handel's Messiah
Sunday, December 24 at 1 pm
Join host Alec Baldwin for a special program in which Masaaki Suzuki will conduct Handel's Messiah. It's sure to be a bright and shining and memorable performance of one of the holiday season's musical crown jewels.

A Handel & Haydn Society Christmas
Sunday, December 24 at 4 pm
Listen in for Christmas choral music from America's oldest continuously performing ensemble, the Boston-based Handel & Haydn Society. Founded in 1815, the Society here presents a varied concert in celebration of the holidays: "In the Bleak Mid-Winter," "The Three Kings," "There Is a Flower," "The Shepherd's Carol," and more.

CSO: The Messiah & The Nutcracker
Sunday, December 24 at 8 pm
Join host Lisa Simeone on Christmas Eve for an especially majestic Chicago Symphony Orchestra radio broadcast. It'll be an impressive double bill, with both Handel's Messiah and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker on the program, as conducted by Sir Georg Solti and Fritz Reiner.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (Rebroadcast)
Sunday, December 24 at 10 pm
This will be a rebroadcast of the Christmas Eve service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal music, as recorded earlier in the day at the Chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England.

Tune in for Minnesota Orchestra's New Year's celebration!

Minnesota Orchestra New Year's Celebration
Sunday, December 31 at 10 pm
Ring in the new year with the Minnesota Orchestra! The program opens with Bernstein's animated Overture to Candide. Later, Awadagin Pratt performs the Minnesota premiere of Jessie Montgomery's Rounds for Piano and Orchestra. And later still, music of ample adventure and passion galore arrives in the form of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

New Year's Day from Vienna 2024
Monday, January 1 at 10 am
Happy 2024! The ever-popular New Year's Day Concert will be performed by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Christian Thielemann. Hear a stirring program of some of the world's finest classical music -- as rendered "live from Austria" in definitive interpretations, and as generously offered to a worldwide radio audience in a musical greeting of hope, friendship, and peace.