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July 4th Weekend on WRTI Will Bring a Smile To Your Face!

So, your Independence Day weekend may be a little different this year, but one thing is the same: WRTI is here for you. We have classical and jazz fireworks planned for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Details from playlists and special shows for each day are listed below.

JULY 3rd

We start off on Friday with a one-of-a-kind American destinations playlist. Starting with the whisper of the Shenandoah Valley and ending with the bang of Ellington’s A Train, we take you up and down, over and across the contiguous 48 in a musical travelogue throughout the day.

Your morning host Gregg Whiteside dives right in with the “Sounds of the Hudson” in the hands of who else but trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. And later, Grammy-winning Jeff Tyzik and his Rochester Pops share one of their signature showstoppers, “Bravo! Colorado."

Mark Pinto takes the reins from 10 AM, criss-crossing the country with stops in Manhattan, Mississippi, and Sheyenne. Don’t miss John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine racing through the noon hour followed by James P. Johnson’s suite based on the St. Louis Blues. You’ll hear performances from Chanticleer, Imani Winds, Joshua Bell, Mark O’Connor, The 5 Browns and our own Philadelphia Orchestra.

All afternoon, the sounds and scenery just keep coming and host Melinda Whiting leads our whistle-stop tour from 2 to 6 PM. Ron Nelson’s Aspen Jubilee, Paquito d’Rivera’s Cape Cod Files, Ulric Cole’s Metropolitones and Norman Dello Joio’s City Profiles are all in store. Plus, there’s music by George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould, Michael Torke, Michael Abels and one of the first ladies of ragtime, May Aufderheide.  We also take time out to celebrate the first symphonic work written and published by an American woman back in 1894. Hear in full Amy Beach’s Symphony in E minor.

On the jazz side, kick off your weekend with new music steeped in American tradition on Nouveau Jazz Showcase from 6 to 10 PM. Ms. Blue will highlight jazz artists serving up a slice of Americana, like Dave Stryker and Bob Mintzer’s version of “Wichita Lineman,” Irvin Mayfield’s traditional New Orleans delivery of this great music. Rene Marie and Todd Marcus will enhance your backyard listening with music about our country.

JULY 4th

Saturday Morning Classical Coffeeouse with Debra Lew Harder from 6 AM to noon on July 4th has fun, fantasy, and fanfare in store for you with a celebration of American composers and performers, and tributes to these United States, for Independence Day.

Bernstein, Gershwin, and Copland are the big names on the list, but Philip Glass, Samuel Barber, Dana Suesse, Leroy Anderson, Pat Metheney, Chet Atkins, and Gwyneth Walker will also delight your ears. You’ll hear beautiful choral works of Morten Lauridsen and Stephen Foster, and take a nostalgic pause with the haunting strains of Jay Ungar’s Ashokan Farewell, played by Time for Three.

Selections from the "Great White Way" will put “a song in your heart,” and the Silver Screen will brighten your imagination with music by John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith. Black composers Florence Price, William Grant Still and James P. Johnson will bring their memorable energy to the Coffeehouse.

For those of you longing for a real baseball game, Peter Hamlin’s “Casey at the Bat,” sung by Cantus, will make you chuckle. Jessye Norman will move you in a powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and we’ll cap it all off with—what else?—John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Be sure to vote here for our all-American Special Saturday Espresso, too!

During jazz hours, catch the spirit of the holiday with Ryan Gottlieb on Jukebox Jazz starting at 6 PM. He’ll be serving up jazz interpretations of American classics like, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” Simon and Garfunkels’s “America” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” while you are flipping burgers. Popular jazz artists like Dena DeRose, Kurt Elling and Jacqui Naylor will not only help you celebrate, but reflect on our nation’s independence.

JULY 5th

On Sunday, from 9 AM to 1 PM, Mr. Perkins will bring you the “oldies but goodies” during his Sunday Jazz Brunch. BP with the GM will serve some nostalgia along with those eggs, with some classic big bands and songs that are synonymous with America.

Switching over to the classical side, Gregg Whiteside is your host as we bring you Wynton Marsalis’s 2009 composition Blues Symphony performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra. A marriage of jazz with symphonic traditions, the symphony explores the vast canvas of American musical styles—from the blues to gospel, from ragtime to the shuffle—to create a meditation on what Marsalis calls our “enduring American rhythm.”

Celebrating the Great American Songbook is a great way to mark this holiday, and Bob Craig plans on doing just that. Join him for Voices In Jazz on WRTI HD-2 or our jazz stream on Sunday at 3 PM as he honors master composer and arranger Johnny Mandel, who passed away on June 29th at the age of 94. Bob will also feature the music of Mandel onVoices in Big Band Jazzon WRTI 90.1 starting at 6 PM and continue with American city songs theme.

At 4 PM, it's the Wanamaker Organ Stokowski Celebrationwith Symphony in C and Macy's Philadelphia Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte.

At 8 PM, on Jazz Night in America, "Inspired By Injustice, Wynton Marsalis Reflects On His Music," in a conversation with host Christian McBride. Reflecting on our current wave of protests and the removal of public monuments, they connect this moment with a historical struggle. You'll also hear some of the music Marsalis has made to this end, from Black Codes to Blood on the Fields to a small-group work, From the Plantation to the Penitentiary.

Then starting at 9 PM, Ryan Gottlieb helps you wind down for the night with In a Mellow Tone.

A holiday weekend of very special music on WRTI! Join us.


Debra's last day on the air at WRTI was September 21st, 2021. She's now the radio host for The Metropolitan Opera. Read more here.