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Have a Joyous Thanksgiving with WRTI: We're Serving Up Classical Specials and Second Helpings of Jazz

Unsplash/Ricardo Gomez Angel

There's always so much to prepare for Thanksgiving, but one thing you can check off your "To Do" list is finding just the right music for your holiday celebration. WRTI has that taken care of! So, be our guest all day long. We wish you a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Listen all day on WRTI 90.1, streaming at WRTI.org, on our mobile app, or on your favorite smart speaker.

Set the table from 6 to 10 AM with your favorite American music from Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives, George Gershwin, Jay Ungar, and more. John T.K. Scherch is your host. Mike Bolton takes over from 10 AM to 2 PM as you’re warming up those sweet potatoes. Just in time for the guests, we’re serving up four hours of Thanksgiving specials from 2 to 6 PM to create the perfect musical backdrop for your gathering.

2 to 3 PM: Every Good Thing
Host Andrea Blain and classical music fans from around the country take time to give thanks and celebrate one of life's most meaningful gifts: music. Audiences will hear listeners from across America share stories about their favorite classical music pieces. *See entire playlist at the bottom of this post.

3 to 5 PM: Giving Thanks, A Celebration of Fall, Food, & Gratitude
Giving Thanks shares music and stories that reflect the meaning of gratitude. Stanley Tucci joins our Thanksgiving table to talk about his new book Taste: My Life Through Food, a memoir about food, family, and life – and his classic foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia. Naomi Shihab Nye shares her poems celebrating her Palestinian-American heritage, and our shared humanity. Music from Eric Whitacre, Bach, Copland and more complete the scene. *See entire playlist at the bottom of this post.

5 to 6 PM: The American Sound, Seed and Soil
Thanksgiving has always been closely tied to the land, as a celebration of gratitude for abundant harvest. This Thanksgiving, join host Jennifer Hambrick for an hour of glorious American music that celebrates America’s beautiful and bountiful land. “The Pasture” from Randall Thompson’s lovely choral work Frostiana takes you back to the soil, and movements from Mark O’Connor’s Americana Symphony bring you breathtaking views of America’s wide-open spaces. Then flow along the traditional Deep River and Shenandoah to a grateful end with Jennifer Higdon’s uplifting Amazing Grace for string quartet.

On the jazz side, we're excited to once again provide “Second Helpings” to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner. Courtney Blue kicks things off at 6 PM with double doses of vintage jazz to conjure up memories of holidays past with your loved ones. Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Vince Guaraldi, The Basie Band will satisfy your hunger for nostalgic dinner music.

The Second Helpings will continue through coffee and dessert, all the way up until midnight. After 9 PM, the music will be a bit more bouncy, with tunes from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver. We will also double up on new releases from the Temple University Jazz Band, The Count Basie Orchestra, Nicole Henry, Bill Charlap and many others.

WRTI's jazz soundtrack for Thanksgiving is double the fun, and we're thankful that we're able to continue this holiday tradition with you. Be sure to indulge in seconds with us!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of your friends at WRTI.

Playlist for Every Good Thing

  • Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man: Benedictus – Daniel Hope, violin; German Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Simon Halsey.
  • Emile Waldteufel: Les Patineurs "Skater's Waltz" — Slovak State Phiharmonic, Kosice, conducted by Alfred Walter.
  • Peter Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" — Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
  • Ferde Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite: Cloudburst — Utah Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Abravanel.
  • Antonin Dvorak: String Quartet No. 10 — Stamitz Quartet
  • Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto — Cecile Ousset, piano; London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Neville Marriner.
  • Aram Khachaturian: Gayane: Adagio — Saint Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra; Andre Anichanov
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3 — Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Chailly.
  • Francesco Geminiani: Concerto Grosso No. 12 (after Corelli "La Folia") — Benedetti Baroque Orchestra; Nicola Benedetti, violin
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Capriccio Brilliant — Stephen Hough, piano; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Foster.
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Rondo capriccioso — Zsuzsa Kollar, piano
  • Johannes Brahms: German Requiem: Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt — London Classical Players, conducted by Roger Norrington.
  • Peter Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet: Love Theme — New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No. 4: Bourees — Pablo Casals, cello
  • Frederic Chopin: Polonaise No. 6 "Heroic" — Van Cliburn, piano
  • Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto — Itzhak Perlman, violin; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andre Previn.
  • Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man: Benedictus — Daniel Hope, violin; German Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Simon Halsey.

*Playlist for Giving Thanks - Hour 1

  • Traditional: We Gather Together — Boston Pops
  • Henry Purcell: The Yorkshire Feast Song: Symphony - Kings Consort
  • Stanley Tucci on Thanksgiving and family
  • Francisco Torroba: The Harvest - Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
  • Jean Sibelius: The Harvesters - Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern
  • Schumann: Scenes from Childhood - Claudio Arrau, piano
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8, “Pathetique”: 2nd mvt. - Claudio Arrau, piano
  • Naomi Shihab Nye reads “Daily”
  • Ludovico Einaudi I Giorni (The Days) - La Pieta
  • Puccini: O mio babbino caro - Richard Stoltzman, clarinet
  • Mendelssohn: Concert piece No. 2: 3rd mvt - Sabine & Wolfgang Meyer, clarinets
  • Stanley Tucci on the meaning of food
  • Copland: Our Town - James Tocco, piano
  • Handel: Largo - Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Tchaikovsky: November - Moscow Chamber Orchestra
  • Francis Purcell Warren: A Sunday Evening in Autumn - Stephen Isserlis, cello; Stephen Hough, piano
  • Naomi Shihab Nye reads “Muchos Gracias por Todo”
  • Bernstein: Candide: Make our Garden Grow - Boston Pops

Hour 2

  • Traditional: Thanksgiving Hymns - Jacqueline Schwab, piano
  • Stanley Tucci on illness, recovery, and gratitude
  • di Capua: O Sole Mio - Paula Robison, flute; Charleston Symphony
  • Verdi: Rigoletto: La donna e mobile - Enrico Caruso, tenor
  • Beethoven: Contredanses - Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Naomi Shihab Nye reads “Arabic Coffee”
  • Jay Ungar & Molly Mason: Harvest Home Suite: Thanksgiving Hymn
  • Eric Whitacre: October - North Texas Wind Symphony
  • Trad, arr. Stephen Paulus: We Gather Together - Dale Warland Singers

Playlist for The American Sound:

  • Dan Locklair: “Thanksgiving Day,” from Symphony No. 2 (Slovak National Symphony/Trevor)
  • Randall Thompson :“The Pasture,” from Frostiana
    (Tabernacle Choir & Orchestra at Temple Square/Jessop)
  • Mark O’Connor: Americana Symphony, selected movements (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Alsop)
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River (Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano)
  • Traditional Shenandoah: (Los Angeles Guitar Quartet)
  • Barbara Harbach: Rhapsody Jardine
    (Cynthia Green Libby, oboe/Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Trevor)
  • Jennifer Higdon: Amazing Grace (Serafin String Quartet)

Want more? Check out our Spotify playlist here.