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WRTI Spotlight

WRTI's 2021 Classical Holiday Soundtrack with Beloved Specials: The Schedule is Here!

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Unsplash/Aaron Burden
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of your friends at WRTI.

Ho, ho, ho! Looking for an extra dose of hope, good tidings, and joy this holiday season? WRTI's sleighful of music is almost here, and hosts John T.K. Scherch, Melinda Whiting, Kevin Gordon, Mike Bolton, and Mark Pinto will deliver it to you—wrapped in a bow, and decked with merriment and cheer.

There's so much beloved music for this time of year, and our carefully curated playists and beloved specials will keep the wonder and sparkle of the season alive for you all through the month! Listen on the radio at 90.1, or stream from the WRTI mobile app or your favorite smart speaker.

Need more presents from WRTI under the tree? We also have our Jingle All the Way Classical and Jazz Spotify Playlist. Wherever you are, and however you want your holiday music, we've got you covered. From all of your friends at WRTI, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy 2022!

The Schedule:

Sunday, December 19 at 1 pm, and Monday, December 20 on HD-2 at 7 pm
Listen on WRTI Replay for up to two weeks after broadcast here.
The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert: Handel's Messiah
Join us to hear a masterwork of the classical repertory. Four stellar soloists and the Westminster Symphonic Choir join The Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert from 2018, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, for this iconic oratorio, first conceived and performed during the 1743 Lenten season in London.

Week of December 20
8 am - Breakfast with Bach - Music composed by Bach for Christmas
11 am - Morning Meditation - Soothing music written for Christmas
5 pm - Flix@5 - Music from Christmas and holiday-themed movies
6 pm -  Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin for the week of 12/20: Holiday Celebration (HD-2)
All around the world, winter holidays are celebrated, and their music is wonderful to hear regardless of which tradition you observe. Bill gets us started with Nova Stella, medieval Italian Christmas music with a very early staging of the nativity. We will enjoy Christmas in Paris with music from Debussy, Charpentier and Poulenc and a Polynesian traditional hymn, “Anau Oia Ea,” plus an excerpt from Amahl and the Night Visitors from the original television production. Bill plays us one of his favorites from Ernest Bloch, Sacred Service. On our final day we will listen to Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and this week’s celebration will end with more holiday cheer from David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Wednesday, December 22
12 pm - Classical AT YOUR REQUEST
2 pm - Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, complete ballet

Thursday, December 23
12 pm - Vivaldi: Gloria in D Major RV 589

Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)

6 to 10 am - Christmas Classics with John Scherch
10 am to 12 pm - LIVE: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge
Michael Barone presents this live service of spoken-word and music (choral and organ) broadcast from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King's College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music. Complete program and order of service is here.

(Go behind the scenes with John Rutter in 2019)

12 to 2 pm - Christmas Classics with Mike Bolton
2 to 3 pm - Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs
The choirs of two of the most prestigious historically Black institutions in the nation join together to present a spine-tingling concert program. In a Christmas celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, the Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs perform spirituals, carols and sacred texts from the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. NPR's Korva Coleman hosts.

3 to 4 pm - The Canadian Brass: Christmastime is Here
4 to 5 pm - Apollo’s Fire presents Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain: An Irish-Appalachian Celebration
The latest holiday program from GRAMMY winners Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire is a communal celebration of the American immigrant experience, sharing the spirit and history of Appalachia’s Irish and Scottish roots through music. The 35-member ensemble includes 10 children and brings a joyous concert experience with the warmth of period instruments. Fiddlers, medieval harp, hammered dulcimer, bagpipes, singers, and children’s voices join together to evoke the Celtic roots of an Appalachian holiday.

5 to 6 pm - Hollywood Holiday
Host Lynne Warfel presents an hour-long musical retrospective of some of Hollywood's most cherished Christmas-themed movies.

On the Classical Stream and HD-2
6 to 7 pm - Exploring Music
7 to 9 pm - The NY Philharmonic presents Holiday Jukebox
9 to 10 pm - All is Bright: Meditative Music for Christmas
Lynne Warfel hosts an hour of gorgeous, contemplative choral music that tells the traditional Christmas story with songs about angels, the star and the manger scene. Featured artists/ensembles include Cantus, Chanticleer, the Cambridge Singers, Bryn Terfel, Emma Kirkby, Jessye Norman, and a variety of choirs.

10 pm to 6 am - A Christmas soundtrack with your favorite holiday music.

Saturday, December 25 (Christmas Day)

6 to 8 am - Performance Today Christmas
8 to 9 am - Welcome Christmas!
It's a perennial Christmas favorite from VocalEssence, one of the world's premier choral ensembles. Tune in for an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries, including the world premiere of two carols from the annual Christmas Carol Contest.

9 to 10 am - Gaudete! Early Music for the Christmas Season
You’ll hear Byzantine chant by Kassiani, and selections from Missa Puer natus est nobis by Thomas Tallis, plus hymns and motets from Spain, Germany, and France. Performers include The Cardinall’s Musick, Theatre of Voices, Cappella Romana, and Oltremontano.

10 to 11 am - Chanticleer Christmas
11 am to 1 pm - St. Olaf Christmas Festival
1 to 3 pm - The Metropolitan Opera: Aida Highlights
Highlights from great Met broadcasts of Verdi’s Aida in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Met broadcasts and the 150th anniversary of Aida.

3 to 4 pm - Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir
The sounds of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square floated into many homes during the holidays in the '60s & '70s on Goodyear and Firestone albums, bringing lush renditions of favorite Christmas carols. Those warm memories and feelings come right back again in this holiday special. The choir continues its tradition of great artistry with touching arrangements of familiar carols, and surprises with lesser-known melodies that are fast becoming the new classics.

4 to 6 pm - A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge (recorded live)

On the Classical Stream and HD-2:
6 to 7 pm - Wind and Rhythm Holiday Special
7 to 8 pm - A Handel and Haydn Society Christmas
8 to 9 pm: Music of the Baroque Brass and Choral Holiday Concert

Sunday, December 26:
4 to 6 pm - The Crossing @Christmas, Carols after a Plague
A collection from many composers new to The Crossing, all addressing the topic of Plague through their idea of Carol. A concert embracing unprecedented breadth of style and perspective; a history, as we emerge.

Saturday, January 1 (New Year's Day)

11 am to 1 pm - Vienna Philharmonic 2022 New Year's Day Concert
Daniel Barenboim conducts from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.

1 to 3 pm - The Metropolitan Opera, Massenet’s Cinderella – abridged English-language version.
Emmanuel Villaume; Isabel Leonard (Cinderella), Emily D'Angelo (Prince Charming), Stephanie Blythe (Madame de la Haltière), Laurent Naouri (Pandolfe), Jessica Pratt (Fairy Godmother)

Sunday, January 2:
1 to 3 pm - The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert: New Year's Eve Live from the Kimmel Center in 2018

Monday, January 3:
On the Classical Stream and HD-2
7 to 9 pm - The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert: New Year's Eve Live from the Kimmel Center in 2018

Want more? Check out our awesome Classical and Jazz Christmas Playlist on Spotify for three hours of music you'll love!