Sounds of the Season

Dec 13, 2019

Credit Sara Plourde

Throughout the month of December, New Hampshire Public Radio is your home for holiday programming reflecting the spirit of the season.

From Christmas to Kwanzaa to Hanukkah, stories and songs celebrating different holiday traditions and cultures will be sprinkled throughout our programming schedule, marking the festive period. 

Musical programming will incorporate everything from the global sounds of Pink Martini, to jazzy stylings from Lincoln Center, to the renowned harmonies of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, and waltzes and polkas presented by the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna, Austria.

Local favorites that serve up NHPR listeners’ chosen tunes and a special holiday-themed version of The Folk Show will also be on tap. Gather around with family and friends and make NHPR your perfect holiday soundtrack!

See the daily schedule of special programming below:

FRIDAY, DEC. 20

8-9 pm: The Big Tiny Desk Holiday Special (NPR)

Celebrate the season with amazing holiday performances from The Tiny Desk Concert series including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Martin, Hanson, The Polyphonic Spree and more! Hosted by NPR Music frenemies Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson.

SATURDAY, DEC.  21

8-10 pm: Holidays By Request II (with Rick & Emily)

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley and Producer Emily Quirk team up once again for an NHPR holiday tradition. Listeners throughout New Hampshire submit their favorite *under-appreciated* holiday tunes during this fun-filled, 2-hour music special, featuring live in-studio performances.

[encore broadcast airs Tuesday, December 24 from 8 to 10 p.m.]

SUNDAY, DEC. 22 (Hanukkah begins)

6-7 pm: Hanukkah Lights 2019 (NPR)

An NPR favorite returns with an all-new edition of Hanukkah stories.

Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

7-10 pm: The Folk Show

A "Stocking Stuffer" edition of The Folk Show before Christmas, inviting listeners to suggest music for that edition, with a mix of holiday and listener favorites.

MONDAY, DEC. 23

8 pm: All Songs Considered for the Holidays: Bob and Robin’s Holiday Cruise to Bermuda (NPR)

This year, All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton decide to get away from it all with a holiday cruise to Bermuda. Along the way, they meet a few special guests aboard the ship, including John Legend, Aloe Blacc, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, William Shatner, Lucius, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees and Rodney Crowell, who all try to share their own good cheer for the holidays. But nature inevitably runs its course and the gang finds itself stuck in the swirling vortex of the mystical Bermuda Triangle, desperate for some sort of passage back home. It all unfolds like a bad high school play in this regular, seasonal spoof from NPR Music.

TUESDAY, DEC. 24

7 pm: Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink (NPR)
The internationally acclaimed “little orchestra" Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered Host Ari Shapiro.

8-10 pm: Holidays by Request (with Rick and Emily)

Encore play of the holiday favorite.

10-11 pm: Jazz Night in America: A Holiday Celebration (NPR)
Jazz Night in America brings holiday classics from the program’s past five seasons – featuring fresh arrangements and entertaining storytelling recorded live from Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. You'll hear the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, plus special guest vocalists Catherine Russell and Kenny Washington. Christian McBride hosts. 

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 25:

Tune into NHPR on Christmas Day for hours of music and entertainment.

9 am: The Exchange –‘A Christmas Carol’ with Gerald Charles Dickens

On Christmas Day, we listen back to a seasonal favorite, The Exchange’s 2005 conversation with Gerald Charles Dickens, an actor and the great-great-grandson of famed author Charles Dickens. Gerald Dickens toured America with his one-man performance of "A Christmas Carol”; we speak with him about the legacy of his namesake and the enduring magic of "A Christmas Carol." He also performs a handful of scenes from his show.

10 am: Welcome Christmas! (APM)

From American Public Media, Welcome Christmas! is a perennial Christmas favorite from VocalEssence, one of the world’s premiere choral groups. John Birge hosts an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries, including the world premiere of two carols from the annual Christmas Carol Contest.

For 2019, hear the world premiere of Nico Muhly's "The Faire Starre," a nativity cantata that draws on 17th-century metaphysical poets and is set in the unique, eclectic style that has earned Nico Muhly raves from the Metropolitan Opera.

11 am: Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square (APM)

The world-renowned Tabernacle Choir continues its tradition of great artistry this holiday season, with touching arrangements of familiar carols, and lesser-known melodies that are fast becoming the new classics. Julie Amacher hosts this annual favorite.

Audiences will enjoy a warm, nostalgic holiday celebration featuring a choir of 360 voices, a 150-piece orchestra at Temple Square, the 32-member Bells on Temple Square, along with other artists and special guests. A 600-person cast will share a stunningly beautiful mix of carols in various unique arrangements.

12pm: Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites

This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

1 pm: Tinsel Tales 2: More NPR Christmas Favorites

Join us for a second hour of Tinsel Tales. Each December, NPR fills millions of homes with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

2 pm: Tinsel Tales 3: Even More NPR Christmas Favorites

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, hear the third collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places.

Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives — or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

3 pm: Tinsel Tales 4: So Much More NPR Christmas Favorites

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, hear the fourth collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places. NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives — or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

7 pm: The Yule Log Old Time Radio Show (NHPR)

A Christmas tree that got away, a holiday song attacked by shock jocks, a professional wrestler who secretly dresses as Santa Claus...Join NHPR's Rick Ganley and Sean Hurley for an old timey hour of Christmas stories and memories.

8 pm: A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico (NPR)

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 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 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, and presented by NPR Music.

9 pm: Jazz Piano Christmas 35 (NPR)

Join the Kennedy Center and NPR Music for this annual holiday tradition highlighting jazz pianists and their favorite seasonal music. Felix Contreras hosts.

THURSDAY, DEC. 26 (Kwanzaa begins)

8 pm: A Season’s Griot 2019 (PRX)

A Season’s Griot is public radio’s only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for 25 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples. The show’s poet laureate, Beverly Burnette, and other members of the Season’s Griot family return with familiar and favorite elements of Griot.

SUNDAY, DEC. 29

6 pm: Candles Burning Brightly (APM)

Mindy Ratner hosts this 2017 encore celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. "Candles Burning Brightly" explores the meaning and traditions of Chanukah, including holiday foods and Sephardic and Ashkenazi music.

7-10 The Folk Show (TBD)

MONDAY, DEC. 30 (Hanukkah ends)

8-10 pm: 2019 3rd Coast Best of the Best (3rd and 4th hours) (PRX)

The Third Coast International Audio Festival is back with its annual Best of the Best broadcast. Take a deep listen with creators and producers who are committed to making beautiful stories in sound.

TUESDAY, DEC. 31

8 pm: Sound Opinions: Best Albums of 2019 (PRX)

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reflect on the best albums of the year, and we also hear from Sound  Opinions producers and listeners about their favorites for 2019. 

9 pm – Capitol Steps – Politics Take a Holiday (New Year’s Eve edition)

If you feel the need to laugh at 2019, The Capitol Steps have you covered. Through songs and satire, The Capitol Steps have recorded more than 35 albums and entertained millions from coast to coast. Join the famed troupe for laughs and cheeky observations with this special New Year’s edition.

10 pm- 2 am: Toast of the Nation (NPR)

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion, featuring festive jazz you can party to, all night long. This year’s program offers some of the best jazz collectives playing today:  the Baltimore Jazz Collective recorded live at The Keystone Korner in Baltimore, The Michael Leonhart Orchestra at The Jazz Standard in New York City, The SFJAZZ Collective in San Francisco and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, also in New York City.

MONDAY, JANUARY 1

11 am-1 pm: New Year’s Day from Vienna

The Vienna Philharmonic presents its popular annual New Year's Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You'll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more -- a great way to start off the New Year. 

8 pm: BBC World Service Special: Correspondents Look Ahead 2020 

BBC presenter and chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet hosts a discussion with top BBC journalists, who share their predictions for the big news stories for 2020. 

Happy New Year to all from the team at NHPR!