Holiday Specials 2014

Credit SigurDD via Flickr Creative Commons

Curious what special programming we're bringing you this year from NPR, APM, and more? The full schedule - from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day - is below.

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Thursday, November 27

9:00 AM     Giving Thanks: A Celebration of Fall, Food, and Gratitude

With music and stories for Thanksgiving, host John Birge creates a thoughtful, contemporary reflection on the meaning of the holiday.

2:00-4:00 PM     Best of the Best: The 2014 Third Coast Festival Broadcast

8:00-10:00 PM     Best of the Best: The 2014 Third Coast Festival Broadcast (rebroadcast)

Sunday, November 30

9:00 PM     Advent Voices

Advent is a time of quiet contemplation and waiting. It's waiting for darkness to become light and for hopes to be realized. Throughout the centuries Advent has been observed musically in sacred and secular ways. Join Lynne Warfel for an hour of the most beautiful vocal music inspired by and written for Advent.

Tuesday, December 16

7:00 PM     Hanukkah Lights 2014

A perennial NPR favorite with brand new Hanukkah stories written by acclaimed authors Debra Ginsberg, Anne Burt, Lesley Hyatt, Andrew Borowitz, and Theodore Bikel. Hear a wide variety of stories perfect for the holiday --- one story is funny and crisp, another historical, and there's one with a multicultural theme. Also included is a story about the supernatural and one that ends with the best last line for any Hanukkah show, "Love is the only miracle." Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Sunday, December 21

9:00 PM     Winter Solstice Celebration

The Winter Solstice Celebration is a contemporary take on ancient solstice rituals, when people came together during the longest night of the year to celebrate the return of the sun, as the Earth begins its rotational cycle back towards summer. Now in its 33rd year, the performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest cathedral, is New York’s favorite holiday alternative to The Nutcracker and Radio City Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23

7:00 PM     Candles Burning Brightly

Join hosts Mindy Ratner and Bill Morelock for a one-hour celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. There's plenty of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus an exploration of holiday traditions, and a special story reading by the incomparable Theodore Bikel.

Wednesday, December 24

10:00 AM     A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

A live stereo music and spoken-word 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.

Thursday, December 25

9:00 AM     Welcome Christmas!

An hour of joyful holiday music featuring the Minneapolis-based chorus, VocalEssence.

10:00 AM     Messiah from Washington National Cathedral

Recorded live at the Cathedral’s annual Messiah performances during the first weekend of December, which attract an audience of some 6,000 from the greater Washington area.

11:00 AM     A Chanticleer Christmas

A celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men’s choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries – from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic and contemporary carols.    

12:00 PM     St. Olaf Christmas Festival

A service in song and word that has become one of the nation’s most cherished holiday celebrations. Tickets to the event, which takes place at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, are always gone months in advance. The festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.

2:00 PM     Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs

One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically African American institutions in the nation -- get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

3:00 PM     Jazz Piano Christmas XXX

NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Pianists Cyrus Chestnut, Kris Davis, Lynne Arriale and The "Master" Harold Maybern take the stage to perform their favorite holiday songs. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

7:00 PM     Tinsel Tales 3 (NPR)

Listeners tune to NPR for holiday stories of all kinds; funny, touching, insightful, and surprising. Hear the latest version of evergreen delights while driving to the mall, entertaining friends, or relaxing in front of a crackling fire. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

8:00 PM     A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (re-broadcast)

Wednesday, December 31

7:00 PM      Political Junkie Year In Review with Ken Rudin

8:00 PM     Capitol Steps Politics Takes a Holiday

Help roast 2014 to a crisp with the Capitol Steps and their annual year-in-review awards ceremony.

9:00 PM-1:00 AM     Toast of the Nation

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is perfect for the occasion. It's jazz that you can party to, all night from coast to coast, with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations and contributing something new to the musical feast.

Thursday, January 1

11:00 AM     New Year’s Day from Vienna

The Philharmonic presents its ever popular annual New Year's Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein . You'll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more -- a festive way to start off the New Year. Presented by NPR Music and WGBH, Boston.