Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

A Chanticleer Christmas

Dec 25, 2011

A Chanticleer Christmas is American Public Media's one-hour 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.  Information is available at

One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation -- get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols.

Christmas Daybreak

Dec 25, 2011

Christmas Daybreak brings together two of the finest groups of singers and actors at the cutting edge of live performance in America today, the singers of The Crossing and actors from the Pig Iron Theatre company.  Specializing in work of the finest contemporary composers, The Crossing has commissioned many beautiful new carols for Christmas by composers such as Andrew Gant and Benjamin Boyle and sung many new works by British composers Gabriel Jackson, Jonathan Varcoe, and James MacMillan.

The towering walls of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine reverberate with sounds of celebration in this NPR holiday tradition. Paul Winter welcomes gospel singer Theresa Thomason, multi-instrumentalist/singer Arto Tunçboyaciyan, double reed wizard Paul McCandless, and the Paul Winter Consort in live performances from their recent Grammy-winning album MIHO and their timeless solstice songs.  Give your listeners an affirming and celebratory holiday season. Pass the longest night of the year with Paul Winter's Solstice Celebration.

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.

The National Cathedral bring you their signature broadcast from the Cathedral's service of lessons and carols as heard at 6pm on Christmas Eve from Washington DC.  Each Christmas-tide the Cathedral hosts a number of special services, including a quietly spectacular Lesson and Carols on Christmas Eve at 6pm, combining biblical readings that mark out the story of the birth of Christ with much-loved, as well as new, carols, from folk to ethereal polyphony, from the splendor of all the voices and organ together, to the hush of Silent Night, as the service draws to a close.  Washington National

Welcome Christmas

Dec 24, 2011

This year's VocalEssence Welcome Christmas concert celebrates the holidays with the warmth of traditional carols and the exhilaration of new songs for the season. The concert features a garland of carols from Sweden, and the world premiere of this year's Welcome Christmas! Carol Contest-winning carols, composed for chorus and bell choir. Other carols were chosen by VocalEssence fans in an online audience favorite poll.  Join us for holiday classics new and old, when Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence Welcome Christmas!

Third time's a charm, or maybe not. It's the third edition of the not so new, wonky holiday tradition from NPR Music.  Join host Bob Boilen and his friends as they trade holiday cheer and snarky barbs while bringing you the best holiday songs from new and emerging breakout bands. This show is filled with fun and fresh renditions of great holiday music.  Listener information at

(Photo by zizagou76 via Flickr Creative Commons)


Part 1:

Why Music Writing Matters in 2011

In his introduction to an anthology of The Best Music Writing 2011, Alex Ross shares a selection of tweets reacting to bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding’s upset over teen star Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy.

Photo by: hashmil

The publishing industry stayed afloat this year by designing and selling books for e-reader; those devices jumped from novelty items to the mainstream. Brick and mortar booksellers had a rougher time. Biblio behemoth Borders closed stores across the country. Closer to home, RiverRun Books in Portsmouth nearly closed its doors, but was saved by a swarm of Locavestors. The indie bookstore is one place where unsung gems can shine. We’re ticking through some of the year’s books that didn’t have big names, big budgets, and big promoters to sell them.

Photo by: missgeok

Whether you’re listening to a Glee Christmas, or you’re stuck on Perry Como, whatever paints your peppermint, Christmas music is in the ear – or maybe memory – of the beholder. We spoke to a man who’s Christmas spirit springs not from a specific era, genre, or artist – but from an instrument…the tuba or a euphonium…your pick. A

Naperville Illinois Tuba Christmas

(Photo by Nicole Abalde via Flickr Creative Commons)

In his introduction to an anthology of The Best Music Writing 2011Alex Ross shares a selection of tweets reacting to bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding’s upset over teen star Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy.

(Photo by Owly via Flickr Creative Commons)

Contrary to the buy now messaging of the season, kids aren’t looking only for instant gratification. Take Lego.  In 2005, Lego Corporation came back from the brink by capitalizing on research showing  that kids are inspired by the difficulty and process of mastering a complicated model. So, rather than dumbing down to compete with the plug-in immediacy of video games, Lego ramped up the sophistication of its models.

However you celebrate the holidays, we are now in deep. Hannukah begins at sundown tonight. There are five more shopping days and umpteen things to do until christmas…the holiday parties, the food shopping, the secret santa gifts, school plays and pick-ups. Time seems to compress as our wish to enjoy each other in this dark season expands.

Kate hosts Martin Sexton at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vermont.

Join NHPR’s Kate McNally on December 25, as she serves up a warm and comforting menu of folk holiday favorites. 

(Photo by Colinaut via Flickr Creative Commons)

Awesomator Brady Carlson runs down his top ten awesomest online moments of the year.  

Narrated by Leonard Nimoy and sung by the acclaimed vocal sextet The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, "Chanukah in Story and Song" is a unique holiday program created especially for public radio listeners.  This delightfully engaging program presents 25 eclectic selections, from the Ladino songs of the Spanish Jews and Yiddish melodies of Eastern Europe to modern Israeli tunes and the ensemble's original version of "I Have a Little Dreydle."  The ensemble performs a cappella as well as with instrumental accompaniment.

(Photo by Elizabeth/Table4Five via Flickr Creative Commons)

Part 1: Auto Paparazzi

Folk Show Playlist 12.11.11

Dec 12, 2011

                                                                                          7 pm

Reunion Hill/Joan Baez- Gone From Danger/Guardian

Blow The Candle Out/ Mustard's Retreat- Living In The Dream/Yellow Room Records

Next Time Round/Jean Redpath- Leaving The Land/Rounder

Good Luck John/Joe Crookston- Darkling And The Bluebird Jubilee/Milagrito Records

The Last Thing On My Mind/ Tim Grimm-Thank You Tom Paxton/Vault

Miles To Go/ Alison Krauss and Union Station- Paper Airplane/Rounder

(Photo by David Murray of <a href="" target="_blank">Clear Eye Photo</a>)

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews." What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy. 

(Photo by Pedro Netto via Flickr Creative Commons)

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the day that John Lennon was shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of his home in New York City. Reams of words have been written about that senseless, irrevocable act. But writer and critic Tim Riley prefers the parts of John Lennon’s story that are not so well known. 

Photo by: Paper Girl


A story to restore your faith in music superstars this holiday season. Elvis Costello is rallying his fans to save money by *not* buying a shiny new gift box set of his music called “the return of the spectacular spinning songbook”. The title comes from a trademark of Costello’s live shows with his band, the Attractions…he invites audience members to get to go up on stage and spin a massive, game-show style wheel of song titles from his back-catalog…whatever comes up, Elvis & the Attractions play.



Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

The push to support local businesses – Buy Local campaigns – are gaining steam, and Invest-Local is no exception.

In Portsmouth, so called “Locavestors” have come together to save a community book store.

RiverRun bookstore sits near the center of downtown Portsmouth.

It’s a bright shop, with big windows looking out onto historic Congress Street.

Customers Nancy Pollard and Elria Ewing are in browsing for replicas of old maps of downtown.

They love their local bookseller.

Naturally Curious

Dec 2, 2011
<a href="">Mary Holland</a>

The natural world quiets down in December, both visually and audibly. Fall's riot of colors is long gone, and the bird song chorus is a distant memory. Not everyone embraces winter, but there is a positive way to view the impending season of cold, ice and snow. Without the overload of spring, summer and fall distractions, we're freed up to notice and appreciate the subtle winter world.