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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

'Tis The Season! 2019 Holiday Programs On VPR And VPR Classical

A written message of 'Happy Holidays' from VPR.
Marcus Lindstrom
This holiday season, make VPR and VPR Classical part of your celebrations! Enjoy a variety of traditional and new programs and music.

This holiday season, make VPR and VPR Classical part of your celebrations! Enjoy a variety of traditional and new programs and music, VPR Classical's "Messiah Watch" and more.

Messiah Watch

An image of the sheet music showing, "The Messiah," composed by Handel.
Credit Sandra Poulson/iStock
George Frideric Handel's 'Messiah' was first performed at Eastertime in 1742 and features his famous "Hallelujah" chorus.

The season for George Frideric Handel's Messiah is upon us! Although it was actually first performed around Easter, in our time it has become a December holiday tradition.

This year, VPR is again rounding up performances and sing-alongs of Handel's beloved oratio in our area.

Click here for the schedule.

On-Demand Holiday Listening

Listen on-demand to VPR's Christmas classic Favor Johnson by Willem Lange. It's the story of a hound named Hercules, a flatlander doctor, homemade fruitcake and the real spirit of Christmas.

You'll also find some other classic Willem Lange stories online, so you can listen whenever the holiday mood strikes! Listen to Rona & Alice, Christmas On The Party Line and Lange's reading of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, as well as The Loudest Voice read by Grace Paley.

Listen online: 'Favor Johnson' & other holiday classics.

On-Air Holiday Specials Schedule

Thursday, Dec. 19 —  Live Broadcast: VSO Brass Quintet, on VPR Classical at noon.  

Saturday, Dec. 21 — Celebrate the Solstice on VPR and VPR Classical!

Paul Winter Solstice Concert at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, on VPR News at 9 p.m.

  • You'll be treated to a dazzling extravaganza of music and dance with the Paul Winter Consort, the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and more.

The Christmas Revels, A Holiday Celebration, on VPR Classical at 10 p.m.

  • Enjoy a theatrical celebration of the winter solstice, showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folktales and rituals.

Sunday, Dec. 22 VPR Choral Hour Two-Hour Special Local Music Celebration, on VPR Classical from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Sunday, Dec. 22 The Light Show from All The Traditions, on VPR News at 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 23 An Afro Blue Christmas With Michele Norris, on VPR News at noon.

  • This holiday concert with Howard University's premiere vocal ensemble, Afro Blue, is a joyous celebration with one-of-a-kind arrangements on traditional holiday songs. Hosted by NPR's Michele Norris.

Monday, Dec. 23 Hanukkah Lights, on VPR News at 7 p.m.

  • A perennial NPR favorite, Hanukkah Lights features all new Hanukkah stories written by Lynne Bronstein, R.L. Maizes, Susan J. Gordon, Jennifer Lang and Kate Schmier. Read by hosts Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Favor Johnson, on VPR News at 8:51 a.m.; and 'A Christmas Carol' With Willem Lange, on VPR News at noon

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols, on VPR Classical at 10 a.m.; followed at noon by Tchaikovsky's complete ballet The Nutcracker.

Tuesday, Dec. 24 All Songs Considered For The Holidays, on VPR News at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 24 — VPR Choral Hour Two-Hour Special Local Music Celebration rebroadcast, on VPR Classical at at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Music of the Baroque from WFMT at 10 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 25 — Celebrate the holiday with hand-chosen favorites with local hosts, all day on VPR Classical and at 10 a.m., hear Handel's, "Messiah, Parts 1 and 2."

Wednesday, Dec. 25 — NPR’s Tiny Desk Holiday Concert Special, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m.

  • Celebrate the season with amazing holiday performances from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Martin, Hanson and more.

Wednesday, Dec. 25 The VSO Brass Quintet rebroadcast at 8 p.m., St. Olaf Christmas Festival, on VPR Classical at 9 p.m.

  • A service in song and word with hymns, carols and choral works, as well as orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians in five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Thursday, Dec. 26 —  A Season's Griot, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m.

  • Public radio's only nationally-syndicated Kwanzaa program with host and acclaimed storyteller, Madafo Lloyd Wilson. This special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African people.

Friday, Dec. 27 But Why? School Vacation Special, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 30 — Brave Little State Special, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m., 

Tuesday, Dec. 31 —  Timeline: Music And The Mind With James Stewart, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 31 Toast Of The Nation on VPR News at 11 p.m.

  • Swing into the New Year with this public radio tradition and tune in to jazz, all night from coast to coast. You'll hear countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones.

Wednesday, Jan. 1 New Year’s Day Live From Vienna, on VPR Classical at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday, on VPR News at noon and 7 p.m.

  • Roasting 2019 in humor and song.

Fireworks with the text Happy New Year 2020
Credit IrisImages / iStock
We look forward to another year of sharing our programming with you!

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