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2014 Christmas/Holiday Specials


This holiday season, JPR presents a big bag of special programs for your enjoyment, including a few new offerings, and the return of some old favorites. Here what we have planned for you...

Classics & News Service

Dec 24th – 6pm
NPR’s Tinsel Tales
Listeners tune to public radio 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.

Dec 25th - 7am
Jonathan Winters' A Christmas Carol

An updated version of a public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens' holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy.

Dec 25th – 8am
A Celtic Christmas

Tomáseen Foley's A Celtic Christmas recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas in a farmhouse in the remote parish of Teampall an Ghleanntain in the west of Ireland, when the neighbors gather around the fire to grace the long wintry night with the laughter of their stories, the joy of their music, and dances they always said they were much too old for.

Dec 25th – 9am
A Chanticleer Christmas

Nothing signals the beginning of the holiday season like 12 men singing in beautifully blended harmony. A Chanticleer Christmas is a celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 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 to Chanticleer's popular Gospel medley of Christmas tunes.

Dec 25th – 10am
Messiah with the PSO

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra celebrates the season with a performance of Handel's Messiah. Betsy Burleigh conducts the orchestra, soloists and Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall.

Dec 25th – 12pm
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.

Dec 25th – 2pm
A Baroque Christmas in the New World

In celebration of the holiday season, A Baroque Christmas in the New World brings features music from 17th- and 18th-century Mexico, Peru and Bolivia, including a cantata and three free-standing works by Sumaya — most of which comes from the only surviving manuscript in full-score in Sumaya's own hand.

Dec 25th – 3pm
Light and Gold: The Music of Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre is America's most popular composer today, and his choral works are beloved by choirs throughout the world. In three, one-hour programs, he introduces the music with co-host Brian Newhouse and describes the often-colorful backstory of how each piece came to be.

Jan 1st - 8am
New Year's Day from Vienna 2015
The Philharmonic presents its ever 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 festive way to start off the New Year. Presented by NPR Music and WGBH, Boston.


Rhythm & News Service

Dec 25th – 9am
An American Rhythm Christmas

A longtime staple on Saturday nights, JPR's "Gourmet Oldies Show" gets a seat at the table on Christmas morning to showcase four hours of the best holiday tunes from classic R&B, Swing, Jazz, Blues, Boogie Woogie, Country, and much more...

Dec 25th – 1pm
All Songs Considered for the Holidays

It's the sixth edition of a weird holiday tradition from NPR Music. Host Bob Boilen and friends trade holiday cheer and snarky barbs while bringing you the best holiday songs from new and emerging breakout bands. Hear renditions of great holiday music you'll never hear at the mall or your mother's house.

Dec 25 – 2pm
The Moth Holiday Special

Simon Doonan encounters challenges when called on to decorate the White House for Christmas, a man is hesitant to work with a 'Hollywood' style church in his neighborhood, a Jewish girl meets Santa, and a boy experiences the joys of owning a monkey and the fears of sharing LA with the Manson Family.


News & Information Service

December 25th - 8am/8pm
The Christmas Truce
On the occasion of its 100thanniverary, we take a moving look at the 1914 Christmas Truce, in which opposing soldiers in WW1 risked court-martial by laying down their arms. They actually exchanged holiday gifts and sang carols together during their short-lived ceasefire on the frozen battlefield of Flanders, Belgium. John McCutcheon performs and discusses his Grammy-nominated folksong, 'Christmas in the Trenches', which he sang decades after the war for elderly veterans who participated in the truce. And we hear details from historians Stanley Weintraub and Scott Bennett who have written about fascinating war-time peace efforts.

Dec 25th – 9am/9pm
NPR’s Tinsel Tales 3

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.

Dec 26th – 8am/8pm
NPR’s Tinsel Tales

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.

Dec 26th – 9am/9pm
NPR’s Tinsel Tales 2

NPR fills millions of homes each holiday 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.

As FM Network Program Director and Music Director, Eric oversees many aspects of JPR's broadcast day. He still hosts the occasional Open Air or classical music shift, and is the driving force behind JPR Live Sessions - our popular series of live in-studio music performances and conversations.