This holiday season, enjoy comforting songs and stories and learn more about festive celebrations spanning the globe with these December specials on WFIU:
Monday, December 4
10:00 PM – Pipedreams: Holiday Pipes
Diverse and diverting seasonal selections, including engaging live concert improvisations by John Schwandt.
Tuesday, December 5
8:00 PM – Ether Game: Krampusnacht
We hope you’ve been good this year, it’s December 5 and that can only mean one thing: It’s Krampusnacht! Join us for a show about musical misbehavers who deserved a visit from the Christmas Devil.
Thursday, December 7
8:00 PM – Harmonia: Holiday Spin
Holidays are a great time for music! We’re taking a spin through three favorite tunes and hearing how early composers and modern performers make them memorable. Warm up your ears for some holiday cheer!
Sunday, December 10
6:00 PM – Candles Burning Brightly
This celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, explores Chanukah foods, traditional activities, and plenty of music.
Monday, December 11
10:00 PM – Pipedreams: An English Christmas Festival
Choirs and organists in British chapels and cathedrals share the glad tidings.
Tuesday, December 12
8:00 PM – Ether Game: March of the Toys
Dancing Dolls and Tin Soldiers, the Ether Game Brain Trust is getting into the holiday spirit with a show all about toys coming to life.
9:00 PM – The Score: Variations on the Theme of Santa
Whether you call him Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or Saint Nick, he's the one who brings joy this time of year. Hear a stocking full of variations on the theme of Santa. Enjoy music from Rise of the Guardians, A Boy Called Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, and more.
Thursday, December 14
8:00 PM – Harmonia: Los Posadas
Grab some tamales and churros and get ready to burst open the piñata as we celebrate Las Posadas with music from Renaissance and Baroque Mexico. Plus, our featured release is Weihnachtshistorie, an album of Christmas music from Wrocław, Poland.
Sunday, December 17
6:00 PM – A Tribute to Menahem Pressler
On the weekend he would have turned 100, WFIU celebrates Menahem Pressler’s life and music, featuring performances from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music archives.
Monday, December 18
10:00 PM – Pipedreams: For Christmas Eve
A melodious miscellany of sonic surprises gathered under the tree for your delight.
Tuesday, December 19
8:00 PM – Ether Game: Absolutely Dickensian
Some call him the man who invented Christmas. The Brain Trust thinks he’s a pretty good writer and so did many composers. On this episode, we quiz on music inspired by Charles Dickens.
9:00 PM – The Score: Christmas Through the Years
Through the millennia people have celebrated the holiday of Christmas in many ways, and films have captured that spirit through their music. We chronicle Christmas through the years with music from The Star, A Lion in Winter, A Christmas Carol, Joyeaux Noel, and more.
10:00 PM – Welcome Christmas
There’s no better way to welcome the holiday season than Welcome Christmas, the VocalEssence holiday concert conducted by Philip Brunelle. It’s an hour of joyful, classic holiday music from VocalEssence, one of the world’s premiere choral groups, singing traditional carols and new discoveries.
11:00 PM – All Is Bright
Hosted by Lynne Warfel, this program features gorgeous, contemplative choral music that tells the traditional Christmas story with songs about angels, the star, and the manger scene.
Wednesday, December 20
8:00 PM – The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of The Winter Solstice
Hear a musical celebration of the Winter holidays—Christmas, the Solstice, Chanukah, New Year’s, Jonkonnu, and Twelfth Night/Epiphany—featuring traditional carols, chants, wassails, hymns, children’s game-songs, and folk dance-tunes excerpted from live Christmas Revels stage productions presented around the country.
Thursday, December 21
8:00 PM – Harmonia: A Medieval Christmas
Tired of jingle bells yet? This time of year, we are surrounded by Christmas music. Join us for something a little different as we explore Christmas music of another age—the medieval! We’ll hear music from the Tallis Scholars, the Boston Camerata, and more. Plus, our featured release is Christmas from the ensemble Gesualdo Six.
9:00 PM – Montserrat Boy Choir (Escolania de Montserrat)
Perched atop the mountains near Barcelona, the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat is home to one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious boy choirs. For the first time in their 800-year history, the choir made its Midwest premiere. Bringing with them a message of peace, the choristers use music to transcend borders and speak directly to your heart.
10:00 PM – St. Olaf Christmas Festival
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival is a chance for listeners across the country and around the world to participate in one of the nation’s most treasured holiday celebrations. Programming includes sacred choral and instrumental music from many traditions: beloved hymns, classical masterworks, folk songs from around the world, and African American spirituals.
Friday, December 22
8:00 PM – Afterglow: Holiday Rarities
For Afterglow’s annual winter holiday show, we explore some less familiar holiday gems from classic singers, including “Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney,” “It Happened in Sun Valley,” and more.
9:00 PM – Night Lights: A 1960s Jazz Christmas
Night Lights celebrates the season with music from Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, John Coltrane, Vince Guaraldi, and other jazz artists of the 1960s.
Saturday, December 23
8:00 PM – Just You & Me in The Soul Kitchen
WFIU hosts Brother William (The Soul Kitchen) and David Brent Johnson (Just You & Me) are conducting a musical summit that we’re calling "Just You & Me in The Soul Kitchen." David and William will bring you two hours of music that invokes this time of year in various ways, and they’ll share stories about what the songs mean to them.
(Repeats December 25 at 3pm.)
Sunday, December 24
10:00 AM – A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
This worldwide Christmas Eve broadcast features Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal Classical music. The special is presented by one of the world’s foremost choirs of men and boys and performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue, the 500-year-old Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, England.
12:00 PM – The Inner States (Complicated Feelings About) Christmas Special
Christmas has so many traditions. One of those, it turns out, is worrying about how commercial it’s gotten. That goes back at least as far as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We bring you five stories to help reckon with that problem.
7:00 PM – Winter Holidays around the World with Bill McGlaughlin
Winter holidays are celebrated around the world, and their music is wonderful to hear, regardless of which tradition you observe. Join Exploring Music host Bill McGlaughlin as he takes us on a winter musical journey from Italy, to Mexico, to Polynesia, and many places in between.
8:00 PM – Winter Holidays around the World with Bill McGlaughlin
This holiday season, the Rochester, NY, chamber choir Madrigalia and their Artistic Director Cary Ratcliff return to public radio for Christmas with Madrigalia. Celebrate the excitement and joy of the holiday season with traditional carols and anthems from the Medieval era through the 21st century celebrating Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, and the New Year.
Tuesday, December 26
9:00 PM – The Score: Christmas Memories
It's a musical Christmas card from The Score. Bask in the warm glow of the music from holiday favorites including A Christmas Story, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and more.
Thursday, December 28
8:00 PM – Harmonia: Here We Come A-Wassailing: Music for the Winter Solstice
The longest and darkest of nights, the Winter Solstice has been observed across cultures with rituals and feasts celebrating the warmth of community and the return of the light. Nothing drives the cold winter away quite like a rousing tune, so join us for music in honor of the Winter Solstice.
9:00 PM – Fiesta! Classical Christmas in Latin America
José Maurício Nunes Garcia wrote several pieces celebrating Christmas. We feature a brand-new recording of his monumental mass, Missa de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.