Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.

For millions of readers worldwide, Chris Van Allsburg's mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic and there is a new 30th anniversary edition this year with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. The book also includes an author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden "All Aboard" ornament.

  On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. However, when Scrooge decides to help his old friend and former partner Jacob Marley, as well as other inhabitants of the city, he will need the assistance of the very people he’s annoyed. He’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier. By the time they’re done, they’ve convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long by opening their wallets, arms, and hearts to those around them.

Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.

  Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas is a very popular holiday tradition. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the group's annual tour. They have a new album out as well.

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller music.

Chip Davis has sold over 40 million records - 27 million in the Christmas genre - making the group one of the top 50 biggest selling musical artists of all time and the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time.

  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have just released a new record, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Their previous album, Give the People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy Award. The new Christmas album features soul revivals of holiday classics and original songs like “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “8 Days (of Hanukkah).”

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are performing at The Egg in Albany, NY this Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm -- bringing their inimitable energy and sound to the stage of The Hart Theatre. They are also guests on “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood” which will air on NBC on December 10th. The Dap Kings blast and blare, side-step and put on a great show at the center of which is the incredible vigor of Sharon Jones - providing lead vocals and more power than seems possible.

    W. Bruce Cameron's The Dogs of Christmas is a charming and heartwarming holiday tale that explores the power of love, trust, and a basket full of puppies.

While nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh’s Colorado home. But Josh can’t resist Lucy’s soulful brown eyes, and though he’s never had a dog before, he’s determined to do the best he can for Lucy—and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies.

W. Bruce Cameron's other books include A Dog's Purpose, A Dog's Journey, and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

Book Cover - Does Santa Exist?

    Metaphysics isn’t ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer.

  Albany Pro Musica – a community chorus performing at a professional level - was founded in 1981 by Dr. David Griggs-Janower who remained the group’s Artistic Director until he passed away in August 2013. This season coincides with the debut of APM’s newly appointed Artistic Director José Daniel Flores-Caraballo.

  Now entering its 34th season, Albany Pro Musica is known for its mastery of intimate a cappella works while also being recognized for its presentation of large scale choral orchestral works. In addition to performing a series of subscription concerts each year, Albany Pro Musica participates in civic, educational and community musical events, regularly partnering with local high schools as well as the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Cathedral of All Saints Music Series.

Albany ProMusica was recently named the “chorus-in-residence” at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and they’ll present a concert entitled Christmas Around the World on Dec. 13 and 14 at the Carondelet Hospitality Center in Latham, NY. With a lot to talk about we are joined by Albany Pro Musica’s new Artistic Director José Daniel Flores-Caraballo.

Listener Essay - Thanksgiving Conversations

Nov 25, 2014

  Diane Cameron is a public intellectual who writes and speaks about her private life with courage, compassion and humor from the Albany, NY area.

Basilica Farm & Flea

Nov 21, 2014

  Farmers, artisans, vintage collectors, and makers of handmade and quality goods will converge at the 2nd annual Basilica Farm & Flea, the large-scale farm-stand and flea market taking place over Thanksgiving Weekend at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY.

A local, artisan alternative to big box and mall shopping, Basilica Farm & Flea showcases fantastic wares made by regional and very talented people.

The weekend kicks off with the Black Friday Soirée from 5 to 9pm on Friday, Nov 28th - which will offer attendees local food, music, and fun.

Here now to tell us more are Melissa Auf der Maur, creative director of the Basilica Hudson, Farm & Flea’s farmer coordinator Lauren Giambrone (a farmer herself and maker of Good Fight Herb Co.), and Hudson River Exchange organizer Stella Yoon.

  In Holland, the event, “Sinterklaas” has ushered in the season of joy and sharing and created childhood memories for centuries. And in colonial times, it was the one shared celebration that took place annually in New Amsterdam (now New York).

Drawing on the Hudson Valley’s Dutch roots, Sinterklaas in the Hudson Valley is entering its seventh year as a unique, community-built cultural event. It now takes place over two weekends in Kingston on Saturday, November 29th and December 6th in Rhinebeck.

Joining us on the Roundtable this morning to talk about Sinterklaas Hudson Valley, we welcome co-chair Susan Linn and Artistic Director of Sinterklass - Jeanne Fleming.

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

May 5, 2014


  Cinco de Mayo has become a big deal in the U.S. in recent years. But it is not a major holiday in Mexico. It is the commemoration of a Mexican military victory over France.

It was actually a marketing push by Corona beer that created the Cinco de Mayo we know today, filled with parties, food and, of course, lots of drink. St. Patrick's Day has a similar disconnect between the holiday in the home country and the way it is celebrated in America.

Here now to speak about how the U.S. appropriates ethnic and cultural holidays from other countries are Culinary Institute of America Professors Beth Forrest and Deirdre Murphy.


  Corinna Selby was born and raised in Munich, Germany, and has traveled extensively in the US, Europe and South East Asia. She has been baking professionally for six years, and is a graduate of the Cambridge Culinary Institute. Her pastry-baking classes, both at Corinna’s Kitchen in Ghent, NY and at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Albany, NY, fill quickly, as her friendly teaching style and pragmatic, easy-to-follow recipes make the classes fun and packed with culinary adventure.

  Corinna’s family comes from the Bavarian countryside and she grew up making traditional European holiday decorations throughout the year. Part of this tradition is the creation of beautiful Easter eggs - dyed with organic food-safe ingredients and creating patterns that use shapes and designs that are found in nature.

Pete Hamill is a veteran New York journalist and novelist. He's the author of numerous books, including Downtown: My Manhattan and his memoir, A Drinking Life. His nine novels include Snow in August, Forever and Tabloid City. His new book is The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories, a collection of Brooklyn-based stories spanning thirty years.

12/24/13 Panel

Dec 24, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock and commentator and political consultant, Libby Post.

Topics include:
Obamacare Extension
Holiday Sales
Digital Toys
Holiday Heart Attacks
Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays
Holiday Holy Day?

    Spirit of Steamboat is a holiday tale from the New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery series, the inspiration for A&E’s hit show Longmire.

Sheriff Walt Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office on December 24th when he’s interrupted by the ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a hairline scar across her forehead and more than a few questions about Walt’s predecessor, Lucian Connally. Walt doesn’t recognize the mystery woman, but she seems to know him and claims to have something she must return to Connally. With his daughter, Cady, and his undersheriff Vic Moretti in Philadelphia for the holidays, Walt is at loose ends, and despite the woman’s reticence to reveal her identity, he agrees to help her.

When Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” debuted in 1942, no one imagined that a holiday song would top the charts year after year. One of the best-selling singles ever released, it remains on rotation at tree lighting ceremonies across the country, in crowded shopping malls on Black Friday, and at warm diners on lonely Christmas Eve nights.

Resting just beneath the surface of familiar melodies and words, jolly Santas, winter wonderlands, and roasting chestnuts both mask and represent an intricate cultural landscape crowded with the meanings of a modern American Christmas.

Ronald D. Lankford Jr. explores all this holiday history in his book, Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs.

    Today in our ongoing Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities series, we bring you two outstanding public humanists, and we’ll discuss the idea of Christmas as one feasting holiday among others, enjoyed as a religious and not-so-religious holiday by many.

We’re talking about Christmas’ role in our culture.

Joining us – both from the Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, NY are Beth Forrest Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and Deirdre Murphy, Professor of Liberal Arts.

    The Octavo Singers of Schenectady is an 80-year-old community chorus of about 100 singers. They generally perform large sacred works and present their concerts almost exclusively in big urban churches and synagogues.

This Sunday, December 15th at 3pm, The Octavo Singers will present Handel’s Messiah at the Union College Memorial Chapel. The Octavo Singers’ Artistic Director and Conductor, Curtis Funk, joins us.

    Everett Bradley will bring his holiday fund phenomenon Holidelic: ‘Twas the Night Before the Funk to Helsinki Hudson this Sunday, December 8th.

Everett plays percussion and sings backing vocals for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - he has also recorded and toured with Joey Ramone, Jon Bon Jovi, Hall & Oates, Carly Simon, and David Bowie among others and he currently appears in After Midnight on Broadway.

Holidelic was first performed in 2002 and every year since, Everett has put together this part dance party, part funk concert, part comedy show - the holiday-funk spectacular features original holiday songs as well as loose, funk-infused adaptations of Tchaikovsky, "Frosty the Snowman," "Little Drummer Boy" and more!


 On December 13th, 14th, and 15th The Rosendale Theatre will present the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life as a Live 1940’s Radio Play.

Frank Capra, the film’s director, wanted It’s a Wonderful Life to be a celebration of the lives and dreams of America's ordinary citizens, who tried the best they could to do the right thing by themselves and their neighbors. This is an enduring and beloved story.

The show will be performed with live sound effects and music and features 5 actors playing 50 roles. This special benefit presentation at and for The Rosendale Theatre is directed by Ann Citron - Managing Director for the Rosendale Theatre - who joins us to tell us more.

  Ars Choralis will present the new opera, Miracle in Bethlehem, for its annual “Welcome Yule” concert on Dec. 7th and 8th at the Overlook Methodist Church in Woodstock. The opera is composed by Ars Choralis Artistic Director, Barbara Pickhardt with lyrics by Johanna Hall.

The two-act opera features 40 choir members, 13 soloists and an instrumental ensemble that includes piano, cello, violin, horns and flutes and – as one might guess from the title – tells the story of the nativity.

Johanna Hall’s songwriting career began in 1970 and her songs have been recorded by Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers – and many others. She joins us to talk about Miracle in Bethlehem.

 In Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol - five actors portray over 20 characters.

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitations is re-imagined with a fresh new physicality, the highly theatrical, sometimes comic, ultimately moving adaptation is sure to brighten up your holidays!

The show is currently running at Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, NY and stars our friend, Kevin McGuire as “Mr. Bah-Humbug” himself, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Break out the latkes, turducken and HE’BREW Beer, it’s time to celebrate Chanukah – which begins on Wednesday and Thanksgiving on Thursday. We do so this morning with the assistance of Shmaltz Brewing Company in Clifton Park. Overlapping for only the second time since President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday — the last time it occurred was in 1888 — these two holidays are renowned for enjoying delicious foods and libations.

Shmaltz has a brand new 20,000 square feet brewery in Upstate New York. Their 4th Annual HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack includes a chance to make a beer menorah. Paul McErlean is the Head Brewer at Shmaltz Brewing Company and joins us this morning with suggestions on how to celebrate this Chanukah/Thanksgiving hybrid holiday.

Listener Essay - A Thanksgiving Paradox

Nov 25, 2013

  Kate Cohen is a writer and editor in Albany, New York.

What was the best or worst holiday gift you received this season?

This conversation will continue on Vox Pop at 2pm today.

Sal Lizard was in his twenties when his beard and hair turned completely white. Today he appears everywhere from malls and parades to schools and hospitals. And— from his custom-made red velvet suits to the mistletoe that hangs from the rearview mirror in his Santa-mobile—he is Santa Claus three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

Jeanne Sauvage has devoted herself to investigating and developing new gluten-free recipes. She imparts her knowledge to all in the book: Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats.

Albany Pro Musica will present its annual holiday concert, “A Winter Wonderland,” this weekend at the Carondelet Hospitality Center in Latham.

Albany Pro Musica is a mixed chorus that brings a pleasing and robust texture to familiar holiday songs and classic repertoire.

David Griggs-Janower is artistic director and conductor of Albany Pro Musica and director of choral music and professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he has taught since 1981.

We welcome Emily Franklin to the show and speak with her about How to Spell Chanukah and Other Holiday Dilemmas..

Charles Dickens' timeless holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is ubiquitous this time of year. Everyone has their favorite interpretation and one of our favorites is the annual production presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group.

All of your friends: Bob Cratchitt, Tiny Tim, Young Fred, Ebenezer Scrooge and – of course – some ghosts take the stage at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA weekends December 15th through the 30th is the production adapted for the stage and directed by our friend, Eric Hill.