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 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.