christmas

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children's book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit in his own country and is translated in over 25 languages.

We also speak with him about Reasons to Stay Alive - his memoir about how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. 

  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.

A Life In Ornaments

Dec 20, 2016
Elf Christmas ornament
Bob Eisenhardt

First highlighted in the New York Times, Bonnie Mackay’s annual Christmas tree showcases a lifetime collecting almost 3,000 ornaments. 

Now, through beautiful photography and illuminating vignettes, Tree of Treasures shares the heartfelt stories behind a hundred of those cherished possessions, whether it’s the story of a family member, like Mackay’s grandfather, a well-known vaudeville performer; long-held relationships with friends and colleagues in the international community of Christmas crafts makers; a memory of a beloved pet; and much more. 

"A Christmas Carol" at BTG - 2016
Emma Kate Rothenberg-Ware

It is an absolute Christmas Classic. And at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield – it is tradition.

It is the timeless holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol with the whole family, and revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways and reformed by four spirits.

We are able to journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with holiday carols and the wonderment of the season.

Joining us – like ghosts in the night – Berkshire Theatre Group Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, Travis Daly – director of the show and Scrooge himself – Eric Hill. 

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

  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.

  The timeless tale of joy and goodwill, White Christmas, filled with classic Irving Berlin songs and glorious dancing and lots of snow is now at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday. We meet two of the stars of the show - Conrad John Schuck & Pamela Myers – this morning.

Conrad John Schuck plays General Waverly. He played Daddy Warbucks on Broadway and was in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick. His film work includes: M*A*S*H, Star Trek IV & VI, and Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion. On TV he was Sgt. Enright in McMillan and Wife with Rock Hudson and he starred in one of my favorites – Holmes and Yoyo.

Pamela Myers plays Martha Watson in White Christmas. Her Broadway credits include: Company (where she was nominated for a Tony) and Into The Woods. She also had the pleasure of working with Charles Schulz creating the role of Peppermint Patty in Snoopy. Her TV credits include Happy Days, Alice, Major Dad, and she starred in and was the announcer for Sha Na Na.

  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.

  New York Times bestselling author Laura Schroff tells the remarkable story of her lifelong friendship with a boy named Maurice who she met on the street while he was asking for change in her book, An Invisible Thread.

Now, in a sweet picture book, Laura retells the first Christmas that she and Maurice spent together. She shares how Maurice gave her a small white bear and, as she later learns, the only thing he had that he could truly call his own—to show her how grateful he was for their friendship.

Laura Schroff is a former advertising executive who has helped launch: InStyle, Teen People, and People StyleWatch. Schroff has also worked as the New York Division Manager at People magazine and as Associate Publisher at Brides magazine.

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Gov. Charlie Baker is kicking off the Christmas tree buying season by declaring the day after Thanksgiving "Green Friday" in Massachusetts.

  The Grammy Award Winning Albany Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-2016 Season is in full swing and Maestro David Alan Miller joins us this morning to discuss three upcoming concerts.

This Saturday night at The Palace in Albany, The ASO will present a program entitled “Tchaikovsky's Winter Dreams.” Violinist Benjamin Beilman will join the orchestra as soloist.

Later this month, on November 22nd, the orchestra will present a family program entitled “Harry Sonata and the Baton of Power” and early in December it will be time for “The Magic of Christmas.”

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the studio...we are talking about our favorite holiday movies. From older classics like It's a Wonderful Life to newer hits like Elf, holiday movies evoke a special nostalgia for many of us during the season. WAMC film commentator Audrey Kupferberg joins Brian Shields in the studio to talk merry movies. 

    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.

Listener Essay - God Rest Ye Merry, Elmo Doll

Dec 22, 2014

  Diane Kavanaugh-Black is an upstate New York writer who leads workshops at Of-the-Essence Holistic Wellness.

"God Rest Ye Merry, Elmo Doll" was one response to the sadness pierced post-divorce question: Were we the family I remember us being? The answer: Yes -- sometimes, yes

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.

  Another classic way to celebrate the holiday season is with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. There will be two chances to see and hear the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Corelli’s celebratory Christmas Concerto carries with it charm and cheer and Albany Symphony veteran composer Michael Torke brings a world premiere cello concerto to the table, complemented by Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.1 and Stravinsky’s enticing Pulcinella Suite.

To tell us more we welcome Albany Symphony Orchestra maestro, David Alan Miller and afore mentioned composer, Michael Torke.

Listener Essay - Dummy Bunnies On Parade

Dec 18, 2014

  

  "Dummy Bunnies on Parade" can be found in Kevin O'Hara's book, A Lucky Irish Lad. He is also the author of Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man's Journey Through Ireland.

  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.

A piece of Americana is on display this weekend in the Collar City.

Gramercy Communications says it will display the original newspaper copy of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at its open house between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the Troy Victorian Stroll on Sunday, December 7th.

Gramercy's offices are located at the former home of the Troy Sentinel newspaper, which operated at 225 River Street between 1823 and 1832 and carried the first publication of “Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas” on December 23, 1823.

  Jackie Mercurio lives with her husband, five children, and black Lab in New York. She was recently named Winner of the Good Housekeeping Memoir Contest (2014). Her website is www.jackiemercurio.com

Programming Notes: December 2014

Dec 1, 2014

Twinkle lights aplenty!

So, we’ve made it to the final month of 2014. Are you surviving the crowded parking lots and the tug-o-war for the perfect gift? Or, like me, have you convinced your family that it’s a much better idea for everyone to donate to charity instead of giving and getting yet more stuff? Yes, selfish in the sense I don’t have to leave the house, but selfless because we’re helping other people and animals. Of course, if someone were to find a set of kitten mittens for Mr. Regis, I don’t think I’d turn them down. No matter what, I do love me some twinkle lights and time with the family. And do we have some amazing programming this month to cook to, sit by the fire with, or listen to as you’re traveling or working.

    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.

  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.