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Programming through the Holiday Season

A Paul Winter Solstice Celebration

Thursday, Dec. 21, 10 PM to 12 AM

Celebrate the Return of the Sun - and the Warming of the heart with Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice Celebration. On the darkest night of the year, we head back to New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine to hear The Paul Winter Consort and the glorious Cathedral Pipe Organ. The performance brings traditional holiday favorites and new sounds from around the world with special guests Fabiana Cozza, Gary Booker, Theresa Thomason, Paul McCandless, Eugene Freisen, the percussion troupe Forces of Nature.

Christmas Eve

Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular: Santa Soul

Sunday, Dec. 24, 4 PM

Sound Opinions hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by avid music collector Andy Cirzan for the annual Holiday Spectacular featuring seasonal tunes you won't hear anywhere else.

A Christmas Celtic Sojourn

Sunday, Dec. 24, 7 PM

Brian O’Donovan’s Christmas-time live version of A Celtic Sojourn draws on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season. A Christmas Celtic Sojourn reflects the compelling and diverse offerings of the weekly national radio program plus the excitement of a live show featuring the Celtic world’s best performers.

Joy to the World: A Holiday in Pink

Sunday, Dec. 24, 8 PM

The internationally acclaimed “little orchestra" Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered’s Ari Shapiro, and co-produced by OPB and Murray Street Productions.

Holiday Special with the Swingles

Sunday, Dec. 24, 9 PM

For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy winners since they first made waves in the 1960s. At a time when a cappella music is more popular than ever, The Swingles are recognized as masters of their craft.

Center Stage from Wolf Trap showcases live performances from some of today's finest chamber musicians. Recorded in the acoustically superb Barns at Wolf Trap, just outside of Washington D. C. The programs are presented by co-hosts Rich Kleinfeldt and Lee Anne Myslewski. Each show focuses on a single chamber artist or group.

Holiday Special with the Boston Brass

Sunday, Dec. 24, 10 PM

For 31 years, Boston Brass has set out to establish a one-of-a-kind musical experience. Performing exciting classical arrangements to burning jazz standards, Boston Brass treats audiences to a unique brand of entertainment captivating all ages. The ensemble’s lively repartee, touched with humor and personality, attempts to bridge the ocean of classical formality to delight audiences in an evening of great music and boisterous fun. The philosophy of Boston Brass is to provide audiences with a wide selection of musical styles in unique arrangements, provided in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

Center Stage from Wolf Trap showcases live performances from some of today's finest chamber musicians. Recorded in the acoustically superb Barns at Wolf Trap, just outside of Washington D. C. The programs are presented by co-hosts Rich Kleinfeldt and Lee Anne Myslewski. Each show focuses on a single chamber artist or group.

Welcome Christmas

Sunday, Dec . 24, 11 PM

VocalEssence, one of the world’s premiere choral groups, presents an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries.

Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25

Tinsel Tales from NPR, 9 to 11 AM


Lynn Neary hosts Tinsel Tales, which includes extraordinary Christmas stories that transport you

to unexpected places. NPR's past and present tell stories of the season.

In the first hour, Baxter Black ponders the meaning of Christmas for Cows, Bailey White sneaks into her neighbor’s yard in search of an elusive hemlock tree; Julie Zickefoose serenades her neighbors on the coldest night of the year.  

For many of us, Christmas is about family and traditions. For others it's a stressful or even a sad time. No matter how good or bad your holiday is, it’s quite likely to include music. In the second hour, Tinsel Tales includes stories of the season told through music with interviews from the NPR Archives. Kenny Rogers, Katie Melua, Sting, Amy Grant and Jon Batiste talk about the power of music at Christmas.

Christmas with the Morehouse & Spelman Glee Clubs, 11 AM

One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation -- get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This year's program features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

The Big Tiny Desk Concert Holiday Special, 7 PM

Celebrate the season with amazing holiday performances from The Tiny Desk Concert series including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Martin, Hanson, The Polyphonic Spree and more! Hosted by NPR Music frenemies Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson.

An Afro Blue Christmas, 9 PM

This is a special holiday concert with Howard University's premiere vocal ensemble Afro Blue, and special guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut. The acapella group performs a variety of holiday songs including African-American spirituals, jazz and pop tunes, and classical repertoire. The joyous celebration includes one-of-a-kind arrangements on traditional holiday songs plus new compositions... music perfect for the holidays and the spirit of Christmas. Hosted by Michele Norris.

Christmas on Jazz Happening Now 2017, 10 PM

Jazz musicians get in the Christmas spirit with fresh new recordings of traditional and original music.

Jazz Piano Christmas, 11 PM

Join the Kennedy Center and NPR Music for a special Mardi Gras-themed holiday concert hosted by Felix Contreras, highlighting the favorite seasonal music of four acclaimed performers. Winner of the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition Helen Sung and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Joanne Brackeen return to the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, along with Brazilian virtuoso Abelita Mateus and Cajun blues master Marcia Ball.

A Season's Griot

Tuesday, Dec. 26, 7 PM

A Season's Griot is public radio's only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program.  Hosted for more than two decades by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples.

The 2017 Music Memorial Hour

Sunday, Dec. 31, 4 PM

Some of the prominent popular musicians who passed away in 2017 are celebrated in a one-hour special hosted by public radio music historian Paul Ingles. Music included from Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Chris Cornell, Gregg Allman, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell and more.

Toast of the Nation, New Year’s Eve

Sunday, Dec. 31, 11 AM to Monday, Jan. 1, 5 AM

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It's festive jazz you can party to, anytime. Spirited, improvised, and swinging, each segment stops in a Blue Note venue throughout the country and the world! We’ll hear sets from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band in Hawaii, Joshua Redman and Brad Meldau in Tokyo, pianist Fred Hersch in Beijing, Ron Carter and Buika in New York City, and Dee Dee Bridgewater from Blue Note Napa.

Sound Opinions: Best Albums of 2017

Monday, Jan. 1, 7 PM

2017 has been full of highly anticipated releases and unexpected gems from relatively unknown artists. Sound Opinions hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reveal their lists of the Best Albums of 2017.

Capitol Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday New Year's Edition

Monday, Jan. 1, 9 PM

Now is your chance to finally enjoy the headlines you were too scared to read.  After all, the Capitol Steps won’t tell you what to think, but they will tell you what rhymes with Papadopoulos.