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Holiday programming in New Orleans: See the full schedule through New Year's Day

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Just in time for the holidays, 89.9 WWNO New Orleans and the WWNO Classical network has a slate of programming to get listeners in the festive spirit.

Starting Dec. 21 and running to New Year's Day, programming includes some annual favorites as well as a few new delights.

Here's what you can expect to find on our stations this holiday season:

December 21, Tuesday

89.9 New Orleans

  • 9 to 10 p.m. — Soulful Christmas: An uplifting, relevant display of Black music in the classical, gospel, spiritual and jazz-inspired style. This special celebrates the non-idiomatic Black classical music, while exploring non-idiomatic choral traditions.
  • 10 to 11 p.m. — The Big Tiny Desk Concert Holiday Special: 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. This program is hosted by NPR Music frenemies Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson.

WWNO Classical Network

  • 7 to 8 p.m. A Paul Winter Solstice 2020 : Celebrate the return of the sun with an encore performance recorded in the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Musicians include gospel singer Theresa Thomason, multi-instrumentalist and singer Arto Tunçboyacıyan and double reed wizard Paul McCandless. Hear the American Performance Premiere of the Grammy-winning suite MIHO with The Paul Winter Consort: Eugene Friesen, Paul Sullivan, Eliot Wadopian, Jamey Haddad, Tim Brumfield and the thundering Cathedral Pipe Organ. WNYC's John Schaefer hosts.
  • 9 to 11 p.m. — The Christmas Revels: In Celebration Of The Winter Solstice 2021: A 2-hour musical celebration of the winter holidays — Christmas, the Solstice, Chanukah, Jonkonnu, New Year’s and Twelfth Night/Epiphany — featuring traditional carols, anthems, wassails, hymns, children’s game-songs and folk dance-tunes excerpted from live Christmas Revels stage productions presented around the country.

December 22, Wednesday

89.9 New Orleans

  • 8 to 9 p.m. NOJO Holiday Special: The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra presents a special collection of original recordings for the holiday season.
  • 9 to 10 p.m.Swinging Holiday Jazz Party with Wynton Marsalis: Wynton Marsalis hosts an hour of holiday jazz favorites by Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gregory Porter, René Marie, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
  • 10 to 11 p.m.Christmas Memories with Dee Alexander: Christmastime is for celebration, family, and togetherness. And although the weather outside may be cold, Dee Alexander’s music and stories are sure to keep you warm and hopeful through the holiday season. In this special, Dee shares songs that inspire celebration and spark nostalgia for the holiday, spinning classics like Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song and Mahalia Jackson’s No Room at the Inn. With her impeccable selections and inviting hosting style, this special is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!
  • 11 p.m. to midnightAn Afro Blue Christmas: Here's a very 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.

December 23, Thursday

89.9 New Orleans

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  • 8 to 9 p.m.A Christmas Carol with Jonathan Winters: A public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens' holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy.
  • 9 to 10 p.m.Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 Christmas Eve Message of Hope: On Christmas Eve 1967, Martin Luther King, civil rights leader, Baptist preacher and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, agreed to deliver the prestigious Massey lectures on CBC Radio. His title, was "Conscience for Change." Although these lectures were recorded more than forty years ago, King’s words have lost none of their relevance as we still try to come to terms with many of the same issues.
  • 10 to 11 p.m. — Joy to the World: A Holiday in Pink: 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.
  • 11 p.m. to midnightJazz Piano Christmas 2021: Join us for a twist on your favorite holiday classics! The Kennedy Center and NPR present A Jazz Piano Christmas, the holiday tradition and annual sell-out, where pianists perform their favorite seasonal music. This year features Kennedy Center favorite George Cables, Latin all-star Rebeca Mauleón, Mark G. Meadows and Hancock Institute International Piano Competition Finalist Joshua White

WWNO Classical Network

  • 9 to 10 p.m.A Chanticleer Christmas: This unique, one-hour program of holiday music is presented live in concert by Chanticleer. Hear why this superb 12-man ensemble is known as "an orchestra of voices," as they perform holiday classics and new favorites, with choral commentary by host Brian Newhouse.
  • 10 to 11 p.m.A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico: Celebrate Christmas with the sound of soaring voices. Stile Antico, the award-winning choir from London, pays a visit to St. Paul's Church on Harvard Square for a concert of radiant sacred music for the Christmas season by the most acclaimed composers of the renaissance. Hear the group's luminous blend of voices sing the intricately woven music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Hosted by Cathy Fuller of WGBH.
  • 11 p.m. to midnight¡Vamos a Belén! Christmas with The Rose Ensemble: The acclaimed Rose Ensemble returns with a free one-hour special featuring festive and evocative music from early Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and beyond. Colonial Latin America was a melting pot of ethnic diversity, when newcomers wrestled with local traditions, and cultural conflict was often reconciled through musical collaboration. Dances from the streets of Mother Spain mingle with African rhythms and indigenous languages, while celebration turns glorious in the pageantry of the Franciscan missions of California and New Mexico. The Rose Ensemble is joined by special guests, Piffaro, The Renaissance Band.

December 24, Friday

89.9 New Orleans

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  • 9 to 11 a.m.Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presents your audience with an opportunity to share in a live, world-wide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal Classical music. This special will be 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. Find out what to expect from this year’s performance here.
  • 8 to 10 p.m.Fred Kaston Presents, Jazz New Orleans’ 36th Annual Jazz Christmas Party: Two hours of great jazz versions of Christmas favorites featuring Louis Armstrong, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Adams, John Scofield and the Wild Magnolias, Billie Holiday, Koko Taylor, Leon Redbone, Mel Torme, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Don Vappie, Ingrid Lucia, Kurt Elling, Charles Brown, Katie Webster, Take 6, Karrin Allyson, Maria Muldaur, Bob Dorough and more.
  • 10 to 11 p.m. — Feliz Navidad, From Jazz Tropical: Host Luis Gallardo presents an hour of holiday songs from the the Spanish speaking world and the Latin diaspora!
  • 11 p.m. to midnight Jazz Night in America: A Holiday Celebration 2021: Jazz Night in America brings you holiday classics from their past five seasons – featuring fresh arrangements and entertaining storytelling recorded live from Rose Theater in New York City. You'll hear the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, plus special guest vocalists Catherine Russell and Kenny Washington. Christian McBride hosts.

WWNO Classical Network

  • 8 to 9 p.m.Winter Holidays around the world with Bill McLaughlin: Winter holidays are celebrated around the world, and their music is wonderful to hear, regardless of which tradition you observe. Bill’s spirited selection starts in the 12th century with Nova Stella, medieval Italian Christmas music from Saint Francis of Assisi’s staging of the nativity; jazz pianist Dave Brubeck’s classical composition La Fiesta de la Posada, evoking a Mexican Christmas celebration; and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols. We will enjoy this time of year in Paris with music from Debussy, and then travel to Polynesia for a traditional hymn, Anau Oia Ea. And then ending with an excerpt from Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors!
  • 9 to 10 p.m.A Handel and Haydn Society Christmas: Celebrate the season with this hour-long special featuring Christmas choral music from America’s oldest continuously performing ensemble, Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society. Founded in 1815, the Society is celebrating their bicentennial season, including their 400th performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” Join Host Cale Wiggins for this program featuring music from the 15th century to the late 20th ; a Christmas for all times.
  • 10 to 11 p.m. La Nochebuena: A Spanish Renaissance Christmas with the Rose Ensemble: The acclaimed Rose Ensemble is back again for another one hour special for the holiday season. This year, the Twin Cities early music ensemble presents a program that is both rhythmic and regal; Spanish song and dance to celebrate Christmas Eve, La Nochebena. In La Nochebuena, The Rose Ensemble explores the great variety of music that filled the royal court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and flooded the chapels and streets of Renaissance Spain.

December 25, Saturday

89.9 New Orleans

  • Midnight to 1 a.m.Welcome Christmas: Welcome Christmas is a perennial Christmas favorite from VocalEssence, one of the world’s premiere choral groups, conducted by Philip Brunelle. This program presents an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries, including the world premiere of two carols from the annual Christmas Carol Contest.
  • 1 to 5 a.m.Classical Christmas music
  • 11am to noon Selected Shorts: Holiday Hurdles with David Sedaris: David Sedaris invites audiences to reimagine holiday rituals. Selected Shorts’ late host and founder Isaiah Sheffer is featured as the reader of Tobias Wolff’s “Powder,” in which a pre-Christmas snowstorm provides an adventure for a father and son. In Allegra Goodman’s gentle borrowing from an O’Henry classic, a long-established couple discover they can surprise one another; Dana Ivey and Michael Cerveris read her “Gifts of the Jewish Magi.” And English writer Jeanette Winterson presents “Christmas in New York,” a modern fairy tale with just a hint of magic, performed by Richard Masur.
  • Noon to 1 p.m.Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites: This year a radio tradition continues - stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk--these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season.

WWNO Classical Network

  • 10 to 11 a.m. St. Olaf Christmas Special: 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, including sacred choral and instrumental music from many traditions: beloved hymns, classical masterworks, folk songs from around the world, and African-American spirituals.
  • 11 a.m. to noon — Christmas w/the Morehouse & Spelman Glee Clubs: 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.
  • Noon The Metropolitan Opera presents Aida: In honor of the 150 anniversary of Verdi’s Aida (which premiered on December 24, 1871) and the 90th anniversary of our radio broadcasts (which began on December 25, 1931), we present highlights from great Met performances of Aida. Each decade of our broadcasts will be represented in this special program of excerpts, featuring a range of extraordinary artists from legendary singers of the past to current stars. They will include Zinka Milanov, Anna Netrebko, Leontyne Price, Grace Bumbry, Anita Rachvelishvili, Dolora Zajick, Carlo Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, Giovanni Martinelli, Robert Merrill, and others.

December 26, Sunday

89.9 New Orleans

  • 5 to 6 p.m.A Seasons Griot Kwanzaa Special: A Season's Griot is public radio's only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for 25 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples. The show’s poet laureate, Beverly Burnette, and other members of the Season’s Griot family return with familiar and favorite elements of Griot.

December 31, Friday

89.9 New Orleans

  • 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.Toast of the Nation: Say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 with live music from some of the best jazz groups performing today, featuring the Catherine Russell Trio, Pink Martini, KOKOROKO and The Jazz Gallery All-Stars.

January 1, Saturday

89.9 New Orleans

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  • 10 a.m. to noonNew Year’s Day From Vienna: The Vienna Philharmonic and conductor Christian Thielemann present its ever popular annual New Year's Day concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. You'll hear your favorite waltzes, polkas and more -- a festive way to start off the New Year. It's presented by NPR Music and hosted by WBUR's Lisa Mullins.

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