Tuesday, April 28, 2009

VPR Wins National Awards for Community Impact

VPR has received two My Source Community Impact Awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for bringing the community together through our My Vermont and Vermont Reads projects in 2008. Read more and listen to both series at our website.

Thank you for supporting this kind of programming. It is an honor to do what we do, and your support and desire for quality programming makes it all possible.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Burlington Listener is Puzzle Master!

Congratulations to Joy Kipp of Burlington, winner of the Sunday Puzzle with Will Shortz on Weekend Edition Sunday Morning. Listen and see this week's puzzle here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Doing our Best Ira Glass Impressions

It was wonderful to meet so many of you last night at the This American Life - Live! broadcast at South Burlington's Palace 9 theater. The show was excellent and we had a blast in the lobby trying on Ira Glass glasses. Check out our slideshow from the event below.

The show was sold out, so if you weren't able to make it, tickets are on sale now for an encore showing May 7. The program will air on VPR at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 2.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We're Walking for Wayne

For the fourth consecutive year, VPR staff members have banded together as the Wayne’s World team to take part in the MS Walk.

This year’s event takes place at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 25 at Burlington High School. The team is named for a former VPR colleague who was diagnosed several years ago with multiple sclerosis. And, the team includes VPR friend Carol More, who serves as an inspiration to us all. Having been diagnosed with MS eight years ago, Carol walks with us and raises funds for this worthwhile cause.

In what has become a wonderful musical tradition, Robert Resnik, host of All the Traditions on VPR, walks along with the team, serenading us with delightful songs played on his concertina.

Last year, gifts to Wayne’s World helped fund two ramps, three wheelchairs and one fully accessible van for the more than 4,000 Vermonters living with MS. The Wayne’s World team invites you to join the MS Walk or make a pledge of support. Thank you so much for making a difference in our community.

- Ric Cengeri, Production Associate

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Howard Dean on Here and Now

In case you missed it, Howard Dean was a guest on Here and Now this afternoon. Click here to listen to the program.

File Under: Blue, Kind Of

This Wednesday evening's Jazz gets underway at 8 with a special one-hour radio documentary on the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue, the best selling jazz record in history.

Pianist Bill Evans' famous album notes compare the modal improvisation on Kind of Blue to a Japanese brush technique where the delicate paper tears if the brush is pressed too hard or moved in the wrong direction. I remember first hearing the music in college, sitting around with music friends listening, analyzing and sharing amazement at the quiet beauty of art made perfect.

Recorded in two sessions, the April 22nd, 1959 Kind of Blue session resulted in the classics, "Flamenco Sketches" and "All Blues". We'll hear them in their entirety in the 9 o'clock hour, along with music from other 1959 jazz milestones including bassist & composer Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um (Mingus was born on April 22nd!).

In addition to Kind of Blue, 1959 marked a watermark in jazz history with the recording of Dave Brubeck's Take Five, Ornette Coleman's The Shape Of Jazz To Come, John Coltrane's Giant Steps and a long list of other seminal albums. Sadly, it also marked the passing of a few jazz giants: Lester Young (March 15), Sidney Bechet (May 14) and Billie Holiday (July 17).

1959 was an extraordinary year in jazz by any measure.

I hope you'll join me tomorrow evening starting at 8, for VPR's Kind of Blue tribute.

George Thomas
VPR Jazz Host

Saturday, April 18, 2009

VPR Community Forum

VPR’s Community Forum gathered yesterday at our Colchester studios for a day of discussion about the future of Vermont Public Radio. The Forum is helping VPR to develop our next strategic plan by looking now at our mission, vision, and values statements as the basis of our planning. Our current strategic plan concludes next year and has been very helpful in directing VPR's growth in recent years.

The VPR Community Forum is a volunteer group of listeners who provide input to VPR about programming and community service. The 40 members of the Community Forum represent a diversity of professions, geographic regions, and interests of the listeners and the communities VPR serves. The Forum meets biannually, and members serve for two years. The next meeting, on Friday, October 2, 2009, is the last meeting of the current members of the Community Forum. Soon thereafter, the Community Forum steering committee will be looking for a new group of motivated and interested listeners who are willing to commit two days a year in service to Vermont Public Radio, and to provide feedback throughout the year. If you’re interested in being considered for the VPR Community Forum, please let us know through the contact form on our website, vpr.net.

Robin Turnau
President & CEO

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If I Had A Hammer

For the next three Sundays, All the Traditions will be dedicating the middle hour of the show to Pete Seeger. As a folk legend, political activist and inspiration to audiences worldwide, Seeger's music and personal influence has touched millions of people for more than seven decades.

I was lucky enough to attend Pete's very first Clearwater folk music festival (at that point called "The Great Hudson River Revival") in Croton, NY during the summer of 1978, and am overjoyed to see that both Pete Seeger and his beloved Hudson River are still running clear and strong!

On May 3rd Pete celebrates his 90th birthday. Over the next three weeks VPR pays tribute with a special 3-part audio documentary ("How Can I Keep From Singing?") that contains interviews with many of Seeger's friends and musical inspirations, recollections from the man himself, and lots of fine music.

Join us for part one this Sunday at 2pm as we look at how Pete Seeger got his start as a folk singer.

Robert Resnik
Host, All The Traditions

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This American Life Tickets and Ira Glass Glasses

Time is running out to win tickets to the sold-out This American Life show at the Palace 9 theater in South Burlington next Thursday, April 23. The contest ends Friday at 9 a.m., so enter now for your chance to win!

The live stage show will be broadcast live in HD on more than 400 movie screens nationwide. Ira Glass will host the show, of course, joined by some of our favorite contributors, including Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, Mike Birbiglia, David Rakoff, and Dave Hill.

To get the most out of your TAL experience, we suggest making your own Ira Glass glasses. Follow this link to print, cut out, and assemble your own! Then stop by VPR's table at the show to model them for us. In the meantime, check out these pictures of us wearing ours. At left, Michelle Jeffery, Ric Cengeri, and Cheryl Willoughby do their best Ira Glass impression. Below, Jane Lindholm tries Ira's glasses on a surprised Mitch Wertlieb.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday Bach's Grand Finale

Easter Sunday, 2009 closed the score on VPR's popular program Sunday Bach.

For the last eight years host Mark Vogelzang and producer Karen Anderson worked together to bring a wide variety of the great composer's offerings (dare we say, Musical Offerings?) to the air, including Bach's complete cantata cycle (in sequence - twice!); masterpieces like the St. Matthew Passion and Brandenburg Concertos; and lesser-played works like the Art of the Fugue.

It's been my great pleasure to work with Mark and Karen over the last few years to help them find new and unusual recordings of Bach's music to bring to the program. Now, after nearly a decade, with the show having accomplished everything it set out to do, Sunday Bach has concluded production.

I know I speak for many in saying that Sunday mornings just won't be the same without it. And yet while we could never hope to replace such a special show, we do hope you will enjoy the new Sunday morning lineup on VPR Classical which includes our early music program, Harmonia (7 to 8am), and Suzanne Bona's Sunday Baroque (8 to 11am). You can see our entire programming schedule here.

Spring is a season of remarkable changes, and in that spirit we send out the very best wishes to Mark, who has moved on to his new position at NPR in Washington, DC. (Karen continues to work on other projects at VPR, as an integral part of our operations and production teams.)

As Bach always wrote at the top of his manuscripts, "Soli Deo Gloria"! And cheers to the promise of the new season ahead.

Cheryl Willoughby
Director of Music Programming

Thursday, April 9, 2009

VPR Wins Nine Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

The Radio-Television News Directors Association has honored Vermont Public Radio with nine regional Edward R. Murrow awards for its news coverage, including the top award for Overall Excellence. 

It's the most awards VPR has ever won in the competition, which includes all of the New England states. The other awards were for Best Documentary, Continuing Coverage, Best Feature Story, Hard News Feature, Use of Sound, Investigative Reporting, Broadcast Writing, and Website.

You’ll find links the award-winning coverage at our website.  Thank you for making this kind of award-winning news coverage possible!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Springtime and Renewal on VPR Classical

There is natural poetry in the fact that one of the symbols of the Easter season is eggs, with so much potential for life represented in such a small package. Much like springtime itself.

For the next several days VPR Classical is featuring sounds of the season...all of them! We'll go well beyond birdsongs and pastoral music usually associated with this time of the year to hear how composers have used their unique creative skills to interpret Biblical events like the Easter earthquake, the ferocious pounding hailstones of the Exodus, and Mary's solemn grieving at the foot of the cross.

Exploring Music this week focuses on Bach's masterpiece, the St. Matthew Passion.

On Friday night for another perspective on the Easter story, we'll go In Concert at 8 for a special new performance of Bach's magnificent St. John Passion with Apollo's Fire.

Easter Sunday itself brings the grand finale of VPR's Sunday Bach with Mark Vogelzang. After many memorable years on the air the program has now come full circle, concluding on its 8th anniversary in a grand celebration of the holiday as only Bach can provide.

And then on Monday we break free from the pre-Easter trepidation and somberness in a joyous outburst of dances, 'Alleluias', and celebratory music to welcome springtime and all of the renewal it brings.

This time of the year has served as inspiration for some of the most poignant and vividly powerful sounds in all of classical music. Whatever your traditions, I hope you enjoy the music this week and join VPR Classical in our springtime celebration!

Cheryl Willoughby
Dir. of Music Programming

A Landmark Day at VPR

I want to share just a few details of yesterday’s coverage of the same-sex marriage bill in Montpelier. There were many people involved in concurrent efforts that followed the events of the day on a minute-to-minute basis – on the air and online.

First, many people took advantage of VPR's live stream from the Vermont Statehouse. We heard the Senate deliberate the veto override. Then we heard the House deliberate on the veto override. In each case, we heard the outcome and the sound from the Statehouse.

Second, the VPR.net homepage and news page were planned to undergo constant change to accomplish two things: preview what was coming up in the next minutes or hour and also report on the results. Copy, headlines, content were all undergoing continuous alterations. This is new for VPR.

Meanwhile, Vermont Edition Senior Producer Patti Daniels was on Twitter announcing the moment-by-moment details to the social networking audience - previewing what was to come as well as the results. VPR's Facebook fans were also receiving updates.

Then, once the news was known that the House and Senate had overridden the governor's veto, we let you know on VPR Classical and On Point so that you'd know the results and tune in for Vermont Edition at noon.

Vermont Edition itself included live reports from VPR's reporters at the Statehouse. At one point during the program, Governor Douglas was on the air, immediately followed by House Speaker Shap Smith. In addition, the phone lines were flooded. Something like 10 emails were read on the air, 14 callers spoke during the program, and five pieces of tape were included in the reports.

Afterward, VPR's public action page was put in place to provide a continuing forum for discussion. More than 50 people have emailed VPR so far, surely one of the largest responses we've had.

While all this was going on, VPR was preparing an NPR piece to air in All Things Considered Tuesday afternoon. Then, VPR's newscasts were written, edited, and produced to sum up the day's events, with unique news reports and perspectives from various viewpoints. This morning’s coverage continued with more voices from Montpelier, analysis and commentary.

This all occurred with many hands in different departments making the work as light as possible to achieve a very big goal.

This was a landmark day for Vermont. It was also a landmark day for VPR and the way we cover important issues. Your comments are welcome.

John Van Hoesen
Vice President for News and Programming

Friday, April 3, 2009

Nate Herzog on VPR's Creative Technology

Great piece on VPR today by JDK's Nate Herzog in the Vermont 3.0 creative/tech blog. It's all about about how creative use of technology allows VPR reach more listeners - and allows listeners to interact with us.

Have a great weekend!