Saturday, August 29, 2009

Making Music in Late Summer

<---(world premiere of David Ludwig's stirring Flowers in the Desert at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival)

If Marlboro came and went and passed you by this summer, not to worry. With the new (and we hope, annual) Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival you have a second chance to enjoy some of the finest musicians in the region coming together for imaginative, artistically rich, programatically visionary concerts here at the end of the season.

I caught last night's concert of Schumann, Kurtág, Messiaen, and composer-in-residence David Ludwig's world premiere, Flowers in the Desert. Wonderful.

Last concert ('til next year!) is tomorrow's 3pm program with Schubert's C major Quintet, Dvořák's moody, dancing Bagatelles, and a recent Trio from Canada's R. Murray Schafer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'll have my own Cheese Festival

Say "cheese" and I'm hungry for a block of some delicious Vermont-made creation. So when Jane Lindholm hosted a Vermont Edition program last week devoted entirely to Vermont artisan cheeses, I was out of my head, ready to try many varieties. I figured I'd buy a ticket to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival at Shelburne Farm on Sunday. And then my world crumbled like a wonderful old blue cheese - the event was sold out! Curses!

So I developed Plan B. Saturday morning, I bundled myself off to the Burlington Farmers Market in search of some locally crafted cheeses to have my own Vermont Fromage Fest. During the Vermont Edition cheese show, I jotted down the name of every cheese and cheese producer that callers and e-mailers mentioned as being a worthy purchase. One of those mentioned was Boucher Family Farm, which just happened to be at the market on Saturday. I snatched up their Gore-Dawn-Zola and Brother Laurent. I also picked up Willow Hill's Autumn Oak and a block of Vermont Ayr. I also had some Neighborly Farms Green Onion Cheddar at home in the fridge.

When I hunkered down to have my own cheese party, my disgust at not getting a ticket to the Cheesemakers Festival subsided with each delectable mouthful of the wonderful selections I made earlier in the day. And I counted my blessings for living in a state where I can easily find some of Planet Earth's finest cheeses each and every day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

There's a New Fest in Town

Two years after his exile from the Soviet Union, Russian author/historian Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his family moved to Cavendish, VT. It was 1976 and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the middle son of the family, was four years old.

Since then Ignat has emerged as a remarkable musician with credits including an Avery Fisher Career Grant; a position on the piano faculty at the Curtis Institute; prominent conducting residencies in Russia and Philadelphia; and guest engagements with numerous other major North American orchestras.

When Mr. Solzhenitsyn appears as a guest at the inaugural concert of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival this Wednesday night he'll take on another role: as the featured pianist in works by Dvořák, Schubert, and compatriot Dmitri Shostakovich.

Today at 1 he'll join Walter Parker and violinist/LCCMF Artistic Director Soovin Kim in the studio for conversation about his new Brahms recording, his career, and the new chamber music festival that brings together some of the finest artists in the area for a whole week of live music and musical learning.

That's the way to bring summertime to a fine fine!

Monday, August 17, 2009

VPR's Nina Keck in the news

The Rutland Herald and Times Argus profiled VPR's Nina Keck in today's paper. You can read the story here.

Keck has won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, including one this year for her story about the final exam for an oxen driving class.Listen to her Murrow Award winning story, Final Exam with a Twist.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jane Lindholm: Vermont Edition Turns Two

Vermont Edition Host Jane Lindholm shared these thoughts about the program's anniversary and new evening rebroadcast:

Vermont Edition
turns two today. That's two years, 500 shows, and interviews in the quadruple digits. When I started here I rarely hosted dinner parties, let alone a public radio program but I was pretty sure I would like it. And I do; I love hosting Vermont Edition. I get to talk to fascinating people and learn new things every single day. What a great job!

What I was less certain of when the show hit the air was how listeners would respond. It’s been gratifying to see such a positive response. Vermont Edition has gained a loyal following and found a comfortable place for itself in the regional news landscape. Even more exciting is how crucial listeners have become to the success of the program—contributing topic ideas, participating in the conversations, and keeping me in check.

But many have also approached me expressing frustration that they couldn’t hear the program at noon. There was a sense that they were missing out on conversations with Vermont’s political leaders, artists, and newsmakers. Programming VPR's schedule is beyond my pay grade, but I was thrilled when VPR made the decision to rebroadcast Vermont Edition in the evenings. It means that people who can’t turn the radio on at noon, who don’t get a lunch break, or don’t have the ability to podcast the program can still hear it.

I know this isn’t a decision that every single listener will be as excited about as I am, but it is a direct result of listener requests. I hope you’ll listen at 7 p.m. and let us know what you think.

And I want to take this time to say thanks. Your participation has made Vermont Edition a dynamic, exciting, and intelligent show. I’m continually impressed by the questions you ask on the program and the comments you send my way. So thanks. And thanks, especially, for listening.

Jane Lindholm
Host, Vermont Edition

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hitting Home: How the Recession is Affecting Vermont

A lot of people were surprised last fall at how swiftly the economy turned. By midwinter, it was clear this was going to be a deep recession that would affect people across the economic spectrum.

VPR News had been telling the story all along. But by the first of the year, it was clear that a larger project was warranted to capture the enormity of the steep decline. And so we organized a series of stories that examined the situation through personal stories.

We found factory workers, farmers, retirees, shopkeepers, auto dealers, a homeless family, and the experts who were trying to help them. It pretty quickly became clear that there was a common theme among all of the stories: The economic downturn was hitting home for all of them. That seemed to sum up the series for us, and so we dubbed our ongoing stories “Hitting Home.”

Here we are six months later and there’s a sense that maybe things aren’t as bad as everyone had predicted. So we decided to revisit some of the people we talked to in February and update their stories. We're doing that on Mondays all this month as we continue with our Hitting Home stories.

In coming weeks, we’ll visit the Northeast Kingdom to examine what happens when the largest employer in a region drastically cuts back. We’ll look in on the banking industry to find out whether it can help power an economic recovery. And we’ll even check out the business of weddings for an idea of how a small but lucrative part of the region’s economy is faring.

I hope you'll tune in and share your own stories as well. You can learn more online here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Dark & Stormy Night

A troupe of young actors from the Flynnarts summer camp program spent the day at VPR recently creating two radio plays. Under the direction of the Flynn's Joan Robinson, the young campers created sound effects and acted out their parts in the VPR Performance Studio. It looked and sounded just like the radio theatre of the '30s and '40s. The rain came down, thunder boomed and mice skittered across the floor as a mini drama the children wrote themselves unfolded.

They also performed an episode of the radio theatre classic, "Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy".

VPR's Senior Audio Engineer Sam Sanders recorded and mixed the finished product.

Learn more about the Flynn Center's camps and classes.

Learn more about "Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Queen City Radio Hour Returns

Listen tonight at 7 for the latest Queen City Radio Hour. Tom Bodett hosts an hour of comedy and music featuring Rusty Dewees, music by Anais Mitchell and Quebec’s Lost Fingers. We’ll peek behind the scenes at speed dating in South Burlington, take you on a turkey drive to Boston and tell a tall tale of Samuel de Champlain’s misadventures.

The program was recorded before a live audience during Burlington's Lake Champlain quadricentennial celebration. VPR's Neal Charnoff, who produced the program, writes: "As with any theatrical production, seeing the actors take words on a page and make them come alive in performance was a small miracle. Jay Craven was a calm and wise ringleader, and Tom Bodett was as funny, easygoing and friendly as he sounds on the radio. The most pleasant surprise was the enthusiastic, rock-star-worthy response from a near capacity crowd at the Flynn."

I hope you will tune in and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Listen to Vermont Edition at Noon and 7 p.m.

Beginning next Monday, you will be able to hear VPR's Vermont Edition twice each weekday, live at noon, with a rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Vermont Edition began broadcasting daily two years ago, and since then it has grown in popularity and has become essential listening for folks across the region. As a result, many requests have come in to VPR to add a broadcast of the program in the evening so it would be available to a wider audience.

Here's the new evening lineup: Vermont Edition is at 7, The World moves to 8 p.m., and George Thomas continues his two-hour jazz show beginning at 9 p.m. On Fridays, legend Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz airs at 9 p.m., followed by George Thomas until midnight.

As with any program change, we've been getting questions from listeners about how we came to this decision. Visit our website for answers to some frequently-asked-questions, and for a printable version of the new schedule.