Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vermont Mozart Festival Closes Its Doors

Sad news today for Vermont's arts community: The Vermont Mozart Festival is closing its doors next month.

Every summer for 37 years, the VMF featured world-class performances in beautiful and historic locations around the state. But in spite of the great public support for the festival, ticket sales have steadily declined. Two seasons of rain during difficult economic times made the situation worse. And while fundraising has been strong, it wasn't able to make up the difference. You can read the full press release here.

VPR Classical's Cheryl Willoughby had Artistic Director Gil Shohat on her program back in July. You can listen to that conversation here. (Picture above is of Mr. Shohat performing on VPR Classical last year).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beautiful Voices for the Holidays

We had such a great time last Friday at VPR's annual Winter Concert. Bella Voce gave a wonderful performance - you can see photos from the event below!

The music and celebration continues this week. Listen tomorrow night at 9 for Paul Winter’s 30th Winter Solstice Celebration live from New York City. Christmas Even starts with Willem Lange’s Favor Johnson at 7:50 a.m., followed by A Christmas Carol told by Willem at noon, A Vermont Christmas with Counterpoint at 8 pm, and then Holiday Jazz until midnight. Christmas morning brings A New England Christmas with Willem Lange at 9:30am.

On VPR Classical, tonight at 8 we'll hear L’enfance du Christ on In Concert @ 8. A few other highlights include the Rose Ensemble at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Magnificent Magnificats with Joe Goetz at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Echoes of Christmas Thursday at 8 p.m. followed by A Chanticleer Christmas at 9. We’ll hear the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live from King’s College in England on Christmas Eve at 10 a.m., and A Vermont Christmas with Counterpoint at 8 p.m.

You'll find our full holiday schedule online here, and best wishes to you for a joyous, peaceful, and healthy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Your Regular Vermont Band

When you think of bands from Vermont, Phish, The Samples and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals probably come to mind. You usually don't envision a band of teenage brothers from Arlington, VT who just got off the road opening for Justin Bieber.

But that's Burnham - comprised of brothers Alex, Andre and Forrest Burnham. They were signed a year ago to Island Def Jam Records and right now have a digital EP out with three of their pop rock tunes. They've been getting airplay on Top 40 stations and have made the charts on Radio Disney.

With a few weeks of down time before their musical career takes them off in another direction, we've invited the brothers to stop by VPR and play a few of their songs. You can hear them today on Vermont Edition at Noon and 7 pm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bella Voce Live On VPR Classical

This Friday morning at 11 the Bella Voce Women's Chorus will perform live on VPR Classical for our annual winter concert. We can't wait!

I talked with director Dawn Willis recently about the program they were planning, and she mentioned they had been rehearsing this music since August. I don't want to give it all away but I can tell you Bella Voce will be offering their own twist on classics like Here We Come a-Wassailing and Angels We Have Heard On High, along with a newly commissioned work that reflects on wintertime in the frozen tundra.

Listen in to VPR Classical at 11 this Friday morning for a special winter celebration with Dawn Willis and Bella Voce.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Opera Quiz

Every so often on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, we like to add a little intrigue to the show. (As if opera doesn't have enough of that already!) Last weekend Peter and Sam cooked up an interesting puzzler, they played three short pieces of music, and offered only one hint: the soprano singer was a famous Wagnerian opera star.

Well, since then we've learned a bit more about the mystery voice. She's American (a Missouri native), and sang throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s on stages including the Metropolitan Opera. She also distinguished herself as a guest on popular TV shows with Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan. A diehard baseball fan, at one point she became part owner of her hometown team, the St. Louis Browns. For her notable contributions to the recording industry, she even has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Give up?

The mystery voice is.....................Helen Traubel!

We heard from many of you with your guesses, but we only had one right answer: congratulations to Letitia H. Rydjesky of Randolph, who will be receiving a copy of Peter Fox Smith's book A Passion for Opera.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our opera quiz. We'll do it again sometime!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Have Your (Fruit) Cake And Read It, Too!

Commentator Willem Lange’s story of Favor Johnson has been a holiday tradition on Vermont Public Radio for more than a decade. It’s the heart-warming story of a Vermont farmer, his dog Hercules, homemade fruitcake, and the real spirit of Christmas.

When you make a year-end pledge of $144 (or $12/month) by December 10th, we’ll thank you with Willem’s hard-cover illustrated children’s book version of Favor Johnson. Plus, we’ll send along an Old Cavendish fruitcake to enjoy while you read! We'll ship the book to arrive by December 22.

Share this classic tale with your loved ones while investing in another great year of in-depth news, stories, and music on VPR and VPR Classical. Please make your tax-deductible gift today.

Warmest wishes for the season from all of us here at VPR!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

VPR Classical Photo Caption Contest II

By now you may have seen our series of VPR Classical posters online or in your community! Just how do Walter Parker, Joe Goetz, and Cheryl Willoughby come to look so perfect and warm and fun-loving, you might ask?

They don't. Well - not right away. As even the most casual photographer knows, getting the right shot - especially with a group of people - usually takes a bit of time. We eventually got our shot, but not before we got some hilarious outtakes! What a fun afternoon. Check out the photos below, courtesy of the VPR's lovely and talented Ty Robertson.

Then, hop on over to VPR's Facebook page where we're having a caption contest! Add your caption to the comments under the photo, and the caption that gets the most "likes" from your fellow Facebookers wins a new VPR stainless steel travel mug.

(If you haven't seen the final product, check the posters out here, where you can also download some to post in your community!)