A scene from the GBH’s 2018 Holiday Concert in Calderwood Studio
Boston, MA (November 15, 2023) – GBH is embracing the spirit of the holiday season with a wide variety of festive programming for audiences of all ages. On Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m., audiences can enjoy A Holiday Celebration, GBH's annual holiday concert, in-person or on broadcast. The event offers a front-row seat to engaging performers sharing renditions of seasonal classics and new works. The event features pianist John Paul McGee, who will perform holiday favorites in his signature "Gospejazzical" genre; Blue Heron, a Renaissance and medieval vocal ensemble led by Scott Metcalfe; The Renaissance Men, a Boston-based professional ensemble of eight male voices; 21 spectacular singers from the Handel and Haydn Youth Chorus Chamber Choir led by Conductor Alyson Greer Espinosa; and members of the New England Brass Band. The concert will be hosted by CRB Classical 99.5 hosts Laura Carlo and Greg Ferrisi. The in-person experience costs $40 and streams virtually for free. A Holiday Celebration is sponsored by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the Boston Foundation.
"Whether listeners are in-person for A Holiday Celebration or cozying up at home with The Ultimate Holiday Classical Mix at Classical.org, they are in for a magical mix of music," said Anthony Rudel, General Manager of GBH Music. "The top 40 Christmas jingles are everywhere, but CRB Classical 99.5 is the only place people can find more than 500 years of holiday hits—everything from Bach to Bing."
Beginning Thanksgiving weekend, CRB Classical 99.5 will start filtering in holiday music. The station will also share holiday performances by GBH Music partners from across the region as part of WCRB In Concert, which airs at 7 p.m. each Sunday. Offerings will include a Handel and Haydn performance of Hadyn's Messiah on Dec. 10, the Holiday Pops with Keith Lockhart on Dec. 17, and Blue Heron's Medieval England on Dec. 24. CRB also offers listeners a musical home for the holidays through three popular holiday streams available at Classical.org, in the CRB app, and on smart speakers. The Perfect Holiday Party Soundtrack offers holiday favorites to keep listeners' moods festive and warm with beloved songs like "Winter Wonderland," "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." The Ultimate Holiday Classical Mix brings listeners traditional classics plus carols from across the centuries and around the globe. Heavenly Holiday Classics celebrates the season with music from the Baroque and Renaissance and beyond, including Handel's "Messiah," Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," and Britten's "Ceremony of Carols."
The Bach Hour with Brian McCreath will celebrate the season with recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's compositions tailored to the season each Sunday at 6 am on CRB Classical 99.5. This season's selections range from Bach's Cantata No. 62, a piece written for the quiet meditation of Advent, to a performance of Cantata No. 190, "Sing to the Lord a New Song," on New Year's Day.GBH 89.7 FM will present special programming for the holidays as well. On December 24, the station will air seasonal Jazz selections from 6-8 pm. From 8 pm to midnight, Christmas Eve with Oedipus returns, taking listeners on a journey through some of the most spectacular and rarely heard holiday music listeners have never heard, rare tracks from rock, hip hop, classical, spoken word, ethereal, and more. The show culminates in Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" at midnight. Christmas Eve with Oedpius has aired on 89.7 FM and streamed on wgbh.org every year since 2015. Throughout December, Jazz on 89.7 FM will offer season selections under the banner of Hot Jazz for your Cold Nights. The Jazz 24/7 online stream will provide a special playlist with Jazz favorites like "O Tannenbaum" from Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas and Eyal Vilner Big Band's rendition of the traditional Chanukah Song, "Maoz Tzul."
Holiday offerings on GBH 2 include a range of festive local and national productions. On Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 8 pm, The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square join award-winning artists Lea Salonga and Sir David Suchet for the uplifting Christmas special, Season of Light: Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir. The presentation is followed by Quentin Blake's Clown, a half-hour animated special focusing on the Christmas Eve adventures of a discarded toy clown. On Monday, Dec. 18, at 9 pm, the iconic food journalist Mary Berry explores her Scottish heritage and cooks up some indulgent dishes on Mary Berry's Highland Christmas. On Thursday, Dec. 21, at 9 pm, GBH 2 airs Anthony Williams' Urban Nutcracker, followed by Beyond the Stage: The Urban Nutcracker, Community & the Arts, a companion look at this beloved ballet tradition in Boston. On Thursday, Dec. 28, at 7 pm, GBH WORLD will present Culture Expressions: Kwanzaa, a one-hour documentary that explores the seven principles that are the foundations of Kwanzaa. Many of these selections and more holiday offerings are free on PBS Passport.
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH’s local television channels include GBH 2, GBH 44, GBH WORLD and GBH Kids. With a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station. From Boston to the Berkshires, from Worcester to the Cape and Islands, GBH is dedicated to connecting the Commonwealth through news, programming, learning tools and events. GBH has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at gbh.org.