WAER Holiday Specials

WAER Holiday Program Schedule

Join WAER for a plethora of holiday programs this season. Music, stories and more.

Happy Holidays!

All Songs Considered for the Holidays

Saturday, 12/13 at 8 PM

It's the sixth edition of a weird holiday tradition from NPR Music. Host Bob Boilen and friends trade holiday cheer and snarky barbs while bringing you the best holiday songs from new and emerging breakout bands. Hear renditions of great holiday music you'll never hear at the mall or your mother's house.

B3 Bonanza Holiday Special
Friday, 13/19 at 10 PM

Eric Cohen brings you the best of Hammond B3 holiday music.

Festivo Alt.Latino with Coral Cantigas
Saturday, 12/20 at 8 PM

NPR Music's Alt.Latino presents the 3rd edition of Festivo Alt.Latino -- a special holiday concert featuring the 20 piece choral ensemble Choral Cantigas. This musical performance also includes stories about holiday traditions and cultures. Hear a traditional Peruvian Christmas carol, folk music from Brazil, Spain, and Mexico plus Parrandas from Venezuela and Puerto Rico. The many rich styles of Latino choral music will unite listeners through the joyful and transformative power of music. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

Top of the World Holiday Special
Saturday, 12/20 at 9 PM

 Our own Top of the World hosts, Mark Bostick and Connie Wailer bring us holiday music from around the world.

A Paul Winter Solstice Concert
Saturday, 12/20 at 10 PM

Note: New photos added 12/8/14, Description updated 11/11/14Celebrate the return of the sun and the warming of the heart with Paul Winter's All New 34th Winter Solstice Celebration. On the darkest night of the year, we head back to New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine to hear The Paul Winter Consort and the glorious Cathedral Pipe Organ. The performance brings traditional holiday favorites and new sounds from around the world with special guests Ivan Lins and Renato Braz. Hosted by John Schaefer.Ivan Lins has moved audiences with his Latin Grammy-winning compositions for over 30 years. His music has been performed and interpreted by countless artists, including icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Streisand, and Quincy Jones. Lins joins Winter in St. John The Divine's to mark the Solstice in song.Renato Braz began to sing at five. He spent his teens playing the bars of Sao Paulo. Braz's four solo albums in the past two decades have established him as great world vocalist and remarkable songwriter. This year he takes the Solstice stage with Paul Winter to perform his own achingly beautiful compositions, some Solstice favorites, and songs of iconic Brazilian songwriter Ivan Lins, alongside Lins, gospel singer Theresa Thomason, The Paul Winter Consort, and a Brazilian chorus.

An Afro Blue Christmas
Tuesday, 12/23 at 8 PM

 Join us for a very special holiday concert with Howard University's premiere vocal ensemble Afro Blue, and special guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut. The a-cappela 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.

Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs
Tuesday, 12/23 at 9 PM

 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 encore presentation 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.

Jonathan Winters' A Christmas Carol
Wednesday, 12/24 at 8 PM

An updated version of 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. From NPR and KCRW.

Jazz Piano Christmas XXX
Wednesday, 12/24 at 9 PM

NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Pianists Cyrus Chestnut, Kris Davis, Lynne Arriale and The "Master" Harold Mabern take the stage to perform their favorite holiday songs. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

Joy to the World 2014
Wednesday, 12/24 at 10 PM

Joy to the World is a live performance holiday jazz program hosted by pianist Bob Thompson. From the producers of Mountain Stage and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the 21-year tradition is performed before a consistently sold-out audience in Charleston, West Virginia’s Culture Center Theater. The production has recently begun additional live road shows around the Mountain State.  Thompson and his band apply his expansive jazz vocabulary to some favorite holiday tunes, adding a fresh perspective to the songs that evoke those well-known feelings of the season. This year’s Joy to the World premiere features special guest vocalist Heather Masse, a member of the Billboard-charting folk group, The Wailin’ Jennys. A New York singer-songwriter, Masse grew up in rural Maine and began singing at an early age. Trained at the New England Conservatory of Music as a jazz singer, she is steeped in the jazz tradition, which informs her distinct approach to singing folk, pop and bluegrass.  Masse has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and has appeared on Mountain Stage with the Wailin’ Jennys and as a member of fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing. Masse has played at top venues, sharing the stage with the world’s most acclaimed pop, classical and jazz acts, including Elvis Costello, Wynton Marsalis, Sheryl Crow and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Her affection for these songs of the season is reflected in her cheerful performance with Thompson and his band.

Capitol Steps New Year’s edition of “Politics Takes a Holiday”
Tuesday, 12/30 at 8 PM

HELP say good-bye and good riddance to 2014 with the Capitol Steps and our annual year-end review. It's all in our hour-long radio special of "Politics Takes a Holiday!" This year will feature all-new awards, such as: "Is that guy jumping the White House fence, or is he just really into Michelle's 'Get Moving' campaign?""You say ISIS, I say ISIL. Let's call the whole thing off."And of course, "I scream, you scream, we all scream EBOLA!"Go ahead and announce it on your social media pages, but don't post it on the Cloud because we have some pictures we really don't think the world is ready to see.So let's send 2014 out like a character from Fifty Shades of Grey...with a bright red bottom.Let's have some fun, shall we?

Toast of the Nation 2014/2015
Wednesday, 12/31 at 10 PM

 The New Year's tradition continues with jazz you can party to all night long. Toast of the Nation 2014/2015 travels to the Newport Jazz Festival, Winter Jazzfest, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. There are no live segments this year, but don't worry -- you can still enjoy festive jazz sets with countdowns in three time zones. It's sure to be a nonstop celebration of musical fireworks that will keep you dancing and swinging all night long. Hosted by WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton.

10:00 PM - Winter Jazzfest Highlights with magical performances from Big Chief Donald Harrison, Gretchen Parlato, the Hypnotic Brass Band and more.

11:00 PM - Wynton Marsalis leads a medium-sized ensemble in a celebration of the music of New Orleans pioneers Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. This is an encore performance of the 2011/2012 Toast of the Nation set from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

12:30 AM - Dee Alexander's Funkin' with Electric Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. This funky segment is an encore performance that tore up Chicago's South Shore Cultural Center in 2012.

1:30 AM - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Dance to this 2010 encore from BBVD's How Big Can You Get? A Tribute to Cab Calloway, a high-voltage jolt of feel-good energy.

3:15 AM - Jon Batiste and Stay Human play a high energy set from The 2014 Newport Jazz Festival.

4:00 AM - Winter Jazzfest Highlights with magical performances from Big Chief Donald Harrison, Gretchen Parlato, the Hypnotic  Brass Band, and more (rollover).