PBS HOLIDAY PROGRAMMING 2007-2008
New holiday specials featuring Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir highlight PBS’ primetime schedule this holiday season, while PBS KIDS® and PBS KIDS GO!sm celebrate the winter season with episodes featuring Clifford, Arthur and other favorite characters. PBS is a home for the holidays for the whole family this season.
Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and special guests ring in the season — and kick off PBS’ holiday programming — with LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Jazz @ Lincoln Center: Red Hot Holiday Stomp,” airing live from Frederick P. Rose Hall, Monday, December 10, 2007, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS. Marsalis is the host for the annual holiday concert, an evening of joyous music and storytelling featuring jazz musicians who bring Big Easy-style holiday cheer to the Big Apple.
After the “Stomp,” PBS travels across the country to Los Angeles for L.A. HOLIDAY CELEBRATION 2007, airing Monday, December 10, 2007, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS. The program highlights the largest multi-cultural holiday show in the country. The music and dance special reflects the remarkably varied cultural mosaic of Los Angeles, rarely experienced on national television. From rhythm and blues, East L.A.-style, to Cambodian court dance, a cappella singing from the Republic of Georgia to bilingual Christmas carols, mariachi violins to a dance interpretation of a Persian fable, the celebration offers a kaleidoscope of seasonal joy. Sheryl Lee Ralph (Broadway’s Dreamgirls) hosts.
Continuing a holiday tradition, PBS presents a concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR FEATURING SISSEL airs Wednesday, December 19, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET with an encore presentation on Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS. European singing sensation Sissel joins the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square in this year’s concert. A national institution in Norway, Sissel has sung all around the world, selling six million solo albums. She performs solo numbers that include “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room” by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame; “Vitae Lux” (Light of Life) by Frode Alnaes; and the French carol “Angels, From the Realms of Glory” and reads the Christmas story from the Book of Luke. The program also features traditional Christmas songs and Norwegian folk tunes.
Following the premiere broadcast of CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR, PBS presents CHRISTMAS AT ST. OLAF: WHERE PEACE AND LOVE AND HOPE ABIDE. Airing Wednesday, December 19, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, this Christmas special features the renowned choirs and orchestra of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
After the Christmas Eve broadcast of CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR, PBS heads to Tennessee for CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT (2007). A holiday tradition at Belmont University in Nashville, where the School of Music features outstanding choral and instrumental ensembles, the annual concert comes from Nashville’s new Schermerhorn Symphony Center. “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle hosts a program featuring a Christmas repertoire ranging from traditional carols to classical masterworks to lighthearted secular songs. The program airs Monday, December 24, 2007, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS.
The following week, PBS rings in the New Year in style, as acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell joins the New York Philharmonic in LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve: Joshua Bell’s Romantic Violin.” Airing Monday, December 31, 2007, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET, the concert will be broadcast live from Avery Fisher Hall. Philharmonic music director Lorin Maazel conducts the orchestra in a program of romantic violin showpieces featuring Bell, including Kreisler’s “Liebesleid” and “Liebesfreud,” Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Ravel’s “Tzigane” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”
On New Year’s Day, GREAT PERFORMANCES continues a time-honored holiday tradition with “From Vienna: The New Years Celebration 2008,” returning to Vienna’s Musikverein for its 24th-annual New Year’s Day celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic and host Walter Cronkite. This year’s celebration airs live, Tuesday, January 1, 2008, 2:30-4:00 p.m. ET, with an encore broadcast that evening, 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET on PBS.
Topping off PBS’ New Year’s Day offerings is a special that chronicles the life and career of one of the American musical theater’s iconic figures: Jerry Herman, the composer and lyricist of the smash hit shows Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage Aux Folles. WORDS AND MUSIC BY JERRY HERMAN airs Tuesday, January 1, 2008, 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET, immediately after the primetime broadcast of “From Vienna: The New Years Celebration 2008.”
Rounding out PBS’ holiday schedule is a slate of programs airing throughout December. CELTIC WOMAN: A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION (check local listings) features singers Chloe, Lisa, Meav, Orla and fiddler Mairead and includes such popular classics as “White Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night” and “Let It Snow.” The special was filmed in Dublin’s prestigious Helix Centre, where the Celtic Woman phenomenon began, and features several original pieces: “Green the Whole Year Round,” a fiddle solo called “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Christmas Pipes.”
NORTHERN LIGHTS: AN EVENING WITH SISSEL AND FRIENDS (check local listings) is a vibrant new PBS special that brings together one of the brightest talents of the 21st century — the lovely and popular Sissel — with acclaimed tenor Jose Carreras in the 17th-century Norwegian village of Roros, where little has changed since 1650. Hauntingly beautiful, Roros is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its quaint architecture and snow-covered landscape serve as a stunning counterpoint to the warm and sensual voice of Sissel, who filmed the special in a landmark stone church that has served as a beacon for this community since 1784.
Encore programming airing throughout the month includes MR. CHRISTMAS (check local listings), a uplifting holiday movie about a young father, Joel, who can’t afford to buy his five-year-old daughter the bicycle she’s expecting from Santa Claus, and ONCE UPON A SLEIGH RIDE (check local listings), a film that chronicles the life and work of orchestral composer Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) through interviews with colleagues, family members and others who knew him, as well as archival and contemporary performances of his works, including “Sleigh Ride,” “The Syncopated Clock,” “Blue Tango” and “The Typewriter.”
Additional encore presentations include NATURE “Christmas in Yellowstone,” airing Sunday, December 23, 2007, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS, which takes a look at a holiday season of a different sort — in the great winter world of Yellowstone. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes of wolves and coyotes, elk and bison, and bears and otters as they make their way through their most challenging season of the year. From the unique crystals of individual snowflakes to the grand sweep of Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other.
In addition, throughout December and into the first week of January, PBS KIDS celebrates the season with holiday and winter-themed episodes for preschool kids and their families. CAILLOU builds his first snowman; Flo teaches Zo the value of patience when opening Hanukah presents on CLIFFORD’S PUPPY DAYS; Piggley discovers the value of a gift from the heart on JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS; Mister Rogers helps children appreciate the delight in giving during a theme week of episodes on MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD; and Tinky, Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po explore the delights of a fresh snowfall in TELETUBBIES IN THE SNOW.
PBS KIDS GO! also shares in the excitement this December. Early elementary school kids can join Arthur, D.W. and their friends in a one-hour holiday special, ARTHUR’S PERFECT CHRISTMAS; help the CyberSquad assist a crew of panicking penguins in an icy episode of CYBERCHASE; and see how Miguel learns to appreciate the joys (and minor annoyances) his sister Maya brings to the world in MAYA & MIGUEL.
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