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December 21, 2005

NPR to Offer Choral Music on Sunday's

National Public Radio will offer three hours of choral music to all its 815 stations every Sunday, beginning with a sample program Christmas morning. "Sacred Classics" will explore music for choirs and choruses through the centuries, from medieval chants through 21st century gospel singing.

"Every week millions of Americans join their voices in a fellowship of song in choirs, in communities, colleges and houses of worship," said Benjamin Roe, NPR's director of music initiatives. "With the acquisition of `Sacred Classics,' NPR will be able to extend that fellowship." The program is already available to 51 NPR stations that belong to the Classic Public Radio Network (CPRN), a joint venture of KUSC in Los Angeles and Colorado Public Radio.

The Christmas program will include familiar carols as well as motets and cantatas, with singing by Chanticleer, the Cambridge Singers, the choir of King's College and the group Anonymous 4. Old and new Jewish music will be included. This year, Dec. 25 is the first day of Hanukkah.

"It's about choral music, not about any particular theology," said Scott Henderson, managing director of the CPRN. He said he wanted the word "sacred" was to be understood in the sense of serious or solemn _ "any music that an audience in a concert hall would be comfortable with."

Stephanie Wendt, the host of the show, tells 30 to 40 seconds of background on each piece, about five minutes in an hour, Henderson estimated. The program is arranged so that each station can use one, two or all three hours, as it chooses. Henderson predicted that 50 to 100 stations will gradually come to use the program over the next few years.

Posted by acapnews at December 21, 2005 12:58 AM