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KNAU Holiday Programming 2022

KNAU Special Holiday Programming is Upon Us!

It’s here! That time of year when KNAU goes cuckoo for Christmas music and holiday specials. As we write this, the usually-cheerful studio production elves are hard at work, organizing more than two weeks of holiday radio festivities.

These specials cover a world of styles: lots of choral music – both classical and pop; jazz and acoustic variations on holiday standards; performers from Judy Collins to Yo-Yo Ma – David Sedaris and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

We’ve also scheduled some favorite spoken word programs. Among them are two programs from the NPR Tinsel Tales series and two holiday specials from Ira Glass and This American Life.

Also this year, a special focus on performances from area musicians. We’ll have a live-to-air performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony Sunday afternoon 12/18 at one. Plus the Phoenix Chorale Tuesday the 20th and the Tucson-based ensemble True Concord Friday the 23rd.

Back by popular demand, New Year’s Day Live from Vienna, beginning first thing in the morning at nine. Dance your way into the new year with polkas, quick-steps and more. (Pro tip: move the living room furniture the night before.)

Complete listing below or by Clicking Here:

Monday December 12


Tinsel Tales

The radio tradition continues - stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk--these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season.


Songs of Joy and Peace: The Yo-Yo Ma Holiday Party

Featuring James Taylor, Allison Krauss, Diana Krall, Dave Brubeck, Renee Fleming and others.

Tuesday December 13


Selected Shorts: Holiday with Mom

Two stories about being home for the holidays, how you can count on your Mom to be there for you…and possibly to complicate things.


A Holiday Music Tour with Judy Collins

Judy’s guests include Steve Earle, Jesse Colin Young, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tish Hinojosa, others.

Wednesday December 14


This American Life: Lights, Camera, Christmas!

A show filled with stories of people going to great lengths to throw a special Christmas their families.


Ozark Highlands Radio Presents: Christmas!

Christmas folk songs both traditional and rare. Grandpa Jones reads “The Christmas Guest,” and Jean Richie tells the story of an early Richie Family Christmas.

Thursday December 15


The ONE Recipe Holiday Special

From The Splendid Table, culinary superstars discuss their “one” recipe that undoubtedly signals that the holiday has begun!


A Mountain Stage Holiday

Seasonal Songs old and new recorded live over the years on Mountain Stage. Joan Baez, Bruce Cockburn, Odetta, Loudon Wainwright III, The Roches, others.

Friday December 16


Putumayo World Music: A Family Christmas

Celebrating Christmas with holiday songs from various artists around the world.


An NPR Jazz Piano Christmas

Recorded earlier this month at the Kennedy Center, new jazz piano performances of favorite holiday tunes. Artists include Mountain Stage’s Bob Thompson, Bolivian prodigy Jose Andre Montano and Japanese musical phenom Hiromi.

Sunday December 18


Arizona Encore: Holiday with True Concord


The Phoenix Symphony

Live-to-air broadcast of Handel’s Messiah

Monday December 19


More Tinsel Tales

Interviews from the NPR Archives about the music we enjoy at Christmas: Kenny Rogers, Sting, Amy Grant, Jon Batiste, others.


Holidays with the Boston Brass

Brass arrangements of popular Christmas carols and pop tunes.

Tuesday December 20


Judy Collins: Peace on Earth – A Holiday Folk Tour

Hitting the road for holiday standards and originals from musicians across the country; Albuquerque to Austin, New York to Berkley.


Phoenix Chorale, recorded in concert December 15, 2022.

Wednesday December 21


Say Yes to Christmas from This American Life

No Christmas can ever be as good as the ones you had as a kid. Here’s a show to bring back the joy and spontaneity of the season – the sense that anything can happen at Christmas.


All is Bright

An exploration of this time of darkness and light with All Is Bright, an hour of beautiful music that will inspire and uplift as it tells the Christmas story.

Thursday December 22


Christmas with Chanticleer

This superb 12-man ensemble is known as "an orchestra of voices," as they perform holiday classics and new favorites.


St. Olaf Christmas Festival

A service in song and word that has become one of the nation’s most cherished holiday celebrations. Tickets to the event - which takes place at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN - are always gone months in advance. The festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, as well as orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians in five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.

Friday December 23


Sing We Now Of Christmas with True Concord

Traditional favorites from this Tucson-based Grammy-nominated choral group. The program includes a greeting from founding music director Eric Holtan, as well as introductions introductions to some of the pieces by Dale Warland.


A Rochester Festival of Lessons and Carols

The Christmas story in words and music.

Saturday 24


The Thistle & Shamrock Christmas Special: A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

Cerys Matthews she narrates excerpts from the Dylan Thomas holiday classic, set to music that she created and recorded with her collaborator Mason Neely.


Beale Street Caravan Christmas Special

Sunday 12/25

12 noon

Arizona Encore (repeat) Phoenix Chorale in concert


Chicago Symphony (regular broadcast)

Messiah part one and Nutcracker excerpts

Sunday January 1, 2023


New Year’s in Vienna

Live broadcast from the Vienna Philharmonic. Dance away the old year and polka in the new. (Pro tip: move the living room furniture the night before.)

All listings are subject to change with or without notice.