Keillor Does Twain

For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Thanksgiving is over, and, as of today, there is one month until Christmas. Next Saturday is the start of December, and many people in East Central Indiana are expecting everything from Good tidings to earthquakes this holiday season.

WBST is jam-packed with more than 40 good tidings of special programming this month to celebrate the season. And it all starts at 6 p.m. Saturday.

On that day, Garrison Keillor takes his American Radio Company of the Air on location for a live broadcast from the Mark Twain Memorial in Hartford, Conn.

The 2-hour broadcast is the first of 13 tour broadcasts scheduled this season.

How did Garrison Keillor come to select Mark Twain’s famous Hartford home as a broadcast site? The answer rests in part with Keillor and with the executive director of the memorial, John Boyer.

Keillor’s articles for The New Yorker and other publications, and his broadcast for American Public Radio have evoked similarities with Twain in the minds of fans and critics alike. Knowing of that connection, Boyer contacted Keillor during a Connecticut appearance this past summer, and invited him to visit the memorial.

Keillor quietly accepted by coming to Hartford unannounced, buying a ticket and joining a guided tour on his own. Upon his return to New York, he immediately contacted the memorial, asking if his show could broadcast from the Twain home.

According to Chris Tschida, producer of American Radio Company, part of the show will feature music from Twain’s era – the latter part of the 19th century.

“We’re looking at spirituals and other forms of music which Twain would have known and enjoyed. There will be a Keillor monologue as well, undoubtedly tied to Twain themes, plus some other surprises.”

Special guests for the broadcast include the Gregg Smith Quartet, a sub-group of the Gregg Smith Singers, the most recorded vocal choir in the world. Also appearing will be Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra and the Broadway Local Theatre Company.

Recovering the Past

Although December looks to be a very good month for our listeners, the last few days of November are alive and kicking.

At 5:30 tonight, Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor continues her series of in-depth reports on crisis in the lives of our country’s minorities.

“Giving Up the Past: Indian Ceremonial Objects,” tells the story of how traders, geologists, soldiers, anthropologists and sometimes the Indians themselves have stolen or purchased many sacred objects from tribal communities.

For hundreds of years, Native Americans have created ceremonial objects vital to their spiritual life.

This program focuses on Native American tribes attempting to retain and strengthen their ancient cultures by retrieving important ceremonial objects from galleries, private art collections and museums, like the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis.

In December, Horizons will round out its 1990 season with a colorful array of documentaries exploring the many sides of life in America – past and present.

Horizons will take listeners back to the 1960s to examine the black theater movement, tracking its influence on contemporary dramatic arts.

Other documentaries include as story about a San Francisco-based training program helping troubled youth in American cities and a story by Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor about popular Zydeco star Queen Ida.