By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star 
(Page T-15)

Over the years, WBST-FM 92.1 has been known to celebrate the birthdays of famous composers. In fact, you might want to tune in a 2 this afternoon to check out Easy to Love, the 2-hour special conclusion to our week-long celebration of Cole Porter’s 100th birthday.

As I was saying, we’ve been celebrating composer’s birthdays for quite come time, and it’s become a little redundant. So for a change of pace, we’ve decided to celebrate Mozart’s 200th anniversary. This anniversary does not commemorate his birthday, wedding, or even the publishing of one of his musical pieces. Nope, it might sound a little morbid but we’re celebrating the anniversary of his death.

So, since we had gone morbid and it’s not October and we needed to toss out any Halloween tie-in, how could any self-respecting radio station accomplish such a celebration? If your answer was “WBST’s Contest in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Mozart’s Death,” then either you are a good guesser or you;re reading our program guide.

All kidding aside, when you tune in at 1 Friday afternoon, you’ll find that we’ve preempted Something Extra for a Mozart special. Yes, we’ll announce the winners of the contest, too.

The special first took formulation in the mind of Steven Turpin, our music director. You see, since we’re a classical music radio station, we literally get tons of promotional material from companies that are trying to hawk their goods to our audience. Most of it is junk, but every so often we finds a gem in the lot.

Steven found one such gem in the form of a book by Emily Anderson entitles, Mozart’s Letters. Steven, who has never been the biggest fan of Mozart, read the book however. Hey, it was free from the company and had neato pictures. But as Steven read the book, a collection of letters written by the composer, he found the letters so incredible and intriguing that it radically changed his feelings toward Mozart as a composer.

Then the idea for the special came to Steven. He thought it would be great to select letters from the book and music from the time period from which they were written. After a few conversations with Nancy Wood, our audience services director, we not only had the special with excerpts and music, but also a contest with free copies of the book and Mozart CDs. Gosh, now you know how our station works.

“The majority of the letters are written to his father,” Wood said.

“In one letter he’s explaining to his father about how fickle marriage is and how he feels that marriage isn’t important. Then a few pages later he is justifying his choice of Constanze Weber as his wife. It gives you a feel for where he was as an artist and what he was doing,” Wood said.

June, Moon, Spoon

The month of June is settling in quite comfortably. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t need a calendar to realize it’s June. I’m reminded by the mailman with his insistent stuffing of my mail box with wedding invitations.

If weddings and wedding music are your cup of tea, you might want to put down that copy of Modern Bride and take the time to tune in to WBST at 7 tonight when Pipedreams presents “Music for Weddings.”

Organists Joyce Jones, Roger Myquist, George Baker and Barbara Harbach join host Michael Barone for a display of a disparate grouping of mostly unusual embellishments for those June nuptials.

Speak the Words

If you do like romance but aren’t too hip on weddings, you might want to try the Sound of Writing at 11:30 this morning with two love stories, The first, “The Twain” by Liza Field, details those fleeting days when boys and girls cease to be buddies and become budding young lovers. This time is wonderfully captured in this chronicle that resonates to the double meaning of the word “cleave.”

Sound of Writing swings from young love to unrequited love with the reading of “What’s New, Love?” by Write Morris. This is the tale of Molly, a waitress, and her secret love for a Hollywood star who has seen better days. Her silent worship’s only demonstration is that of keeping his coffee cup full.

It Won’t Hurt

For some people, opera is like sweet nectar to the ear. For others it is not. Thursday morning at 11, Karl Haas’s Adventures in Good Music tries to bridge the gap with “Opera for People Who Don;t Like Opera.” This program contains a sampling of some of the magnificent orchestral parts that are contained in some of the world’s great operas.

Other than that, on Saturday we feature 4 1/2 hours of programming devoted to the operatic feats of the Chicago Lyric. First at 12:30 that afternoon, on The Chicago Lyric Opera, Christoph Gluck’s Alceste will be presented.

This adaptation of Greek mythology is the complete realization of the composer’s ideal to make music and drama a single entity, to endow both with human qualities and arrive at simplicity.

Later at 3:30 Saturday afternoon, The Best Seat in the House offers “Carol Fox an the Chicago Lyric.” Our hosts, John Meadows and Dick Ver Wiebe, recall some of the highlights of the company while under the aegis of its late director.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Words like “unpredictable,” “impulsive” and “playful” are not adjectives typically used to describe the presentation of classical music on public radio. This might well change at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WBST-FM 92.1, when Bob & Bill premieres as the newest daily addition to Muncie radio.

Bob & Bill – a.k.a. Bob Christiansen and Bill Moorelock – could certainly challenge the way listeners perceive classical music. Bob & Bill combines passion for the music with reverence and unpretentiousness, musical and cultural history with witty interplay.

Bob and Bill build momentum by revealing connections between selection that have no obvious link. And just when you think you’ve discovered the direction they are taking, they will make an unanticipated veer to the left or to the right.

Only 3 years ago, Bob & Bill debuted on Northwest Public Radio as a local program. WBST is proud to bring to the community this show, which has already won a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Best Music Program and a Public Radio Program Director’s Skim Award.

Two Centuries Later

The year that was 1990 went by rather fast, and the classical music world lost two great composers with the deaths of Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland.

1991, on the other hand, marks an important milestone in classical music. It is the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death.

Performance Today plans to commemorate this event with “The Great Mozart Medley Contest,” which will be conducted throughout 1991 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays.

Host Martin Goldsmith said, “As the emperor said to Mozart in Amadeus, “Too many notes!” The Great Mozart Medley Contest will feature only the very best notes, in a manner we hope will be both entertaining and rewarding for our listeners.”

Once a month, Performance Today will present a “new” Mozart composition assembled from five brief excerpts of well-known Mozart works, and will ask listeners to submit postcards identifying those excerpt in sequence.

One winner a month will be chosen at random from the pool of correct entries, and will receive a volume of CDs from the Philips Records collection of Mozart’s music. Each winner also will receive a Mozart sampler disc and Compactotheque, an exclusive Phillips Classics guide to Mozart and the Mozart year.

The puzzle medley will be broadcast randomly during the first of the year, and all the year’s correct entries, winners ad non-winners will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of the complete 180-disc Mozart collection issues by Philips for the Mozart bicentennial.

The first monthly competition will be introduced on the air on Wednesday. Entries must be received by the close of business Jan. 21, to be eligible for the January prize. The first winner will be announced on Jan. 25. The other monthly contests will follow a similar schedule.

Goldsmith said, “Although I am not eligible, I hope that everyone else will have fun with this. This is not just for the Mozart buff – but for music lovers everywhere.”

Now before we write off 1990 as done and gone, let’s not forget New Year’s Eve. At 8 p.m. Monday, WVST will air and exclusive simulcast with WIPB Channel 49.

Live from Lincoln Center invites viewers to spend New Year’s Eve with the New York Philharmonic, Music Director Zubin Mehta and soprano June Anderson. A New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Gala is an appealing program that allows you to tune your TV to WIPB Channel 49 and WBST to enjoy the stereo sound of this musical delight.

Mehta and the Philharmonic will herald in the New Year with a program of works by Verdi, Johann Strauss Jr., von Suppe, and Meyerbeer.

Anderson, a favorite collaborator with the New York Philharmonic’s late Laureate Conductor, Leonard Bernstein, will be featured in selections by Bernstein as well as in arias from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Hugh Downs will host the broadcast, which takes place at the New York Philharmonic’s home, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincolns Center. The intermission feature will include conversations with Mehta and Anderson.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star (Page T-15)

Many savvy travelers have found they learn most about unfamiliar places by talking with the natives, especially about their holidays and celebrations.

At 4 p.m. today, Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie gives listeners an opportunity for such intimate discoveries with Season’s Greetings from Scotland. In this festive hour of music and conversation, Fiona and several guests share memories and favorite music from two highlights of the Scots calendar, Christmas and Hogmanay, the Scots New Year.

Joining Fiona around the microphone will be singer-songwriter and guitarist Archie Fisher, harper Alison Kinnaird, traditional Gaelic singer Christine Primrose and singer and multi-instrumentalist Dougie MacLean. IN this Musicians’ Requests show, Fiona presents her guests’ favorite holiday sounds and finds out how their holiday rituals have evolved through the years.

“The celebration of the holiday season has really changed in Scotland since the second World War,” Fiona remarked. “Our guests will be able to give us that sense of Christmas past and present.”

“Scotland is known for its raucous, sentimental celebration of New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay,” she adds. “We’ll extract a few tales of unforgettable Hogmanays from our guests!”

If they won’t tell themselves, their families might. Listeners can expect a few choice recollections from Dougie’s parents, Anne and Rob Ritchie. The show’s guests hail from many different parts of Scotland, so their experiences illustrate how traditions vary by region.

On this program, Alison plays the season harp music she most favors, some of which dates from the clarsach harp’s heyday during the 17th and 18th centuries. During that time, itinerant harpers toured the homes of the gentry, exchanging music for food and lodging.

Singer Christine Primrose, who performed with Alison in concerts throughout Britain and North America, grew up with unconventional ideas about Christmas. She was born on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, where the strict Free Church of Scotland frowned upon lavish celebrations of the season. Today Christine sings in her first language, Scots Gaelic, with a voice that often inspires listeners to write Thistle. In Season’s Greetings, Fiona offers selections from Christina’s first duo album with Alison.

Songwriter and singer Dougie MacLean, another guest on the holiday program and popular performer on Thistle, writes regularly about the importance of the land and rural culture. His parents, Dolly and Duncan, grew up and still live in rural Perthshire. During Season’s Greetings, the MacLean family recalls scenes from its rural Scottish Christmases. Dougie also conveys the new year spirit with Hogmanay fiddle tunes.

Zydeco Queen

At 5:30 p.m. tonight Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor interviews Queen Ida, one of the nations most popular stars of Zydeco, a unique musical blend created in Creole, black and Cajun communities in New Orleans.

Ida leads The Bon Temps Zydeco Band on vocals and button accordion, backed up by fiddle, triangle, guitar, washboard, bass and drums. The documentary features excerpts from one of the Bon Temps’ live performances. Queen Ida also reveals the highlights of her colorful career, including her job as a school bus driver and the Grammy award she recently won.

Next week, producer Greg Allen with his sound portrait, The Olymbites: Traditions in America, an aural journey into an extraordinary Greek-American community in Baltimore, Md.

Der Bingle

During the 1940s, Bing Crosby was the world’s best-known performer. His easy-going conversational singing style was revolutionary. Its mark on the music world rivaled that of Elvis Presley. But, while “Bing Crosby is credited for inventing American popular singing,” and National Public Radio’s Susan Stramberg, “since his death in 1977, he’s been largely overlooked.”

This holiday season, Stramberg revisits the music of the man who brought the world the ultimate Christmas song, White Christmas. Irving Berlin penned it for Crosby, who introduced the song in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn.

This NPR documentary, which features vintage recordings, rare interviews with Crosby and conversations with singer Mel Torme and others, airs on WBST-FM 92.1 at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star  (Page T-15)

The second half-century of Texaco-Metropolitan Opera live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts will begin with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 on WBST-FM 92.1.

The broadcast marks the 5th birthday of the Texaco-Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, which constitute the longest continuous national sponsorship of a radio program in broadcast history. It was on Dec. 6, 1940, that the very first Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcast was presented, and the opera that historic afternoon was Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

The cast for Saturday’s broadcast of La Traviata will feature three American singers in the major roles: Diana Sovierro as Violetta, Jerry Hadley as Alfredo Germont and Brian Schexnayder as his father, Giorgio Garmont. American conductor Rico Saccani will make his Met broadcast debut leading the performance. The announcer is Peter Allen.

To mark this 50th anniversary, WBST is offering a special 1990-1991 Metropolitan Opera broadcast schedule to the readers of The Muncie Star who read this column. All you need to do is write: WBST, Ball State University, Muncie IN 47306-0550 and ask for your free schedule.

Special Stuff

Last week I mentioned that WBST plans on airing about 40 special programs for the December holiday season. Get ready, because next week they will be listed in an easy-reference format.

Today, however, you’ll get a special preview of our holiday music specials that will air Dec. 11 to 25. During these weeks, WBST offers a variety of special programming.

Western Wind: A Celebration of Light, A Jazz Piano Christmas, Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special and An Acoustic Christmas: Steve Wariner and Friends will evoke reveries and reminiscences, from traditional and contemporary to regional and international.

The history and legend of contemporary religious celebrations are woven together with music in the Dec. 18 hour-long special, Western Wind: A Celebration of Light. The acclaimed Western Wind Vocal Ensemble’s unique repertoire includes music and songs representative of the spirituality and significance of the winter solstice, renaissance and Hanukkah.

America’s original art form is the focus of A Jazz Piano Christmas, a 1-hour Dec. 22 special featuring keyboard specialists Billy Taylor, George Shearing, Marian McPartland and other notables from the jazz world. A Jazz Piano Christmas will use the “let’s-take-it-easy” philosophy of its genre for high-energy celebration.

Two musical events that mark the season’s sacred mood are the production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Thomas Church, hosted by Dudley Moore, and the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special: Arise ans Set the Captive Free. These specials will be broadcast Dec. 22 and 24, respectively.

Messiah presents original instruments and a men’s and boy’s choir as specified by the 18th-century composer. The ensemble of soloists and instruments, exquisitely blended by Handel, is under the artistic direction of James Richman.

The St. Olaf Choir joins the St. Olaf Orchestra in the all-new musical event – the 1990 St. Olaf Christmas Special. The 90-minute concert features the world famous 400-voice massed choir and 100-member orchestra conducted by Anton Armstrong.

Dec. 23’s An Acoustic Christmas reaffirms the true American spirit with 2 hours of outstanding performances by some of Nashville’s finest musicians and greatest storytellers. Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Maura O’Connell and othres get together in the city where country and western sound began.

The Woman of Japan

At 5:30 tonight on Horizons, host Vertamae Grosvenor explores the world of the modern Japanese woman. While Japan advances as a world power, women in Japan are still struggling to break free from traditional roles, as seen in tonight’s features, “Women in Japan Speak Out.”

During the past 10 years, many Japanese women have been making changes in the office and at home. This program features women from many walks of life – all reflecting on Japan’s complex society from a feminine point of view.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
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.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
For The Muncie Star, page T-15

Every year hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants make the perilous trek across the U.S.-Mexican border, risking arrest, detention and the threat of abuse as they seek refuge and a new life in the north.

According to David Davis of Ball State University’s minority development, the immigration will have a radical impact on the structure of American society. He said that by the turn of the century English will be the second language of the majority of Californians. Added to that are projections that within the next century white Americans will become the new minority.

This week, WBST will devote a series of special reports to chronicling the flow of those immigrants into the United States, focusing on the effects of the 1986 Immigration Act, which was designed to solve the immigration debate once and for all.

The stories – which coincide with the fourth anniversary of IRCA becoming law – started Saturday and will continue Monday through next Saturday on Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

At 8 p.,. Saturday, Weekend Edition host Scott Simon takes listeners to the San Diego-Tijuana border, where the largest number of undocumented immigrants cross into North America from Mexico and Central America each day.

“We have wanted to do stories on the border for some time because who can cross and who cannot tells a great deal about how we define America,” Simon said. “By reporting it from the perspective of people who break a fence, dodge trucks, swim through raw sewage and risk assault and robbery from thugs to get here, we saw the relationship between the immigrants and the INS from a different vantage entirely.”

“We witnessed the tensions firsthand, and found there are no easy solutions to the border issue.” said Mandalit del Barco, who produced the Weekend Edition reports. “We kept hearing about how ironic it is that while the walls come tumbling down all over Europe, they’re being built up more and more between the U.S. and Mexico.

At 6 a.m. Monday, Morning Edition host Bob Edwards will begin to examine the ramifications of the passage of IRCA.

  • MONDAY – When IRCA was enacted 4 years ago, 3 million immigrants became eligible for amnesty. In this first Morning Edition piece, NPR reporter Celeste Wesson reports on where those people are today and what their new found legal status has meant to them.
  • TUESDAY – NPR’s Katie Davis reports from Mexico on “The push factor,” the economic conditions in Mexico that force many Central and South Americans across the border in search of better wages and living conditions in the north.
  • WEDNESDAY – NPR’s Isabel Alegria reports from San Francisco on whether or not IRCA has created a deep underclass of those still-undocumented immigrants who have fallen through America’s safety net.
  • THURSDAY – Celeste Wesson reports on how U.S. businesses have been effected by IRCA, which for the first time made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented workers.
  • Friday – NPR’s Paz Chohen interviews lawmakers, proponents and opponents of expanded immigration, in a report from the nation’s capital on the failure direction of U.S. immigration policy.

“Some have benefited from legalization,” said Wesson of IRCA ramifications, “but, for example, among farm workers legalization hasn’t translated into better working conditions and higher wages.” Wesson visits a north San Diego camp where farm workers – many of whom are documented – live in the woods, in shacks made of plastic scraps.

Wesson says that when the law was passed, employers geared up to face sudden employee shortages and the need to pay a lot more for workers.

Celebrating Copland

Wednesday is Aaron Copland Day at WBST. In honor of his 90th birthday, a special tribute is being paid to one of America’s most beloved composers.

Starting at 1 p.m. on A Copland Celebration: A Keyboard Tribute, pianist Claudia Stevens of the College of William and Mary in Virginia performs a program of piano works by and in tribute to Copland.

The concert also features the works of Virgil Thompson, Leonard Bernstein, David Diamond, Richard Bales, Sheila Silver and Claudia Stevens.

A Copland Celebration: A Concert Band Tribute continues the Copland extravaganza with the united States Coast Guard Band, which will perform original Copland works and transcriptions for band.

Scheduled highlights include a performance of A Lincoln Portrait narrated by Walter Cronkite and Emblems, Copland’s only pure band work.

Adventures in Good Music with Karl Haas adds to the tribute at 7 p.m. A Tribute to Aaron Copland underlines why the composer is considered the dean of American Music.

The birthday bash reaches its climax at 8 p.m. with A Concert in Celebration of Aaron Copland’s 90th Birthday. This is a live broadcast of Minnesota’s Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Bay, will perform Copland’s Music for the Theatre, Quiet Cry, Three Latin American Sketches and Appalachian Spring.

David Speakman is a communications intern for WBST.

Written for the Muncie Star (Page T-5, October 28, 1990)

For quite some time, WBST has been brewing a special Halloween treat for its Friends and listeners. Local performances are to be featured this Wednesday afternoon.

Music From the 1989-90 Ball State University Faculty Series will begin at 2 p.m. Rolf Legbrandt plays clarinet and Mitchell Andrews the piano for Castelnuovo-Tedwsco’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 128. Later in the half-hour program, George Wolf and Pia Sebastiani play saxophone and piano respectively on Fantasia by Villa-Lobos.

Our focus then turns to the eerie, yet musical. Ever since Bela Lugosi’s first performance of Count Dracula, vampires have been a mainstay of modern culture.

at 3:10 p.m. our Halloween Special presentation of Moonlight Sonata by Memerie Innerarity will be performed.

This is a recording of March’s premiere of Ball State University’s performance of the operetta featuring vampires. The recording was taken in WBST’s Studio B before the show’s first public performance in Muncie.

The story tells how one vampire gets revenge over an old enemy. Featured performers are Michael Jorgensen, Patricia Robertson, Andrea Thomas, Fritz Robertson and pianist Eri Nakagawa.

WOMEN OF ISRAEL

At 5 p.m. today, Horizons presents Daughters of Zion: Women in Israel. For his story, producer Adam Phillips travels to Israel, the land of Golda Meir, to see if “the perception of women’s equality in that country is truth or myth.”

The documentary illustrates how 3,000 years of Jewish tradition has created a confusing atmosphere for Israeli women by encouraging them to maintain child-bearing roles while remaining passive in public life and politics.

Phillips reports that in Israel, attitudes toward women and women’s attitudes about themselves are controversial. “Most everyone in the country has a firm opinion about the woman’s proper role at home, in the workplace, and Jewish ritual life. The conflicts come to a head when women want to read from the Torah Scroll at the holy Wailing Wall in Jerusalem,” he said.

Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor and Gwendolyn Glenn are co-producers of next Sunday’s Horizons documentary, Myrtle Beach: Parity in Paradise.

Their story focuses on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s highly profitable tourism business, the second largest industry in the state, and on the struggles of the area’s African American residents who are trying to gain economic parity within their seaside community.

Despite the millions of tourist dollars that pass through the area each year, Grosvenor and Glenn report that black residents along the 60-mile coastline of this lavish resort area have not received significant financial rewards or career opportunities.

RARE BELLINI

Saturday is Vincenzo Bellini’s birthday. The Best Seat in the House hosts John Meadows and Dick Ver Wiebe celebrate the 189th birthday of the composer.

Seldom recorded Bellini will air at 12:30 p.m. The program will feature unusual operatic recordings from Bellini’s repertoire.

(The Muncie Star – Page T-15)

By DAVID SPEAKMAN

One of the true pleasures of public radio is that it features special programming and takes risks that are cost-prohibitive on television or commercial radio.

Even steadfast public radio programs get into the act.

Saint Paul Sunday Morning will present an unusual and whimsical collaborative work entitled, Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear. The special program can be heard on WBST-FM 92.1 at 10 a.m. today.

Little Tricker recalls novelist Ken Kesey’s childhood and the Ozark fable his Grandma Smith used to tell him. Kesey narrates the fable with a musical accompaniment scored by composer Arthur Maddox, who grew up in the Ozarks.

Saint Paul Sunday Morning host Bill McGlaughlin conducts the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for this special performance, with Maddox at the piano. The score brings the animal characters to life, and follows them in their adventures. It promises to be America’s own Peter and the Wolf.

Ken Kesey is perhaps best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. Kesey – a onetime wrestling champion – won a scholarship to Stanford, where he studied fiction. His 1986 publication, Demon Box, spans a 20-year period of his writing, bringing together semi-biographical articles and fiction. This work inclused the story Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear.

Saint Paul Sunday Morning, the most widely broadcast classical music performance program in the country, features an inviting blend of talented guests, excellent performances and lively conversation.

Art With a Message

At 5:30 p.m. tonight, Horizons continues its look at minorities in America. Producer Elizabeth Perez-Luna presents “Latino Performing Artists: Art for Troubled Times.”

The documentary reveals how these artists are using traditional and non-traditional theatre, dance, music, multimedia elements and other expressions to create connections among art, society and politics.

“This is the first time in which we have Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Latin Americans talking about the similarities and differences in their approaches to art as rituals for troubled times and as a means to reflect their reality within a multicultural context.” Perez-Luna said.

The documentary was taped at a recent gathering at the Yellwo Spring Institute for Art and Society in Pennsylvania of Latino artists from the United States and Latin America to perform, exchange ideas and collaborate on new works.

A Final Tribute

The late Walter Davis Jr.’s last recording session is featured on this week’s Marion McPartland’s Piano Jazz at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Davis, who  played with Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie, joins McPartland to one of Davis’s main influences with their duet, Blue Monk.

On this special program, the great be-bop stylist also displays his unique sound with his own tune, Backgammon.

(The Muncie Star – Page T-15)

By DAVID SPEAKMAN

Classic Tales of doom and death are recounted in three magnificent ground-breaking works this month on NPR World of Opera, National Public Radio’s continuing series of operatic masterpieces from around the United States and the world.

NPR World of Opera has its season premiere on WBST at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. This trio for the Halloween season starts with the production of Philip Glass’s acclaimed The Fall of the House of Usher, based on the story by Edgar Allen Poe.

Minimalist composer Glass is one of the most prominent and controversial composers on the international music scene, and is known for revising traditional operatic writing, often incorporating high-tech video electronics into his productions.

Glass’s brooding, atmospheric music takes center stage in this production. David Trombley, Dwayne Croft and Sharon Baker sing the roles of the principal characters who lead listeners through Poe’s horror story about an ancestral curse and a premature burial.

The world premiere of Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus by Libby Larson has received wide critical acclaim. The opera is based on the haunting 19th-century novel by Mary Shelley. Libby Larson, regarded as one of America’s brightest young composers, created the work as an exploration of intellectual ambition, technological arrogance and isolation. All the music and vocal parts are electronically mixed.

The month concludes with The Flying Dutchman, the dark tale of a legendary voyager, doomed to roam the Earth for eternity until he can find a woman who is willing to faithful to him “until death.” The opera by Richard Wagner is heard in a production from the world-famous Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the venue Wagner built for his works.

Wagner was inspired to write the opera by a sailor’s tale he heard on board a ship on the North Sea in 1839. The work marked the first time Wagner used musical themes or “leitmotivs.” that now are so closely associated with his work. It was also the first time he used the orchestra more as a character itself than as an accompaniment.

Steve Curwood, host of NPR World of Opera, says, “Each of these operas reflects what I regard as opera’s gift – its magnificence as human symphony, with all the passion, cruelty and beauty of life itself.”

The Model Minority

Hard working parents and smart, obedient children who graduate from the best schools and become top professionals – this is the stereotype of Asian Americans, the so-called “model minority.”

“The Chinese American community abounds with examples that seem to bear out the stereotype, but this is only a partial truth,” says Helen Borten, producer of the first October documentary to air on Horizons, at 5:30 tonight on WBST.

Borton’s story is the first of five documentaries to profile various multicultural groups as they struggle for economic, political and social success at home and abroad.

In her story, “Chinese Americans” Climbing the Golden Mountain,” Borten reports from New York City on the success and the heartbreak of Chinese Americans as they pursue the American dream. Borten says, “School dropouts, youth gangs, garment industry sweatshops, cultural isolation and mental illness are also what many Chinese immigrants encounter after they come to America.”

In the next Horizons October documentary, airing at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14, producer Scott Schlegel spotlights the music of black women composers who struggle for recognition and acceptance in the male-dominated world of classical music.

In “Black Women Classical Composers,” Schlegel reports that getting classical music published is difficult for anyone, but it is especially hard for women. “There is a belief in the world of classical music publishing that women’s compositions are less deep, less emotionally powerful than men’s,” Schlegel says.

In the coming weeks: “Latino Performing Artists: Art for Troubled Times” and “Daughters of Zion: Women in Israel.”

Storytime

At 11:30 a.m. today The Sound of Writing features “Voice From the Outer Banks” by Richard Hill. This story is the tale of  a woman dead for 175 years who still manages to speak. Richard Hill tells this outlandish tale written by the daughter of Aaron Burr.

Ursula K. LeGuin, one of the most popular authors in the genre of speculative fiction, reads “Texts,” a vignette of a woman trying to escape the pretentious communications of today.

This text of an unnerving message tells of the woman, even alone and in silence, everything she sees seems to be at once of this world and another.