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A Light for Bleak Midwinter

Good morning!

This weekend, I was on a video call with my family, who asked, "What time does the sun set today?"

"Probably 4:30," I said, and then checked my weather app, only to discover that the sun would actually set at 4:12pm. This is the part of winter I like the least — each day a little darker than the one that came before. It's no wonder, then, that so many of our winter holidays are celebrations of light. It's even less of a wonder that those celebrations, lit by flickering candles or brightly-colored bulbs, are also times of gathering and community, and most importantly for this newsletter, of song.

So many of my glowing holiday memories center around music: caroling parties, with friends and family crowded around a piano; outings to the Holiday Pops, or to A Christmas Celtic Sojourn; evenings curled up at home with a good book and a mug of something warm, a Nat King Cole CD playing in the other room. In these dark and cold midwinter days, music keeps us warm — or, at risk of sounding corny as all get-out, at least it warms our hearts.

With that in mind, it's high time to turn on some holiday tunes! You can find all of our holiday music programming here, including our three 24/7 holiday music streams: Heavenly Holiday Classics, Perfect Holiday Party Soundtrack, and Ultimate Holiday Classical Mix. A neat trick: you can play the holiday streams on your smart speaker, too! Here's how.

What else is happening at CRB? Read on!


Get into the holiday spirit by joining GBH Music for a festive evening, live from the GBH Studios in Brighton on December 15!


  • In an encore broadcast from the 2023 Tanglewood season, Anna Rakitina conducts the BSO in Prokofiev's Suite from "Romeo and Juliet," as well as Ellen Reid's "When the World as You've Known It Doesn't Exist," and Joshua Bell is the soloist in Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1.


  • On WCRB In Concert with Rockport Music, the Israeli Chamber Project performs vibrant chamber works by Mozart, Martinů, and Clarke, the Aizuri Quartet traverses one of Beethoven's energetic early works, and pianist Piers Lane plays hypnotic Nocturnes by Chopin, all at the beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center on Cape Ann, on demand.


  • On The Bach Hour, Shaham's decades of experience - both musical and otherwise - inform a rich interpretation of Bach's solo violin works, illuminated through both performance and conversation.
  • On The Bach Hour, Philippe Pierlot leads Collegium Vocale Gent and the Ricercar Consort in music that begins in the wonder of the cosmos and ends in quiet, individual commitment.


The Note is always free, but this week, it's even freer — we're sharing it online so you can share it with your friends! If you've read this far, first of all, thank you; second of all, share this link on social media so your friends know they can subscribe here.

Have a great week! I'll talk to you soon.
Kendall Todd