Tom Hall | WYPR

Tom Hall

Host - Midday, Choral Arts Classics, In The Bromo and What Are You Reading

After 10 years as the Culture Editor and then host of Maryland Morning, Tom became the host of Midday in September, 2016.  In his 35th and final season as the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Tom Hall is also a well-known performer, teacher, lecturer, and writer.  He is invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations, including the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the College Endowment Association, the Baltimore Broadcaster’s Coalition, The Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, and the Johns Hopkins Community Conversations Series.  He has moderated panels and given presentations at the Baltimore City Lit Festival, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the University of Maryland, and MICA.  He has also moderated Mayoral Debates panels at Light City in Baltimore, and at the Stevenson University Speakers Series.

In 2006, Tom received an Emmy Award for Christmas with Choral Arts, which is broadcast annually on WMAR television, the ABC affiliate in Maryland, and he has been a guest co-host of Maryland Public Television’s Art Works.  In 2007, he was named “Best New Broadcast Journalist” by the Maryland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  In 2009, the Baltimore City Paper named him “Best Local Radio Personality,” an award he was also given in the 2016 Baltimore Magazine Reader’s Poll.

In addition to his more than three decades of performing with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, he has been engaged as a guest conductor with choruses and orchestras throughout the United States and in Europe.  In 2014, he was named a Director Laureate of Chorus America, and he was awarded the American Prize in Conducting.  He has been invited to serve on the faculty of conducting workshops and master classes produced by Chorus America with the Chicago Symphony and Minnesota’s Vocal Essence; he developed the popular "Scripture and Song" series at Baltimore’s Beth Am Synagogue with the biblical scholar Noam Zion, and he has been an Artist in Residence at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Temple University, and Syracuse University.

Tom was the Director of Choral Activities at Goucher College for 31 years, and he has lectured and taught courses at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Baltimore, Towson University, Morgan State University, and the Johns Hopkins University.  He appears each year as the moderator of the Rosenberg Distinguished Artist Recital Series at Goucher College, and he has given pre-concert lectures for, among others, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Reading Symphony Orchestra.

His publications include articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, Historical Performance Magazine, the Choral Journal, the American Choral Review, Voice Magazine, the International Choral Bulletin, and the SIDIC Review, an international journal which promotes understanding between Jews and Christians.

Tom Hall lives in Baltimore, with his wife, Linell Smith.  Their daughter, Miranda, is a graduate student in the Yale School of Drama.

Douglas McGrath

Jan 20, 2017

Tom talks with Douglas McGrath, the writer of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, at the Hippodrome Theater January 24-29, 2017.

Hachette Book Group

Today, the final conversation in our series examining the legacy of President Barack Obama.  How have young people, gay people, women, veterans, workers and others fared during a presidential tenure that was marked by implacable partisanship?  Will any of Obama’s initiatives in health care, immigration and climate change survive an incoming administration whose party now controls both the executive and the legislative branches?

Tom puts those questions to two astute political observers:  Michael Days is the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News.  His new book is called Obama’s Legacy:  What He Accomplished as President;  and  Liz Copeland, the founder and President of the Urban Conservative Project.

Thursdays mean theater on Midday, so J. Wynn Rousuck is back with her weekly review of a local production. Today, she’s talking about The Call of the Wild , master storyteller Charlie Bethel’s new solo adaptation of Jack London’s classic 20th century novel, now in performance at Theatre Project in Baltimore.  An audience favorite and an experienced theater artist both on stage and off, Bethel brings new life to the classic American tale. 

Nina Subin

This week, we are taking a look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama. Tom is joined by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a searing provocateur whose unstinting critique of the historic nature of Obama’s tenure includes what he considers to be the missed opportunities to advance the cause of racial equality. One of Dyson’s chief criticisms is the President’s reluctance to hold white people at least partially responsible for black suffering.  

In his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A  Sermon to White America, Dyson argues that the responsibility lies not just with uninformed bigots, but with people who may consider themselves enlightened and fair-minded, but who can’t accept the truth of racial history.   Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of 18 other books, including The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

Flickr/Creative Commons

Today, we continue our week-long look at the Obama years and consider the legacy of the 44th president as he leaves office.  Tom's guests in Studio A today are an historian and a journalist who have closely observed presidents for many years, and who can compare and contrast Mr. Obama's style and impact with some of his presidential predecessors. 

Historian Taylor Branch is perhaps best known for his landmark trilogy about the civil rights era, America in the King Years, the first volume of which, Parting the Waters, 1954-63, won Branch the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1989.  He is also the author of the 2009 memoir, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, which chronicles his eight-year project to gather a sitting president’s comprehensive oral history on tape.

Journalist Michael Fletcher also joins Tom in  Studio A. He is a senior writer at The Undefeated, ESPN’s online journal exploring the intersection of race, culture and sports.  Before joining The Undefeated, Fletcher was a national economics reporter for The Washington Post. Before that, he covered the Obama administration and the Bush White House including Iraq war policy, efforts to restructure Social Security, and presidential trips around the globe.

Fletcher spent 13 years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun before joining The Washington Post  in 1996.

He is co-author, with Kevin Merida, of the 2007 biography, Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas. 

In the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump we’re discussing the legacy of President Barack Obama. Sheri Parks and E.R Shipp join Tom to review some of President Obama’s most poignant moments. How has the president used empathy to shape conversations around contentious issues like gun control, race, and policing?

Plus, an exploration of First Lady Michelle Obama's time in the White House.

Dr. Sheri Parks is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

E.R. Shipp is a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator, columnist for the Baltimore Sun and Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University.

Globe Pequot

We begin today's show with an update on the Consent Decree, signed Thursday between Baltimore City and the U.S. Department of Justice,  from WYPR Metro Reporter Kenny Burns, who tells us what the agreement to reform the Baltimore Police Department actually requires and what it will mean for policing policies and practices going forward. 

photos courtesy DeRay Mckesson; Ezra Levin

In the weeks since President-elect Donald Trump’s electoral college victory, supporters of his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton, have been wondering how they can leverage her historic, nearly 3-million vote plurality in the popular vote to resist the Trump Administration and the far-right agenda they believe Mr. Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress will pursue.  For many liberals and progressives in America, the election outcome is sparking new interest in grass-roots organizing and political activism. Today we’re going to explore the emerging anti-Trump movement with two activists who know a thing or two about harnessing citizen power: DeRay Mckesson, a Baltimore public school official who’s been one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Ezra Levin, co-author of a new online ”field guide” for anti-Trump activism called Indivisible.  They also take your calls, emails and tweets during the segment.

Photo by Tom Lauer

Midday’s theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns for her weekly review of a local stage production. This week, she discusses the Vagabond Players’ new rendition of The Complete History of America (abridged), written by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor and directed by Howard Berkowitz. Starring Fred Fletcher-Jackson, Sean Kelly, and William B. Meister, The Complete History condenses 600 years of American history into 90 minutes of outrageous satire.

The Complete History of America (abridged) runs through February 5th at Vagabond Theatre in Fell’s Point. 

Seth Wenig/AP

(Today's show is abbreviated because President-elect Donald Trump's press conference ran past Midday's usual noon start time.)

Yesterday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials showed President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama a document which claims, without proof, that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

Online news journal BuzzFeed is caught in a storm of controversy after it posted the previously unpublished 35-page dossier, a collection of reports compiled over a period of months by a respected private British intelligence service as "opposition research" for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's American political rivals. The dossier, reportedly well-known for months to US investigative journalists and American intelligence agencies, contains unverified allegations about ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. It also contains salacious details of compromising activities in which Mr. Trump allegedly engaged, which Russian operatives purportedly could use to blackmail the U.S. President-elect. 

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