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.

Johns Hopkins University

*This edition of Midday was shortened to accommodate NPR's special coverage of President Trump's press conference with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Genome editing, that is the ability to make additions, deletions, and alterations to the genome of a human or animal, is not a new. Scientists have been experimenting with it in labs for a while to better understand the way some diseases and disabilities work. But now a new report released yesterday from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine sets international guidelines for genome editing. New editing tools like CRISPR have opened up the doors for more lab and clinical research projects. The scientists behind the report hope their guidelines will serve as a roadmap to help other scientists avoid the ethical concerns associated with gene editing.

Office of The Mayor

Today a conversation with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh. Mayor Pugh took her post in December 2016 after a long career in Maryland politics, first as a Baltimore City Council member and later as a State Delegate, so she is no stranger to Baltimore’s old problems. 

To date, According to the Baltimore Sun, 45 people have been killed in the city this year. What can be done to assure that a homicide a day isn’t the new normal?   When Mayor Pugh was elected she campaigned on a platform that included improving education, now Baltimore City Public Schools may have to layoff 1,000 teachers and cut arts and enrichment programs due to a $130 million budget deficit. What role will the Mayor play in ensuring a quality education for the city's young people? 

Kira Horvath for Catholic Relief Services

The civil war in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II. Since the conflict began six years ago, nearly five million people have fled from Syria to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. More than six million others have been displaced from their homes, but are unable to get out of Syria. A million people have requested asylum in Europe.

The Obama Administration committed to placing 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US in 2016. Last month, President Trump tried to ban all travel to and from Syria indefinitely. That ban was overturned, at least for the moment, by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last Thursday night.

Today, a conversation about what is happening on the ground, and what we might be able to do to help the millions of people who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Tom's guests today in Studio A are all deeply involved in the effort to help refugees. Bill O'Keefe is the Vice President for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, which is based here in Baltimore. Linda Hartke is the CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, also based in Baltimore. Bill Frelick is the Director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC.

The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

David Simon needs no introduction in Baltimore, but a quick reminder for our far-flung listeners: David is an author, writer and producer of the acclaimed TV series about criminal justice in Baltimore, The Wire, and many other projects, including Treme, Show Me a Hero, and the upcoming HBO drama, The Deuce.

He joins Tom today in Studio A to talk about City of Immigrants: A Night of Support, an event that he has  organized in support of immigration and in opposition to the Trump Administration's proposed curbs on refugee admissions and travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Tonight’s event  at Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill will include, in addition to remarks by David Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, the activist DeRay Mckesson, City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and others, with music by singer/songwriter/actor Steve Earle. Proceeds from the event will be donated to The National Immigration Law Center, the Tahirih Justice Center, the International Rescue Committee and the ACLU of Maryland. Donations will be matched up to $100,000 by David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions.

The event  is sold out.  A small number of additional tickets be made available at 4 pm today.  If you can't get a ticket, don't despair.  The gathering of Baltimoreans "united against fear, nativism and the immigration ban" will be live-streamed on the Washington Post website. Here’s the link.  And, after the event, use the link to watch any time. 

Creative Common

Today marks the end of the third week of the Trump administration, and there was no let-up in the controversies the new president is generating.  A federal Appeals Court ruling last night upheld a lower court’s stay on the president’s executive order temporarily banning refugee admissions and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The President attacked the judges involved in that decision; his nominee to the Supreme Court called those attacks “demoralizing.”  Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the new Secretary of Education.  Her confirmation was historic, for all the wrong reasons.  Democrats convened at the Inner Harbor, struggling with a strategy to counter the Republicans’ dominance in DC.  And the city of Baltimore has begun the year more violently than in any year since the 1970s.

Helping us sort out the week's news on today's News Wrap:

White House correspondent Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post.  She joins Tom on the line from the Washington Post studios in DC; on the phone is John Fritze, Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, and with Tom in the studio is A. Adar Ayira, program manager at Associated Black Charities.

 

SNL

WYPR producers Bridget Armstrong and Jamyla Krempel join Tom for Tube Talk. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert are tackling President Trump and his administration one episode at a time. We'll talk about how the presidency is informing television. 

And, BET's New Edition biopic, which chronicles the ups and downs of the R&B boy band, is the highest rated program the network has aired in five years. We'll talk about what made the film successful and other shows on the horizon.

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us every Thursday with her reviews of regional stage productions. Today she's here to talk about Samsara, a new play by Lauren Yee now on stage at the Single Carrot Theatre that explores good intentions and unintended consequences, in a story that takes audiences from Northern California to India.  An American couple hoping to have a child engage a surrogate mother in India, whose pregnancy becomes an unexpectedly cathartic experience for her and the American parents. Their lives, and the life of the unborn child, intertwine in a karmic cycle of life, death and rebirth known to Hindus and Buddhists by the Sanskrit word, samsara.

Samsara continues at the Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, February 12th.

Lloyd Fox The Baltimore Sun

When the Department of Justice issued its report on the findings of their investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department last summer, it stated unequivocally that the Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or Federal Law.”

What followed after that report was a series of negotiations between the DOJ and Baltimore City Police that resulted in a consent decree that outlined the ways in which the police could address the problems identified in the report.

The consent decree was announced on January 12th, just a week before the Trump Administration assumed power. It called for, among other things, the creation of a Community Oversight Task Force, new procedures for stops, searches and arrests, new directives concerning use of force, and enhanced training for officers. A judge was appointed to approve and oversee the implementation of the consent decree.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar held a hearing at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. Judge Bredar must sign the consent decree in order for it to be in effect. He asked the parties involved, including Mayor Catherine Pugh, about various aspects of the deal, to determine whether or not it is feasible. Signing the consent decree is one thing. Repairing the damage done to the relationship between citizens and the police is quite another. But the consent decree is seen by many to be an important first step in fixing the distrust that exists between the police and in particular, communities of color here in Charm City.

Today, an update on where things stand so far in this lengthy and complex process. Tom's guests today in Studio A are Ganesha Martin,  Chief of the Baltimore Police Department of Justice Compliance and Accountability. Ray Kelly is a community organizer, an advocate, an activist and the Co-director of the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore. Kevin Rector covers, among other things, crime and the courts for the Baltimore Sun. We invited the Dept. of Justice to participate in our conversation today and they declined that invitation. We also reached out several times to the Fraternal Order of Police, who did not respond.

Lewis Wallace

What role do journalists play in the so called “post fact”era? It’s no secret that President Trump and his administration have a contentious relationship with the mainstream media. The president routinely calls outlets like CNN and the New York Times “fake news.” Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, famously invoked the validity of “alternative facts” when pressed about inaccurate statements made by the President about the size of the crowd at this year’s inauguration. Another senior advisor, Steven Bannon, called the media “the opposition party,” and urged it to keep its mouth shut.  

So, are we in a “post-fact” era, as some have suggested? Does journalistic objectivity and neutrality mean something different with this President, in this highly segmented media landscape? And how are the notions of objectivity and impartiality being shaped by a more diverse journalism pool?

Photos courtesy Edward Boches; Matt Carr

Last night, the New England Patriots won one of the most exciting Super Bowl championships in football history.  Will any of the ads that aired during the game go down in history?  Do Super Bowl ads even matter anymore? 

These days, a lot of advertising comes to us surreptitiously, often so heavily disguised that we don’t even know it is advertising, sponsored by a corporate entity.

Mara Einstein is Professor of Media Studies at Queen’s College in New York City.  Her latest book is called “Black Ops Advertising,” about why advertisers are becoming publishers, publishers are  becoming advertisers, and how these blurred lines are influencing not only what we spend and where we spend it, but even how we think about ourselves and about the issues shaping our society. 

Edward Boches is Professor of Advertising at Boston University's College of Communication.  He is a former partner at Mullen, a large ad firm, who has created several Super Bowl spots.   He is co-author, with Luke Sullivan, of the new fifth edition of “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads”, which updates the popular text with chapters on digital, social and emerging media.  Boches writes the popular industry blog Creativity Unbound and shares his insights and opinions regularly on Twitter.

 

Professor Einstein joins Tom on the line from Argot Studios in New York, and Professor Boches connects from the public radio studios of WGBH, Boston. They're with us for the hour to shed light on the dark art of advertising, and to take your calls, emails and tweets.

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