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.

Penguin Random House

Tom is joined by Nigerian author, essayist and activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She splits her time between her native country Nigeria and the US, where she has a home in Columbia, Maryland. She's won several prestigious awards, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She's headlining the 2017 Baltimore CityLit Festival later this month. That’s an annual event sponsored by the CityLit Project, an organization that advances the cause of all things literary here in Maryland.

 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes with tremendous power and grace. Her prose is unshakably grounded on a fundament of authority, compassion, and an unquenchable sense of wonder. She is the author of three novels: Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah. She published a short story collection in 2009 called The Thing Around Your Neck, and a TED Talk she gave in December of 2012 was published as a book, called We Should All be Feminists. Her latest book was published last month, and it takes up similar issues:  it’s called Dear Ijeawele,or a Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions.  

US News and World Report

The Trump Administration and the Republican leadership in Congress are still vowing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but as of now, Obamacare remains the law of the land.

With growing numbers of Americans speaking out in support for all or parts of Obama’s signature legislation, what lies ahead? 

How healthy is the ACA, and what changes might be in store for the tens of millions of Americans who depend on it?

Joining Tom to discuss the status and future of the Affordable Care Act are three experts on the ACA and national health policy: Julie Rovner, the chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News and a former health policy reporter for NPR;  Professor Brad Herring, a health economist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Andrew Ratner, Director of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange, the agency that runs the state's health insurance marketplace.  

We also take your tweets, calls, and emails.

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We begin with State Senator Jim Rosapepe (D-MD 21st District), with his take on why lawmakers in Annapolis spent this year’s session with one eye on Capitol Hill. 

Then, the Midday News Wrap panelists join Tom to discuss the biggest stories of the week. Yesterday, President Trump dropped the "mother of all bombs" on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, this comes after the President launched a targeted airstrike in Syria in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad alleged use of chemical weapons. 

And, it's the video seen across the country; the footage of a 69-year old man being forcibly and violently removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight has caused a pr nightmare for the airline. Dr. David Dao's lawyer says he suffered a concussion and broken nose in the incident and lost two teeth, he plans to file a lawsuit. How did the incident escalate to violence and can United bounce back?

Photos by Sigrid Estrada

In this week when Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter, it’s another installment of Living Questions, our monthly series in which we explore the role of religion in the public sphere.

Today: the thorny issue of anti-Judaism in some of the great works of Christian art, with two writers for whom the famed 18th-century German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, is a central focus.   

Lauren Belfer is a novelist.  Her latest book, And After the Fire, follows the journey of a Bach cantata as it changes hands over the course of two hundred years.

The music scholar Michael Marissen has written extensively about the religious and often anti-Jewish sentiments in the texts that Bach chooses to set to his glorious music.

His latest book is called Bach and God.   Marissen also explored this topic in a monograph he co-wrote in 2005 with Tom Hall and former ICJS executive director Christopher Leighton, called The Bach Passions in Our Time: Contending with the Legacy of Antisemitism.  

Confronting the legacy of anti-Semitism in the arts, on this edition of Living Questions, a collaborative production of WYPR and the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS).

Photo by Glenn Ricci

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom each Thursday with her impressions of the region's latest stagecraft,  this week reviews what Submersive Productions likes to call its "immersive" new offering at Baltimore's historic Peale Center, called H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum Presents the Treasures of New Galapagos and Astonishing Acquisitions from the Perisphere.

Like previous excursions by Submersive Productions, H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum, based on a concept by Lisa Stoessel, engages the audience in a non-traditional theatrical setting. It encourages playgoers to explore the former Peale Museum's three stories of interconnected rooms, each not only filled with art, curios and exhibition-style display cases, but also peopled with live actors and puppets.

The titular H.T. Darling, played by mustachioed Sarah Olmstead Thomas, is a well-to-do explorer who has just returned from an expedition to a fanciful region of outer space called the Perisphere, and an alien planet he's named New Galapagos.  Darling shares the artifacts he's brought back with him in his Incredible Musaeum, where each audience member chooses his or her own path through the rooms, and through the evening's strange and cleverly organized events.

H. T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum is directed by Lisi Stoessel, Susan Stroupe and Glenn Ricci.  Mr. Ricci is also Submersive Productions' co-artistic director, with Ursula Marcum.

The cast also includes Josh Aterovis (Clayton, a museum guard),  Francisco Benavides (The Groundskeeper), Caitlin Bouxsein (a museum guard), David Brasington (Carol, a curator), E’Tona Ford (a museum guard), Emily Hall (shopkeeper-shared role), Brad Norris (Cedric), Martha Robichaud (shopkeeper-shared role), Trustina Sabah (Aku Maxilla, “humanoid specimen”), Lisi Stoessel (Maude, a curator),  and Alex Vernon (Dr. Percy Warner).  

Ursula Marcum and Jess Rassp are the play's puppeteers.

H. T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum is playing at the historic Peale Center, where its run has been extended through Sunday, May 14.  Ticket and showtime information here.

Maryland GovPics

Nearly 2,700 bills were introduced in this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly, which came to a close on Monday night. Paid sick leave is in. Fracking is out. Ethics laws for lawmakers were juiced-up, as a long time member is indicted on fraud charges. There was a package of bills to address the opioid epidemic, and a measure that could lead to punishment for drug manufacturers who hike prices unreasonably. Gov. Larry Hogan reached a compromise on a transportation bill, and legislators found a way to allocate additional help to local school jurisdictions, including Baltimore. When asked to assess the third General Assembly since being elected in 2014, the Governor told reporters,“I’m not sure how it could have been any better."

Last night the Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 437th annual session, passing hundreds of bills in the final hours of Sine Die, as the last day is known. Governor Larry Hogan was generally pleased with the session, but promised to veto a paid sick leave bill. Governor Hogan proposed a bill that would have required businesses that employ 50 or more workers in a single location to provide sick leave. Democrats rejected that bill, in favor of a bill that requires businesses with 15 or more full-time employees to provide employees the opportunity to earn at least 5 sick days a year.  

Tom speaks with House Minority Leader Nic Kipke who represents Anne Arundel County in the Maryland House of Delegates. 

AP Photo

The Consent Decree between the city of Baltimore, the Baltimore Police Department and the Department of Justice was the result of a damning report in August 2016 that described a pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by Baltimore police, which has disproportionately affected the city's communities of color.   

When Judge James Bredar signed the Consent Decree this past Friday (April 7), it became an order of the court.

So now, what’s next?  What will court oversight of the police department look like?  How will the Trump Justice Department be involved with an agreement reached during the waning days of the Obama administration?  And if the police department is committed to reform on its own, why is a consent decree necessary?

Joining Tom to address these questions are four people who've been closely following the evolution of Baltimore's Consent Decree over the past two years:

Monique Dixon is Deputy Director of Policy for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund;

David Rocah is the Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland;

Bishop Douglas Miles is Pastor of the Koinonia Baptist Church and Co-Chair Emeritus of BUILD, Baltimorians United In Leadership Development;

and Kevin Rector covers the courts and crime for the Baltimore Sun. 

Photo montage courtesy Daily Express

It's the Midday News Wrap, our Friday focus on the week's top local, national and international news stories, which certainly came in a cascade this week.  Our special guest and our panel of news analysts help us sort them all out:

After promising an “America First” foreign policy, President Trump last night ordered a cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase, in response to President Bashir Al-Assad’s latest use of chemical weapons.

Steve Bannon is out as a member of the NSC's inner circle.  Devin Nunes is out, at least temporarily, as the Republican's lead investigator on the House Intelligence Committee looking into Russian meddling in the US election.  

Also out: a 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court nominees.

In the U.S. for meetings with Mr. Trump were the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and China.  And the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is in, it seems, on just about everything.   

Tom begins the show today with Senator Chris Van Hollen, who won the seat vacated by Barbara Mikulski last year.  Then, Tom is joined by Domenico Montanaro, lead editor for politics at NPR and Luke Broadwater, reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

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It's Movie Mayhem with Jed Dietz, Director of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post. They join Tom to give their recommendations for what to see in the theaters this weekend. The live action remake of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson is a hit. Ghost in the Shell, not so much. Paramount blames the flop on the controversy sparked by their decision to cast white actress Scarlett Johansson to play the film's lead character. In the Japanese anime comic the book is based on, the character is Japanese.

Plus, our movie mavens talk about how young film directors are using horror movies to make a name for themselves in Hollywood. How are films like Get Out and Raw pushing the barriers of the genre? Plus, the panel talks with listeners about their favorite slasher flicks and monster movies. 

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