Tom Hall

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

Tom has been a dynamic force in Maryland since 1982, as a broadcaster, performer, lecturer, writer, and educator. Tom was named "Best Radio Personality" by the City Paper in 2009, and in 2006, he was named "Best New Journalist" by the Maryland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  Tom began his WYPR career as a co-host of Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  Also in 2006, he won an Emmy Award for his television broadcast of Christmas with Choral Arts on WMAR Television.  As the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, he has collaborated with many of Maryland's leading arts organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony, the Walters Art Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. For many years, he appeared regularly as a guest conductor throughout the U.S and in Europe, and he has been invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations in Maryland and throughout the United States.

Tom has published articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, and many professional music journals; he has served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, and he has lectured and taught courses at the Peabody Conservatory, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Baltimore, and Morgan State University. He is a former board member and former chair of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. Tom lives in Baltimore with his wife, Linell Smith.

On November 5th, 1605, a group of radicals placed explosives beneath the House of Lords in London in order to kill the British king, James I.  Their scheme, which came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot, failed because the bombs never went off. The man tasked with guarding the explosives, Guy Fawkes, was arrested, and Londoners celebrated the survival of their king by lighting bonfires throughout the city.

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated to this day with ceremonial bonfires and the ritual burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes.  WYPR's Nathan Sterner tells us about his family's unusual observance of this centuries-old holiday.  

Fern Shen - Baltimore Brew

Tom talks with investigative reporter Mark Reutter from Baltimore Brew -- an on-line news source that focuses on local issues -- in the first of a series of occasional conversations with Brew reporters here on  Maryland Morning that we're calling The Accountability Index.  Much of Brew’s coverage has to do with holding local and state officials accountable for a variety of taxpayer expenditures, and our hope is to zero in on certain projects, and explore how public funds are being spent; to find out, simply, if we’re getting our money’s worth. Today, Tom and Mark talk about a couple of controversial Baltimore city road projects.

Movies Preview

Nov 6, 2015


Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post and Jed Dietz, director of the Maryland Film Festival stop by to share their rundown of must-see movies this summer.

Below is a list of films they discussed in their interview with Tom Hall.

  • Spotlight 
  • Truth
  • The Assassin 
  • Brooklyn 
  • Room
  • Suffragette 
  • Our Brand Is Crisis

Duo Amal

The piano duet Duo Amal includes two hugely talented young classical pianists who have been heralded as among the top pianists of their generation.  Bishara Haroni and Yaron Kohlberg have toured the world, and Friday night, they’ll be sharing their artistry at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts in Owings Mills.  But as with most of their concerts, musical artistry won’t be the only thing they’ll be sharing.    They’ll also be sharing hope.  Bishara Haroni is Palestinian.  Yaron Kohlberg is Israeli.  With tensions in Israel and the occupied territories as high as they have been in years, and with talk of another Intifada, the fact that two artists from opposite sides of the conflict are choosing to perform together is noteworthy on its face.  But as important as their collaboration may be as a symbol of hope for peace in the Middle East, let’s be clear:  these guys can play.  

Amy Davis

Tom begins today with a look at the challenges facing immigrant students at Patterson High School in East Baltimore, where one third of the student body is foreign-born. Many of them have fled war, urban violence and oppression.

Tom is joined by journalist Liz Bowie, who profiles some of these remarkable young people in her Baltimore Sun series called Unsettled Journeys, and Margot Harris, who works with the immigrant students as head of the English for Speakers of Other Languages program at Patterson.

Fanon Hill

The Youth Resiliency Institute works with African American children and adults, primarily in Cherry Hill and Albemarle Square. One of its programs is called The Journey Project, which promotes family engagement to help kids improve their performance in school.   The Journey Project also sponsors an African Family Drumming Group.  Cherry Hill residents and drumming group members, Jerry Mayo and his 10-year-old son, join host Tom Hall in the studio with acclaimed drummer and Journey Project teacher Mosiah Saleen, and Fanon Hill, the Institute's co-founder and executive director.  Yes, there is drumming!

You can catch a performance by the Journey Project African Family Drumming Group on Monday, November 9  at 4PM in City Hall. 

Andrea Pippins is a designer and illustrator who teaches design at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and writes a blog called Fly Girl. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about her latest project: a coloring book for grown-ups called I Love My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos, being published this week.  Pippins will be presenting her book and signing copies at a MICA-hosted launch November 12th at 6:00 pm. 

Pedro Ribeiro Simões // Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday was the first day of the 3-month Fall Open Enrollment period for the estimated 300,000 Marylanders who still have no health insurance. Despite a disastrous online debut in 2013, The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange functioned well during the Spring 2015 enrollment period. And the exchange’s executive director, Carolyn Quattrocki, told Maryland Morning producer Rob Sivak Friday that the agency has already begun fixing many of the problems identified by the auditors.

While Maryland gears up to enroll tens of thousands more people into health insurance plans, there are many individuals, in Baltimore and all across the state, who can’t afford private health insurance. They’re the poorest of the poor: the homeless. Providing health coverage and medical care to this underserved and often hard-to-reach population is the mission of Tom's guest this morning. Kevin Lindamood is president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless, a national network of non profit organizations that’s been doing this work since 1985.

Center Stage

Center Stage is about to undergo a physical transformation. Later this week, the theater will announce specifics about its plan to renovate its Calvert Street home. Many theater fans will tell you that the transformation at Center Stage began in 2011, when Kwame Kwei Armah was appointed the theater’s Artistic Director. His initiatives like the My America Project, and Third Spaces; the Raisin Cycle or his original musical based on the life of Bob Marley are examples of how he has tried to expand the boundaries of what a theater company can be; how it connects to our community, and how it fits into the world at large.

Before the construction begins on the building, Tom thought it would be good to check in with Kwame Kwei Armah, and get a sense of what he’s looking to do as Center Stage enters this new era in its storied history.

Laura Gardiner

The Everyman Theater and Center Stage may be Baltimore’s biggest theaters, but they are by no means the only places where interesting theater happens. The Charm City Fringe Festival starts on Sunday.

The launch party takes place Thursday night at 7:00 at Joe Squared in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Zachary Michel,  co-founder and President of the Charm City Fringe Festival, joins Tom in the studio.