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.

Princeton, Lester Spence

People across the country are trying to make sense of last week's shooting by the police of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful rally. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, who is African-American, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge after police say they received an anonymous call about an unidentified man with a gun outside of a convenience store. Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two officers. The officers can be seen in a video, taken by a bystander, on top of Sterling before shots were fired. Both officers are white. Louisiana is an open carry state and police say Sterling had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say Sterling never reached for the gun during the encounter. 

On Wednesday, Philando Castile, who is also African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. According to Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, Castile was reaching for his wallet and disclosed to the officer that he had a pistol on him he was licensed to carry. Reynolds says the officer then said, ‘don’t move' and as Castile was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm. Reynolds live streamed a video of the immediate aftermath for 10 minutes. When the video starts, you can see Castile in the driver seat, his shirt covered in blood, with the officer's gun still pointed at him.

Teresa Castracane

The Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers, has found new  life in the forests of Ellicott City. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company puts a fresh spin on the classic tale of runaway D'Artagnan as he ventures through 17th century France with the legendary three musketeers of the King's court: Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in-studio with her review of the live-action outdoor performance.  

And she waxes poetic about how the experience was, truly, tempest-tossed by the vagaries of weather.

Maryland.gov

We continue our Focus on the Counties series with Howard County executive Alan Kittleman, In 2014, he won election as a Republican in a place where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. Howard County is diverse and multi-cultural, and it’s one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country. As the town of Columbia prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, will fewer people be able to afford to live there? Can Columbia continue to be a model for sustainable, diverse communities nationwide? Alan Kittleman on what’s next for Baltimore’s neighbor to the south. 

Then, from Howard County to The Bridges of Madison County. Theater Critic J.Wynn Rousuck joins Tom to talk about the musical production of the Kleenex classic at the Kennedy Center.   

Maryland.gov

In another installment of Focus on the Counties, Tom speaks with Howard County executive Allan Kittleman

Kittleman was elected in 2014, before that he represented the 9th District in the Maryland Senate for 10 years. 

Over the last 15 years, Howard County’s population has grown by 26 percent. Kittleman discusses how the county is addressing transit and education concerns brought on by the influx of people. He also talks about new business and affordable housing initiatives being rolled out in Columbia. 

Kittleman, who is a Republican,  weighs in on the future of the Republican party, why he won't attend the Convention this time around, and his decision  not to endorse Donald Trump. 

MATTHEW MURPHY

The Tony Award-winning musical production of The Bridges of Madison County is now playing at The Kennedy Center. 

The 1992 book of the same name spent three years on the New York Times best-seller list and was made into a movie in 1995 starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Bridges tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her whirlwind, forbidden romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. Composer Jason Robert Brown won a Tony Award in 2014 for the musical’s original score.  Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in-studio to give her take on The Bridges of Madison County.

ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION. BALTIMORE'S PROMISE

Baltimore‘s Promise is a consortium of civic leaders from government, philanthropy, business, education, and religious institutions who are trying to address the multiple challenges faced by many children in the city of Baltimore.

There is no shortage of well-meaning people and programs aimed at improving outcomes for kids. But what programs and strategies best meet the needs of a city where a quarter of children live below the poverty line?

Patrick McCarthy is co-chair of Baltimore’s Promise and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Tomi Hiers is the Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise. They both join Tom in-studio to discuss the best ways to improve the journey on what’s been coined the “cradle to career continuum.”

THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

Kathleen Isaacs' new book, Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers (published by The American Library Association), recommends books to parents and educators seeking intriguing, age-appropriate reading for children. Isaacs offers 300 book recommendations that are meant to challenge, but not overwhelm, children aged 4-10. The book offerings range in topics from non-fiction and short stories to picture books and mythology.

Baltimore City Council

Today is the first day of the new fiscal year for the City of Baltimore. The City Council beat their deadline to approve a budget by 10 days this year, but not without considerable acrimony. City Council president Jack Young and Budget Committee Chairwoman Helen Holton threatened to shut down city government if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake didn’t restore funding for youth programs. Helen Holton (District 8) joins me, along with Councilman Brandon Scott (District 2) to talk about the Council, the Mayor and the budget.

Plus, movie mavens, Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, offer some alternatives to the big Hollywood blockbusters that are unleashed every season around the fourth of July.  

Baltimore City Council

The new fiscal year in Baltimore City begins today. After weeks of contention with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the City Council voted to approve the budget on June 20th. 

Council members, including the City Council president Jack Young and Helen Holton, who represents the 8th district and chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee, threatened to shut down the city government by not approving the budget if $4.2 million for after-school programs was not restored in the budget. While the mayor eventually decided to put the money back, funding cuts had to made in areas of infrastructure, anti-litter programs and to the Enoch Pratt Library.

Brandon Scott, who represents the District 2 on the council, and Helen Holton join Tom in-studio to discuss the budget approval process and the city council’s collaboration with the mayor. 

Photo by David Gallagher, Creative Commons

July brings a wave of summer blockbuster releases from Hollywood and independent filmmakers, and area movie theaters are humming with big crowds taking in the explosive action, the romance, the intrigue, the silliness and the special effects – and of course, the popcorn and air conditioning.  But if all that showbiz spectacle doesn’t appeal, there’s a great alternative: a slew of new documentaries: true (or mostly true) stories compellingly told, whose subjects range from turn-of-the-century medical charlatans and competitive ticklers to visionary television producers and disgraced politicians. 

This morning, for our first-Friday-of-the-month Movie Mayhem segment, Tom’s joined in the studio by our favorite movie mavens: Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival.  They talk about the many superb documentaries being released this summer: some at the recent American Film Institute’s AFI Docs Festival in DC, others that are in theaters now or coming soon.  They focus on a few of the best new docs:  Nuts (and director Penny Lane's 2013 doc, Our Nixon); Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You; Kate Plays Christine; Tickled; Life Animated; and Weiner. There's also a nod to Dheepan, the dramatic tale of a Sri Lankan immigrant struggling to survive in France, and winner of the Palme D'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

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