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.

In every election politicians on the local and national levels make it a point to discuss the treatment of veterans. Lawmakers and candidates on both sides of the aisle often highlight the challenges vets face like homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse, and promise to address the problems. 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, vets comprise 11% of the total homeless population in the United States. On any given night, there are more than 39,000 veterans who are homeless.

In 2015, it was “Oscars So White.”  But 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year for film artists of color.  In a recent essay in the Washington Post, film critic Ann Hornaday asks “Is the term, ‘black film’ obsolete?”

For our monthly Movie Mayhem show, Ann Hornaday joins Tom in the studio, along with Jed Dietz, the director of the Maryland Film Festival, to talk about movies like Moonlight, the critically acclaimed new coming-of-age film by Barry Jenkins.  Is it part of what some are calling a revolution in black cinema? 

The movie mavens will also be sizing up some of the many Oscar-worthy new films opening in area theaters this fall.

And with a nod to next Tuesday's presidential election, Ann and Jed discuss how Hollywood has portrayed US presidents over the years.  That's also going to be the focus of a film critics' panel, including Ann Hornaday, Arch Campbell and Bill Newcott, called "Inside Media: Hollywood's White House: the Top Ten Movie Presidents, at The Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, November 5 at 2:30pm.   For details and directions, click here.

justgrimes via flickr

Early voting in Maryland, which ends Thursday, has been setting a record pace. About 70% more Marylanders voted early this time, compared to 2012, and there are still more than three million registered voters in the state who are eligible to cast their ballots on Election Day next Tuesday.  Once again, Maryland's new voting system will be put to the ultimate test.  Its debut in last April’s primary elections was bumpy, especially in Baltimore, where reports of missing and miscounted ballots led the State Board of Elections to decertify the initial results, before re-certifying them again later on.  Broken ballot scanners, and a shortage of election judges also made voting difficult for many.

Today we’ll examine how Maryland’s new voting system is meeting the challenges the second time out.  We're joined in the studio this afternoon by the man who has been in charge of elections in Baltimore City for ten years.  Armstead Jones came under criticism, including calls for him to resign, after problems at the polls surfaced last spring. 

Nikki Baines Charlson is the Deputy State Administrator for Elections, the number two official in the agency that has overall responsibility for Maryland's statewide voting system.   She joins Tom on the phone from Annapolis.

Also joining the conversation in the studio is  John T. Willis. He is the former Maryland Secretary of State, and the executive in residence at the University of Baltimore School of Public & International. Affairs.  He has studied the history of Maryland elections, and he has trained election judges. 

Photo by Carol Rosegg

The classic fairy-tale of a young woman who's magically transformed from a chambermaid into a princess gets an attractive makeover in this new production of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. One of the most beloved of the duo's many legendary collaborations (including  OKLAHOMA!, Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific and The Sound of Music), the touring musical combines the story's iconic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball --  with some contemporary plot twists.  Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, a Thursday regular on Midday, caught the show at the Hippodrome, and joins Tom with her review.                                           

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella was scored by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and original book by Oscar Hammerstein II. Originally directed by Mark Brokaw and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, the tour is directed by Gina Rattan and choreographed by Lee Wilkins. Music adaptation and arrangements are by David Chase and music supervision is by Greg Anthony Rassen. Orchestrations are by Bill Elliott and are adapted from the original Broadway orchestrations by Danny Troob.

First written for television,  Cinderella aired in 1957, starring Julie Andrews. The show's long-anticipated Broadway debut finally happened in 2013.   

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella  continues at the Hippodrome in Baltimore through Sunday, November 6th.

Ray Sprenkle October 2016

Nov 2, 2016

On the October edition of Choral Arts Classics, Tom talks to composer and musicologist Ray Sprenkle about another great Requiem, the setting by Gabriel Faure's fellow Frenchman, Maurice Duruflé.

Style Magazine


Last month, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced sweeping proposals to reform the way police officers who are accused of misconduct are investigated and prosecuted.

During the 2015 Uprising following the death of Freddie Gray, State’s Attorney Mosby announced that she would be filing charges against six of the officers involved. Given the frustration in places like Ferguson, Missouri where charges were not filed against the officer responsible for the death of Michael Brown, Mosby’s announcement was widely credited for bringing an end to the unrest here in Baltimore. However, the trials that followed ended without any convictions.  

This past August, Baltimore County police shot and killed a 23-year old woman named Korryn Gaines. Police went to Ms. Gaines’ apartment to serve a failure-to-appear bench warrant and a warrant for her boyfriend, who fled the scene. Police say that after gaining access to the apartment they found Gaines with her son sitting on the floor pointing a “long gun” in their direction. Officers then barricaded themselves in the hallway and, according to an official statement, “made every effort to talk to the woman and encourage her to surrender peacefully.” These efforts included calling Ms. Gaines’ father to the scene to help to convince her to surrender. 

About six hours into the standoff police say Ms. Gaines pointed her gun at an officer and threatened to shoot. Police said that an fficer fired one shot and missed, prompting Ms. Gaines to fire her weapon twice. Her shots missed the officers. Police then fired three more times, killing Korryn Gaines. Her son was also shot in the melee by an officer. He did not sustain life threatening injuries.  In September, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Schellenberger announced that he would not file charges against the officers involved. Ms. Gaines’ family has a pending wrongful death lawsuit against Baltimore County and some of the officers involved in the shooting.  

Theresa Thompson Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a thought to ponder that some may find scary as we prepare to celebrate Halloween: The Baltimore City Council will surely be transformed after the election next week.

Six City Council incumbents decided not to run in the primary last April. Robert Curran, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector and Helen Holton are retiring for various reasons.  Nick Mosby and Carl Stokes chose to run for Mayor instead of for their council seats. James Kraft ran for Baltimore Circuit Court judge. Two other City Council incumbents, William “Pete” Welch in the 9th District and Warren Branch in the 13th, were unseated in the primary by fellow Democrats. That means that – no matter what happens on Election Day -- at least eight out of 14 seats on the council will be occupied by first time legislators.

What does that mean for the future of Charm City? Today, we bring you a Reporters’ Roundtable with three reporters who follow all things Baltimore very closely. Jayne Miller is an award winning investigative reporter for WBAL Television.  She is a "force of nature," according to the City Paper.  Luke Broadwater covers the city for the Baltimore Sun, and Kenneth Burns is the metro reporter covering Baltimore for WYPR. They joined host Tom Hall in the studio for a breakdown of the interesting council races across 14 Districts, and some prognostication as to how this large class of newbies will get along with veteran Council President Jack Young if he, too, wins reelection, which seems likely, and the rest of their Council colleagues.

Robert Kanigel

Oct 28, 2016

Tom talks with the author Robert Kanigel

Robert Kanigel

Oct 28, 2016

Tom talks with the author Robert Kanigel