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.

Michelle Singletary

It’s not unusual for the election of a new president to cause uncertainty in the stock market. On election night when it became clear that Donald Trump would win the presidency markets dropped sharply, but they have bounced back to record highs. This morning, the Dow Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time in history.  That’s good news for investors but some analysts worry that the deregulation, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a substitute, or possible cuts to programs like Medicare could send the economy into a tumble.  

 So, what does all of this mean to individual investors who are saving to buy a house, or paying off student loans, or saving for a child’s education, or planning for retirement? Michelle Singletary joins Tom  to give us some tips on what we should be doing to manage our money during the Trump administration. Here's a hint: a lot of it is stuff you should have already been doing. Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column “The Color of Money” for the Washington Post. She’s the author of three books including The 21 Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom

Johns Hopkins University

Some people call it “assisted suicide.” Others prefer the terms “death with dignity,” "aid to the dying," or “the right to die.” Whatever the label, nearly 20 percent of Americans now live in places where it’s legal. Washington, DC is one of those places. Maryland is not.  Should it be? 

Today, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, joins host Tom Hall in the studio to discuss the dilemmas that dying patients, their families, and doctors face.

Every medical or scientific advancement comes with a slew of sometimes complex ethical dilemmas. Dr. Kahn’s regular visits to the Midday studio help us wrestle with the ethical questions faced by researchers and policy makers – and the rest of us. Can ethicists help us frame the questions we need to ask when we are confronted with new research possibilities, or new advances in science and technology? We think so.

Shepard Fairey

Joining Tom today are two journalists who attended the historic Women's March in Washington on Saturday. Mary Rose Madden is a reporter for WYPR. Natalie Sherman is on the line from The Baltimore Sun newsroom.  We also take your calls, tweets and emails about how you experienced this past weekend's historic events. 

Many people are already referring to the Inauguration on Friday and the protests that occurred in Washington and around the world the next day as indicative of a massive paradigm shift, both in the policies of the U.S. government, and in the ways opposition to those policies might be organized moving forward. The President’s election was seen as a celebration of business acumen, triumph of populism, and a rejection of the status quo.

Mr. Trump came to power with the lowest approval rating of any president in history, and his first two-and-a-half days in office were seen by many as a calamitous mess. He signed executive orders that have already shaken the markets for health care, he astonished some in the intelligence community by giving a self-obsessed peroration in what is considered hallowed ground at CIA headquarters, and his press secretary’s debut in the White House briefing room included brazen and false claims about the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration. Yesterday, a Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, asserted the primacy of “alternative facts.”

The fervor of Trump supporters, before and since the election is undeniable. On Friday, they enthusiastically applauded the new President’s brief, forceful inauguration speech in which he promised to put an end to violence in American cities, an end to the corruption that pervades politics, and an end to America’s not winning on the global stage. It was a speech that was short on graciousness, and long on bromides and slogans. It was rapturously received by the large crowd who braved the rain, and who ignored the scattered and sometimes violent protests that took place throughout the day.

And oh, what a difference a day makes. The dichotomy between Friday and Saturday on the Mall in Washington couldn’t have been more pronounced. On Saturday, a crowd estimated to be three times the size of the one that attended the inauguration, gathered on the National Mall to express their distaste for many parts of the perceived Trump agenda, and to stake a claim as an opposition that is energized and determined to thwart the initiatives of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress.

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Image courtesy Victory Fellowship

It’s time for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today, we’re actually going to be talking about the role of religion in a not-quite-so-public sphere.  Tom's guests are two Lutheran pastors who bring their ministries to Maryland prisons, and a religious scholar who’s taught classes on the Hebrew Bible for Maryland inmates.

The Rev. Gerry Rickel is the Pastor at St. Dysmas, a Lutheran community in the Maryland prison system.  The Rev. Susan Beck is the pastor at The Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran Church in Glenwood.  She works with Gerry Rickel in his prison ministry. And joining Tom on the line from public radio station WAMU in Washington is Dr. Jerome Copulsky. He is a Scholar-in-Residence teaching religion at American University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, and has taught classes on the Hebrew Bible at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Douglas McGrath

Jan 20, 2017

Tom talks with Douglas McGrath, the writer of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, at the Hippodrome Theater January 24-29, 2017.

Hachette Book Group

Today, the final conversation in our series examining the legacy of President Barack Obama.  How have young people, gay people, women, veterans, workers and others fared during a presidential tenure that was marked by implacable partisanship?  Will any of Obama’s initiatives in health care, immigration and climate change survive an incoming administration whose party now controls both the executive and the legislative branches?

Tom puts those questions to two astute political observers:  Michael Days is the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News.  His new book is called Obama’s Legacy:  What He Accomplished as President;  and  Liz Copeland, the founder and President of the Urban Conservative Project.

Thursdays mean theater on Midday, so J. Wynn Rousuck is back with her weekly review of a local production. Today, she’s talking about The Call of the Wild , master storyteller Charlie Bethel’s new solo adaptation of Jack London’s classic 20th century novel, now in performance at Theatre Project in Baltimore.  An audience favorite and an experienced theater artist both on stage and off, Bethel brings new life to the classic American tale. 

Nina Subin

This week, we are taking a look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama. Tom is joined by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a searing provocateur whose unstinting critique of the historic nature of Obama’s tenure includes what he considers to be the missed opportunities to advance the cause of racial equality. One of Dyson’s chief criticisms is the President’s reluctance to hold white people at least partially responsible for black suffering.  

In his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A  Sermon to White America, Dyson argues that the responsibility lies not just with uninformed bigots, but with people who may consider themselves enlightened and fair-minded, but who can’t accept the truth of racial history.   Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of 18 other books, including The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

Flickr/Creative Commons

Today, we continue our week-long look at the Obama years and consider the legacy of the 44th president as he leaves office.  Tom's guests in Studio A today are an historian and a journalist who have closely observed presidents for many years, and who can compare and contrast Mr. Obama's style and impact with some of his presidential predecessors. 

Historian Taylor Branch is perhaps best known for his landmark trilogy about the civil rights era, America in the King Years, the first volume of which, Parting the Waters, 1954-63, won Branch the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1989.  He is also the author of the 2009 memoir, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, which chronicles his eight-year project to gather a sitting president’s comprehensive oral history on tape.

Journalist Michael Fletcher also joins Tom in  Studio A. He is a senior writer at The Undefeated, ESPN’s online journal exploring the intersection of race, culture and sports.  Before joining The Undefeated, Fletcher was a national economics reporter for The Washington Post. Before that, he covered the Obama administration and the Bush White House including Iraq war policy, efforts to restructure Social Security, and presidential trips around the globe.

Fletcher spent 13 years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun before joining The Washington Post  in 1996.

He is co-author, with Kevin Merida, of the 2007 biography, Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas. 

In the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump we’re discussing the legacy of President Barack Obama. Sheri Parks and E.R Shipp join Tom to review some of President Obama’s most poignant moments. How has the president used empathy to shape conversations around contentious issues like gun control, race, and policing?

Plus, an exploration of First Lady Michelle Obama's time in the White House.

Dr. Sheri Parks is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

E.R. Shipp is a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator, columnist for the Baltimore Sun and Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University.

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