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.

Johns Hopkins University

Every scientific advancement comes with a slew of questions. Take autonomous cars, for example.   In an accident, whose lives should a driverless vehicle be programmed to protect?   Passengers in the car, or people on the street? The field of bioethics addresses the complicated ethical dilemmas that researchers and policy makers face in an ever-changing modern world.

Today, Tom is joined by Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He stops by Midday from time to time to talk about how 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.

photo by Richard Anderson

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly review of local stage productions. Today, she shares her impressions of  Les Liaisons Dangereuses, directed by Hana S. Sharif at Baltimore's Center Stage. The classic tale of love and betrayal, set in pre-Revolutionary France, was written in 1985 by Christopher Hampton as an adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's 1782 epistolary novel. The production runs through Friday, December 23rd.

Today a conversation about homeless young people in Baltimore City. The Abell Foundation’s recent report “No Place to Call Home” found that there are 1,421 young people under the age of 25 who are homeless and without a parent or guardian to look after them. That figure is a lot higher than a previously accepted number based on the findings of a report conducted Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011. Numbers in the Abell Foundation report were based on the findings of a Youth REACH MD study out of The Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

 There are only six homeless services providers that cater to the needs of youth. There are long wait lists to get into the programs and young people are often turned away.  So what’s being done to help these young people, and what are the barriers that keep them on the streets? 

Megan Lucy is a freelance journalist and the author of the Abell Foundation report. She joins from KUCI in Irvine, CA. 

photos courtesy Jacobson, Francis and Colton

Baltimore City residents are paying more for their water than ever before, as the city plans to spend $2 billion over the next six years upgrading its aging water system. This could have serious implications for citizens, especially low-income residents. This year alone, nearly 25,000 households are delinquent on their water bills.

Joining Tom in Studio A to discuss new strategies for making water more affordable in Baltimore is Joan Jacobson, a freelance journalist and the author of the new Abell Foundation report, “Keeping the Water On;”  and attorney Susan Francis, deputy director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Services, a group that provides legal assistance to low-income residents facing tax and water-bill  delinquencies.  Joining us by phone from Belmont, Massachusetts, is Roger Colton, a lawyer and economist at Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, with expertise in anti-poverty strategies; he has consulted on income-based utility-billing systems with cities around the country, including Philadelphia, which plans to launch one of the nation's first income-based water billing systems in 2017.   Midday invited Rudolph Chow, the director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works, to be on the show; his office declined the invitation, but sent us a written statement responding to the Abell Foundation report. Read the DPW statement by clicking here.

Center Stage

Today, a conversation about Center Stage. Maryland’s State Theater is undergoing a major facelift. The first phase of the renovation has been on display since Thanksgiving weekend, when previews for their current show, Les Liaisons Dangereuses opened in a spruced-up Pearlstone Theater. Center Stage hopes to complete their renovations in the next few months.  

How will the new space inform the programming at Center Stage and create opportunities for up-and-coming playwrights and actors?  Tom is joined by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, the theater’s Associate Director, Gavin Witt and Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck. They’ll also discuss Center Stage’s new program “Wright Now, Play Later” that takes theater-making outside the building and into the community by bringing accomplished playwrights, patrons and performers together to turn an idea about a play into a spontaneous, lively performance executed in Baltimore’s local businesses and well-known public places. 

photos court. John Eisenberg, Mark Hyman

Today, Tom talks sports with Mark Hyman, an author, consultant and Assistant Teaching Professor of Sports Management at George Washington University, and John Eisenberg, a columnist for baltimoreravens.com.

The Army-Navy Game is back at M&T Bank Stadium tomorrow.  The Midshipmen are trying to make it 15 in a row.  And on Monday, the Ravens take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  If Joe Flacco and the offense have the kind of day they had last week against Miami, the Ravens could score a big upset.   Mark Hyman and John Eisenberg join Tom in the studio to handicap the Army-Navy and NFL match-ups, and they discuss the NFL’s aggressive campaign to get children hooked on football, despite growing parental concerns about injury risks.  Plus, off-season moves by the Orioles, and how the new Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement might affect the Birds.   

photo courtesy CNN

It’s been a little over a month since the U.S. presidential election. Republican Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the electoral college tally -- despite Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2.7 million-popular-vote plurality -- is an outcome that continues to stir passions across the country.

Trump’s election-day win stunned his political opponents. Many worry that a Donald Trump presidency could pose new challenges to civil liberties in this country -- and even legitimize racial and ethnic intolerance.

Since the election, there has been a spike in hate crimes and incidents of bigotry in schools.  Many young people have expressed concerns about the uncertain future of our country. Many teachers and administrators have appealed to education scholars for help and guidance in teaching their students about the election, about its potential implications, and about ways students can express and act constructively on their concerns.

Today on Midday, Tom talks to three education scholars who have responded to this need for a post-election lesson planThey are currently working with K-to-12 and even college teachers around the country to compile what they’re calling the "Trump Syllabus K-12."  That syllabus will be introduced at the Baltimore Trump Teach-In tonight (12/08) at 7:00pm at Red Emma's Bookstore in Station North, here in Baltimore.  That event is co-sponsored by the Teachers Democracy Project and Towson University's Social Justice Collective.

Photo by Gary Emord Netzley

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us today with her review of  A Christmas Story, The Musical -- a new rendition of the late author and radio-TV celebrity Jean Shepherd’s comic story of a childhood Christmas. Shepherd helped turn his story into a movie in 1983 -- he wrote the screenplay and narrated the film -- and it’s been a perennial holiday favorite ever since. Now it’s a musical, with book by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A Christmas Story - the Musical is on stage at the Hippodrome through this Sunday, December 11.

University of Illinois Press

Today on Midday, an exploration of one of America’s greatest songwriters: Cole Porter. From songs like Night and Day to shows like Kiss Me Kate, Porter defined sophistication and elegance, and influenced generations of songwriters.

Baltimorecity.gov

Today, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stepped down from office after serving as Baltimore's mayor for six years. Rawlings-Blake -- who previously held the position of City Council President -- assumed office after former mayor Sheila Dixon was forced to resign after pleading guilty to misappropriation of funds. Rawlings-Blake was elected again in 2011, in 2015 she announced she would not seek re-election.

Rawlings-Blake’s tenure was marked by notable achievements but also fraught with controversy. Nationally, the Mayor may be remembered for her response during the 2015 Uprising following the death of Freddie Gray -- she was criticized for not stopping the “riots” quickly enough and for referring to “rioters” as thugs.” But she will also be remembered for attracting businesses like Amazon to the area, overseeing the $5.5B Port Covington development deal, and launching major initiatives to address the city's aging infrastructure.

 

Three astute political observers who have followed Rawlings-Blake's term in office join Tom in the studio today to help us assess the former mayor's impact on Baltimore and the legacy she leaves as newly-inaugurated Mayor Catherine Pugh takes office:

 

Andrew Green is the opinion editor for the Baltimore Sun. He was the city/state editor before coming to the editorial board, and prior to that he covered the State House and Baltimore County government.

 

Jean Marbella is a reporter on the Baltimore Sun’s investigative and enterprise team. She joined The Sun in 1987 and has been a health reporter, a feature writer, a national correspondent, an editor and a metro columnist.

Bishop Douglas Miles, with Koinonia Baptist Church, is co-chair emeritus of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), and one of the city's leading community and civil rights activists.

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