Murray, KY – It was at the 2002 Chicago Jazz Festival where I was face to face with greatness. The bill for that night included Von Freeman, Carla Cook and Jimmy Heath. But the artist that most of us lined up to see was the great sax man Wayne Shorter.

Murray, KY – In 1986, French director Bertrand Tavernier put together an ensemble of great musicians and actors to produce one of the most influential movies of the decade, "'Round Midnight." The title of this movie came from Thelonius Monk and Cootie Williams classic composition of the same name.

The opening theme is beautifully sung by the innovative vocalist Bobby McFarrin. It is a story of longing, loss, conflict with inner demons, and the last hurrah of a fictional musician, Dale Turner.

Murray, KY – I was at my neighborhood Borders snooping around the second floor music section when I heard a soothing and erudite voice come over the store's stereo system. From the start, I recognized the tune, Invitation, as I have heard it performed several times by jazz artists in the past. But this rendition was different. It was articulated with longing, passion, and a sense of joy. This was my first introduction to jazz vocalist and pianist Patricia Barber.

Murray, KY – Nine years old. First day of fourth grade. I have barely mastered Double Dutch and long division. Our classroom is on the third floor of St. Francis School, not the first level like last year. After grade three, the girls have classes separate from the boys because males are deemed near occasions of sin, whatever that means.

Grade 4 - Girls is the room right across from the principal's office. On the first day of school it is she, Sister Philippa, who greets us.

Murray, KY – The little girl on the sepia-toned cover of Mulberry Child, A Memoir of China, meets the camera's eye with an unwavering gaze. The no-nonsense haircut and slight downward curve of her mouth suggest a serious demeanor, but the hint of color on the lips implies a spark of assertiveness lurking beneath author Jian Ping's earnest fa ade.

Dr. Brian Clardy

Murray, KY – For some, New Years Eve means a night with the family, gathered around a television to watch the ball drop as the clock strikes 12. For others, it's a night on the town, partaking in local festivities. One year, for Commentator Dr. Brian Clardy, it was a night at NPR's Toast of the Nation 2004, bringing in the new year in an intimate concert with Kurt Elling.

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Murray, KY – Since its creation in 1966, African Americans have celebrated their cultural heritage with the celebration of Kwanzaa, which derives from a Swahili phrase meaning First Fruits. Dr. Brian Clardy and Dr. Debbie Owens explain the origins of the week long celebration and the seven associated principles.

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Dr. Brian Clardy

Murray, KY – Some call the 1965 animated classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Christmas special that almost never was. With a miniscule production budget, choppy animation and no laugh-track, producers were certain the special would be a complete flop But to a complete surprise, it was a smash hit, eventually winning an Emmy and a Peabody award Commentator Brian Clardy talks about why this telling of the true meaning of Christmas has stayed in the hearts of countless viewers for over 40 years.

Christmas Lights

Dec 21, 2007
Dr. Duane Bolin

Murray, KY – When Edward Johnson, associate to Thomas Edison, strung lights around his home Christmas Tree in 1882, opened his windows, and flipped the switch passersby called it magnificent local newspapers called it a publicity stunt and Johnson was called the Father of the Electric Christmas Tree Lights. One hundred years ago, a tree adorned with lights would have cost around 2000 dollars, but now it's tradition for families around the world. Duane Bolin examines the importance of lights in traditions, religion, and literature.

Murray, KY – From fruitcakes to lutefisk, every family's got their time honored holiday traditions. Commentator, Dr. Brian Clardy takes us to South Fulton Tennessee, and shares some of his Christmas customs between town and family.

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