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November 2013
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Thankful for Music?


Most holidays involve some combination of music and food. Of all of them, Thanksgiving is less specific to music, but we’re betting most people listen anyway. We at WFMT are grateful for YOU. Your devotion to music brings depth and dimension to our culture in Chicago.

Q. How does music figure into your Thanksgiving memories or traditions?

Most of us have reason to be thankful. At its essence, Thanksgiving is supposed to remind us of that—and it’s good to be reminded. After all, we are creatures who work to solve problems; so much so that we forget to think about the problems we don’t have.

Did you know that every Thanksgiving, WFMT management provides a turkey dinner for the people who keep us on the air?

At WFMT, we continue to be thankful for the gift of music. In the spirit of this Thanksgiving holiday, tell us what musical gifts come to mind.

Carl Grapentine, host

Carl Grapentine, host

Carl Grapentine:

I remember 41 years ago, my first year working in radio, being my first year out of school, I had to deal with the adult reality of not having long holiday vacations. It also dawned on me that in my newly chosen occupation, I didn’t even get holidays off. After doing the all-night shift, I was able to drive up and see my parents, so it wasn’t all that sad.

Now, 40 years later, I love working holidays, I must admit—don’t tell anybody (laughs)—but I do. There’s just something warm and fuzzy about being here on Thanksgiving morning, knowing people are up early, fixing their turkeys, or four weeks later arranging presents under the tree; and I’m here sending out the greatest music in the world.

I love the Thanksgiving morning show. It may be my favorite of the year, although Christmas is a close second. My family grew up that way: dad works in the morning and then he comes home and we have Thanksgiving dinner; my dad was a minister, so he was usually working on the holidays, too.


Turkeys by Claude Monet

I play a lot of American music of course, from Charles Ives to Aaron Copland to sequences on the tune, Now Thank We All Our God by Johann Cruger; a whole sequence on Simple Gifts. I play Stan Freberg’s classic story of the first Thanksgiving.

Paloma Orozco: 

My family always watches Mary Poppins on Thanksgiving. So that’s usually playing in the background. (A Spoonful of Sugar, Feed the BirdsLet’s Go Fly a KiteI Love to Laugh…)

Candice Agree:

Broadcasting from the top of the living room bookcase…

I do the cooking, my husband Steve does the windows, and the music programming. Also, we have an AM transmitter in our apartment, a 1940 vacuum tube Zenith radio. He set it up so that you can transmit CDs—he plays CDs and broadcasts to radios throughout the apartment—everything from Waylon Jennings to Mott the Hoople; Amy Winehouse, Lou Rawls, Ham Hocks Español…


 David Polk:

One Thanksgiving tradition that my family does is to go for a walk in one of the forest preserves. So we wake up and listen to (by now) the sounds of winter; and we go home after we’re freezing and my mother likes to listen to Christmas music, especially Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

Renee Gerard-Southworth:

What popped into my head was Adam Sandler’s Turkey Song.

And then Renee sent this about 20 hours later:

While driving through the Arkansas mountains in the middle of the night, another thanksgiving song occurred to me,  it is Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. A lengthy piece that is completely worth listening to.



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