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Friday December 25, 2009

Three Wise Men

We mark Christmas day by talking to a Sufi Muslim sheikh, a Reform rabbi and a United Church of Christ minister about the ways religion divides people and can bring them together. Sheik Jamal Rahman, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don MacKenzie call themselves the Interfaith Amigos. On their radio show, in their lectures and in their book, they confront what both inspires and troubles them about their own religious traditions. They tell us how they mark the holiday and what they do to help people get past their differences.

Word of the Year

Last year the American Dialect Society voted “bailout” as the word of the year. This year’s contenders include “H1N1” and “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” And what about Word of the Decade? We speak to Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society.

Top Holiday Songs of the Decade

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) ranks the most popular holiday tunes of the past decade. We count down the top five.

Is Chrysler Selling Cars or Cause?

In a new TV ad, Chrysler features Nobel Peace Laureates Lech Walesa and Michael Gorbachev, appealing for the release of fellow Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who’s been under house arrest in Myanmar for most of the past 20 years. We speak to Boston University Mass Communications Professor John Carroll.

Who is Sherlock Holmes?

Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, Sherlock Holmes, gets the Hollywood treatment again. Robert Downey, Jr. plays Holmes in the new film opening today. We speak to Ransom Riggs, a Holmes enthusiast, and author of “The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: The Methods and Mysteries of the World’s Greatest Detective.”

Musician Douglas Yeo

Douglas Yeo, who played the French national anthem above on an instrument called the ophicleide, is a trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and also an avid Serpent player. The Serpent was invented in Renaissance France as a substitute for the church organ, and it gets its name from its crazy “S” shape. Douglas Yeo is one of just a few hundred people who play the Serpent, and he charms us with his music on Christmas Day.

to Douglas Yeo play “Good King Wenceslas” on the ophicleide, an early 1800s brass instrument that replaced the serpent.

Music from the Show

  • N. Roze, “Domine Salvum,” performed by Douglas Yeo
  • J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, performed by Bruce Springsteen
  • Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, performed by The Pretenders
  • Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish, “Sleigh Ride”, performed by The Ronettes
  • Mel Torme and Bob Wells, “The Christmas Song”, performed by Nat King Cole
  • Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith, “Winter Wonderland”, performed by The Eurythmics
  • M. Sieber arranged by Douglas Yeo, “Foxtrot,” performed by Douglas Yeo
  • 18th century anonymous, “Alleluia,” performed by Douglas Yeo & Gloriae Dei Cantores
  • D. Mabry, “Quatre Tanka”, performed by Douglas Yeo
  • Tchaikovsky, 1812 Overture, performed by Douglas Yeo
  • S. Proctor, “Serpent Concerto,” performed by Douglas Yeo and Deborah DeWolf Emory
  • F.J. Haydn, “Divertimento [Feldparthie] in B flat,” performed by Douglas Yeo
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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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