We are marking the 30th anniversary of Sunday Baroque — the program I originated on WSHU Public Radio as a local show, and which we ultimately began distributing nationally 19 years ago. Listeners frequently ask me how I keep Sunday Baroque fresh week after week, especially after so many years. Probably the most important factor is that I retain the same wonder and enthusiasm for sharing music as I did in the beginning — maybe even more so, as I’ve learned and experienced more myself. There was an interview with a commercial airline pilot on another public radio show recently, in which she shared that she still feels the same exhilaration and wonder about launching a 175,000 pound metal tube filled with people into the air (and eventually landing it) safely. Her words resonated, because even though it’s not the same kind of scientific achievement, I retain a sense of wonder about the music, and about my role in sharing it. (AND I, too, think that flight technology is miraculously wonderful!)
Each week I approach Sunday Baroque as a blank canvas, and ask myself a number of questions, such as: What is a wonderful recording I’m excited to share? What significant event or holiday is happening in the world? What cool things are my fellow musicians (or other interesting people) doing? How can I connect these events with music to share with listeners? What extraordinary recording — new or old — do I want to spotlight? What compelling story ought to be shared — about a musician, composer, composition … ?
I know someone new is tuning in EVERY time … someone who has not yet cultivated a passion for this music … and I try to listen with that person’s ears and experiences, and to help them feel welcome and appreciate what is special about the music. I also know there are some listeners who know a lot about the music already, and it’s a fun task to find new angles to keep them engaged, too. I want to craft an entertaining listening experience that invites anyone who appreciates good music performed well. I want to provide context and information — just a little bit! — to enhance the listening experience, intrigue and tantalize. With more than two centuries’ worth of music to mine, and thousands of CDs to choose from, that blank canvas becomes easy to fill! Thanks to the extraordinary evolution of technology in these 30 years, listener feedback is more immediate and comprehensive, too. In those early years, the phone, the US postal service and face-to-face meetings were the only means of communication with you. Today, the internet has facilitated email and multiple social media platforms, as well as making Sunday Baroque available across the globe.
It’s my privilege and pleasure to share this music with you, and I look forward ever-enthusiastically to what the future brings. Thank you for listening, whether you’ve been with me from the beginning 30 years ago, or if you’ve only recently discovered Sunday Baroque.