Monday, November 29, 2021

What's New - How Is The Jazz World Treating You?

Jazz is alive and well and living in Cincinnati – but we can NEVER take it for granted!

As we re-launch Cincinnati Spotlight on 90.9 WGUC, we re-connect with friends who are out there, day after day, night after night, keeping our precious Jazz Scene going. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with club owners, Brent Gallaher (CafĂ© Vivace) and Zarleen Watts (Schwartz’s Point) and musician/music booker for Washington Platform, Michael Sharfe over the past few weeks. They each report toughing it out through the worst days of the pandemic, when their doors were shut, and the long, slow climb back. You’ll be hearing from them in the days and weeks to come on Spotlight, weekdays at 10:00am and 5:00pm, and on our website at

I also spoke with one of the hardest-working musicians in town, Trombonist Zachary Granger (The Wild Magnolias, Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Sly Band and many, many more) about his perspective on the State of Jazz in late 2021... here’s a bit of our conversation:

How's the gigging?

Gigging is great! I would say that for performing musicians, work has pretty much entirely come back. I just had the busiest week since gigs have come back; 5 jazz shows in 4 days!

Are people coming out?

People are coming out in droves. Audiences are not only coming out in greater numbers, but they are also staying, listening longer and being more respectful. I think people really missed live entertainment, music especially, and they seem much more grateful to have something that was taken from them for almost 2 years.

How are musicians doing - do you know any who gave up music and got "real" jobs during the pandemic?

It’s actually a bit of a mixed bag with the musicians. There are people like me who are doing better than ever and are happy to have any kind of work they can get. And there is a whole other group of working musicians, like a lot of them, that still haven’t recovered. Musicians who had plans to move to other states only to arrive and not have any opportunities. Musicians who decided they were going to go back to school to get a teaching job somewhere and then paid tuition and signed up for classes only to have those job offers/prospects evaporate because of lockdowns lasting 3-5 semesters. I had a friend that bought a house only to sell it 7 months later because he couldn’t pay for it; no gigs, and less than half of his students signed up for virtual lessons. I might be one of the best cases of someone who got a “real job”. I saw that at the music store I was teaching at could use some extra help and I asked for a job. Now I’m an instrument repair man! Its music related in an indirect sort of way but I couldn’t be happier to have more things to flesh out my schedule.

What else needs to happen, in your opinion, to revive live music?

In my humble and heavily biased opinion, I think what everyone needs to do (in all aspects of public life) is to take this pandemic as seriously as it ever was. Feeling sick? Stay home and get a Covid test. Want to hear some live music and finally enjoy a night out with your friends? Respect if a business asks you to put a mask on or has reduced/assigned seating. Realize that you might be young and healthy but that everyone of the people you see have loved ones and families and that some of those people in those families could be high risk. I’m a huge fan respect; don’t make fun of someone for wearing a mask, don’t be upset if someone doesn’t want to shake your hand or give you a hug, and most importantly: just don’t be gross! Wash your hands, don’t share drinks, etc.

We all just want everything to stay open. I love what I do for a living and performing is a privilege and on the behalf of all musicians, I ask that everyone still take this pandemic seriously.

Stay connected with the Arts in Cincinnati through Cincinnati Spotlight at 90.9 WGUC.

-Elaine Diehl

Monday, November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving Programming 2021

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and WGUC offers a few special programs filled with beautiful music to accompany the holiday. Turn your radios to 90.9 while cooking dinner or visiting with family and friends. You can also listen online at via the WGUC app or your smart speaker. 

Here’s a list of what to expect:

Wednesday, November 24, 8 p.m. Every Good Thing: On Thanksgiving, host Andrea Blain and classical music fans from all around the country take some time to give thanks and celebrate one of life's most meaningful gifts: music.

Thursday, November 25, 10 a.m. A Feast for the Ears: Traditional music and American composers take center stage as host Mark Perzel presents a warm, heartfelt celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. It's the perfect accompaniment for your Thanksgiving morning activities.

Thursday, November 25, 6 p.m. Giving Thanks: Giving Thanks sounds the way Thanksgiving feels: inviting, warm, and festive. It's a contemporary, thoughtful celebration of the spirit of the holiday. Special guests Stanley Tucci and Naomi Shihab Nye join our Thanksgiving table, and music from Eric Whitacre, Bach, Copland and more complete the scene.

What's your favorite music for this season? Do you prefer something folksy like Stephen Foster's  Old Folks at Home or perhaps a jubilant march like John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever? Maybe you're an Aaron Copland fan or perhaps Cole Porter or Duke Ellington. Whatever your taste, we hope you'll join us in counting blessings and sharing in our country's rich musical history.

Whatever your taste, we hope you’ll join us in counting blessings and sharing in our country’s rich musical history.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Classical Roots: 20th Anniversary Concert

This Sunday evening, November 21. WGUC is excited to bring you our exclusive recording of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's Classical Roots concert, recorded in August 2021.

This concert celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Classical Roots program, which brings together the musicians of the CSO with 150 singers from local churches in a musical exploration of the rich history of African American music. With selections ranging from Florence Price's Concerto in D Minor in One Movement for Piano and Orchestra to the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing," and the traditional "Kumbaya," listeners will revel in the diversity and energy coming from Music Hall's stage. For a full rundown of the concert's program and guest artists, visit Classical Roots.

Classical Roots, with your host Brian O'Donnell, airs Sunday, November 21 at 8 p.m. on 90.9 WGUC, online at, and streaming on the WGUC app and your smart speaker by saying "Play WGUC."