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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: A Star in the East by Ronn McFarlane and Carolyn Surrick

Christmas surrounds us, with lights on the lawns and carols everywhere we go. But perhaps you are burned out by all those big choral and orchestral works. How about something quieter, a bit more contemplative? Our CD Spotlight offers just that with a brand-new all-instrumental release, A Star in the East, by lutenist Ronn McFarlane and viola da gambist Carolyn Surrick. McFarlane and Surrick, with a bit of help from friends, offer a CD filled with familiar carols and surprising (and delightful) mashups. It’s a Christmas CD that will fill your hearts without overwhelming your senses.

If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path and more eclectic, give The Knights Before Christmas a spin. The Knights have put together a crazy quilt of traditional carols and holiday pop songs, from Holst’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” to “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince. There’s The Knights, of course, with striking arrangements, including Wu Han with her pipa and a Spanish version of Adam’s “O Holy Night.” And like A Star in the East, it will wash over you with a calm beauty that befits the season.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.