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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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December 21, 2005

New Life

It's the child in us, I think, who responds to holiday music. After all, this is is a holiday which celebrates birth—new life in the dark days of the winter solstice. And Lord knows, we can use a little boost for our spirits along about now.

Our ancestors must have watched the sun sinking lower and lower on the horizon in those months after the harvest, wondering if maybe this time the sun wouldn’t return. Festivals at this time of year are ancient. Every culture seems to have developed its own way of turning winter on its ear. Some of these affairs are peculiar to the area of their practice. Ice-fishing comes to mind, as does the Carnival of Venice.

In North America, we have the "Holiday Season." This can sometimes strike the jaundiced eye as an enormous commercial binge. But beyond the crowded malls and the assault of advertising which takes over the airways at this time of year, we can hear a quiet sound, hardly more than a whisper at times.

Follow that sound. Cherish it. Its message is simple—new life. Love one another. Rejoice.

Find that song and join the chorus. That's what the Empire Brass are doing in this show.

Posted by Bill McGlaughlin at December 21, 2005 4:59 PM



I am really enjoying this concert as I listen to it on line. Many thanks!

By Ron Hughes at December 23, 2005 6:42 PM


"I thanks whatever gods may be" (apologies to W. Henley) for your St Paul Suncday program. I rely on a hugh antenna in my attic to bring in a station 100 miles away so I can enjoy your program. THANKS!

By marian at December 25, 2005 11:08 AM


What a relief your Empire Brass program was this Sunday! After all the Xmas noise & grind of seasonal 'music' your program was refreshing & memorable. I listen to "St Paul Sunday" almost every week, and am the better for it---especially way down here in Southern Maryland.

By anne margolis at December 25, 2005 11:41 AM


I grew up playing the baritone from the fifth grade because it was the only instrument available in the small school. As the only girl in the "big horn" section I had an interesting musical life through my senior year. I was unable to join the USNavy band when I entered the Navy in 1966 because women were not allowed. Your music has thrilled me beyond words and each time I hear you I am taken back to heavenly times toting my horn case home from school (we didn't have buses either)and being able to blay in the brass quintet at Christmas. Thank you for your wonderful gift to us here in Minnesota.

By AnnMarie Hudaa Nielsen at December 25, 2005 12:50 PM


What a Christmas highlight the December 25 Empire Brass concert was this year!! Thank you, MPR, for featuring this fine group once again on St. Paul Sunday morning. I was in the middle of preparing for the holday family dinner, and tuned in on your concert to brighten my morning and make the work load light!

The Empire Brass has always been one of my favorite musical groups. I was priveleged to hear them play in Pennsylvania in the 80's, and to attend a brass workshop which they conducted at Marywood College in Scranton, Pa. I am always watching for their new CD releases...and own a number of them.

Please feature The Empire Brass again soon, as well as other notable brass groups on St. Paul Sunday Morning. They are always a pleasure to hear at Christmas time, but I would like to hear more brass music regularly during the entire year. I do appreciate the discography that is included on your website for the Empire Brass, and that these discs may be ordered from MPR.

By Mary Roberts at December 26, 2005 4:06 PM