Holiday Specials

Giving Thanks: A Celebration of
Fall, Food & Gratitude

"I had a chance to listen to Giving Thanks and was greatly enriched by the experience." – Bill Moyers

Classical music is the heart and soul of “Giving Thanks,” with no clichés about pilgrims and pumpkin pies between pieces. Instead, host John Birge presents a contemporary celebration of the spirit of gratitude, with this year’s special guest, chef Jacques Pepin.

Whether your listeners are listening in the kitchen, on the road, or relaxing after their feast, “Giving Thanks” provides the warmth of great music and memorable words.

Stations can choose between two versions of “Giving Thanks”. The original, two-hour version maintains the high proportion of music. The one-hour show is designed with news and talk formats in mind.


John Birge


John Birge


Hour I

  • Traditional: We Gather Together — Boston Pops/John Williams
  • Richard Harvey: Concerto Antico: Alborada — London Symphony Orchestra/Paul Daniel; John Williams, guitar
  • Hans Zimmer & Richard Harvey: The Little Prince — Studio Orchestra
  • Reading: from "Flight to Arras" by Antoine de St.-Exupery
  • Traditional: Let Us Break Bread Together — Howard Roberts Chorale; Simon Estes, baritone
  • Jacques Pepin on his favorite holiday and childhood
  • Alberto Ginastera: Dance of the Wheat — New World Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Thierry Rougier: Autumn — Xuefei Yang, guitar
  • Leonard Bernstein: Candide: Make Our Garden Grow — Boston Pops/John Williams; Tanglewood Festival Chorus
  • Jacques Pepin on philosophy and family
  • Martin Mailman: Autumn Landscape — Eastman-Rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson
  • Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral": Shepherd's Song: Cheerful and Thankful Feelings after the Storm — Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner
  • Francis Poulenc: Pastourelle — Pascal Roge, piano
  • Francis Poulenc: Rustic Intermezzo —Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner

Hour II

  • Aaron Copland: Our Town — London Symphony/Aaron Copland
  • Reading: from "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder
  • George Frideric Handel: Largo — Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Reading: from "My America: A Thanksgiving Reflection" by Andrew Sullivan
  • Johannes Brahms: Festive and Commemorative Pieces: What Nation Is There So Great — Cambridge Singers
  • Jacques Pepin on his favorite cooking music
  • Gioachino Rossini: Ouf! Les petits pois (Oh, the little peas) — Stephan Irmer, piano
  • Jacques Pepin on what was nearly his last Thanksgiving
  • George David Weiss: What a Wonderful World — La Pieta/Angele Dubeau
  • Reading: from Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums," Chartres Cathedral story; Psalm 104 by Charles Laughton
  • Traditional, arr. Stephen Paulus: We Gather Together — Dale Warland Singers


"Giving Thanks" comes in two versions – exact timings will be available in November.
Please refer to each program's Rundown for full details.

  • The original two-hour program maintains the high proportion of music compatible with a classical format (7 segments):
    • Hour 1 - Optional (:60) Cutaway near the bottom-of-the-hour, and (:60) Cutaway at 59:00
    • Hour 2 -  Optional (:60) Cutaway near the bottom-of-the-hour
  • The one-hour version is geared towards news/talk formats, with less music but all the special readings. This version keeps the spirit of the original program, while offering greater scheduling flexibility (3 segments):
    • Hour 1 -  Optional (:60) Cutaway near the bottom-of-the-hour

ContentDepot File Transfer

Two-Hour version
One-Hour version


November 11-30, 2016, with multiple airings permitted.

broadcast rights

Affiliate stations may carry this program multiple times before January 1, 2017. The program must be carried in its entirety. No excerpting is permitted. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this program. Prior to carrying this program, stations must contact their American Public Media Station Relations Representative.

program web site

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Giving Thanks -


on-air promos

Uploaded to ContentDepot on November 11, 2016.