Christmas

Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into cliché and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.

John Schneider and Tom Wopat have been friends ever since they met in the late 1970s as costars on The Dukes of Hazzard. Now, the men who played mischievous cousins Bo and Luke Duke have reunited — but not for a new season of the show. As Wopat explains, the pair has long nurtured a different creative partnership that never played out onscreen.

Oh my! The tears still flow, tears of joy tinged with sadness, as I prepare for yet another broadcast of "The Carols of Alfred Burt: A Legacy of Love." I first produced this program in 1997, prompted by my good friend Bill Ginn, who had been familiar with the 15 contemporary carols by Alfred Burt for a number of years. Bill had arranged several of these precious carols for both brass and woodwind quintets that I played with. "Tell me more about this music," I asked of Bill.

The winter holidays are a time of abundance, but for Christians in the Middle East, the official start of the Christmas season is marked by a decidedly rustic dish: porridge.

Archbishop Swerios Murad of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem says his congregation will eat boiled wheat kernels this week to mark the Feast of St. Barbara, or Eid el-Burbara in Arabic.

"It's a simple porridge," Murad tells The Salt, "but it's very important that it be sweet."

Pages