Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

The Music Box Winds Down

Written by Heather Woolridge, Multimedia Production Manager | Oct 22, 2010 7:38 PM


"There is no one reason, but several" for his decision to conclude the broadcast, Fevens says. He is hosting two other radio programs in Canada, is working on a feature series for the CBC's Nova Scotia service and would like to devote more time to television and film script-writing. "I have very little time to sit and read one of the hundreds of books in my library," Fevens adds. "I'm hoping WITF listeners will allow me to pursue some of these other interests before it's too late in my life to do so."


That personal tone with which he addresses listeners is a Fevens trademark and, not coincidentally, a major element in The Music Box's popularity. The program has always originated from Fevens' living room, making the move with him to Prince Edward Island, where he worked for the Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs, and back to his hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 2002.


In addition to the unassuming atmosphere created by the venue, Fevens has fostered real personal contact with his listeners in Central PA. He has visited the region twice, doing the program live from the Fulton Theatre and appearing on WITF's Desert Island Discs in 1996, and providing narration for a performance with the Alumni Chorale of Lebanon Valley College in 2006.


"I have established decades-long personal friendships with many WITF listeners," Fevens notes. "Many have planned summer vacations that included a stop wherever I was living at the time. As recently as this past August, a couple who had honeymooned in Nova Scotia 20 years ago brought their three teenaged boys to the province for a week. We spent a full day together. I treasure experiences like that."


Throughout its quarter-century run, the broadcast has remained true to its original format: music composed before 1800, and a maximum of 13 minutes of spoken word per episode. An unwavering fan of vinyl, Fevens included LP recordings in more than half of the programs each year. "During the last few years I have been having one and sometimes two full months of programs each year featuring music from only vinyl recordings," he says. "Many of the important vinyl recordings released between 1950 and 1980 have never been made available on compact disc."


Programs devoted to the music of the Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter seasons have been clear favorites with listeners. "In 2004, a chance discovery in a used record shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, of a vinyl recording of the Czech Christmas Mass by Jakub Jan Ryba provided what has become the program's most requested piece of music — at any time of the year," Fevens says. "The annual presentation in the spring of Bach's Mass in B Minor has also brought many letters and e-mails of thanks."


"Having the privilege of knowing and working with Loran since 1985 has been a relationship I will treasure forever," says Mitzi Trostle, WITF's vice president for multimedia content and distribution. "I simply can't think of another radio host/producer who has cultivated a greater connection to his listener."


Fevens says of those listeners, "There really are no words to do justice to the gratitude I feel for their support of the program and for the wonderful very real friendships that have grown out of those two hours on the air each week. The value of time together with listeners cannot be measured. I can only hope those friendships will continue when the program ends. I'll always be as close as their computer or post office."

Published in Classical Air

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