Morning Sounds

Right now I hear the over-eager rooster, gunshots echoing across the hills, the coffee pot dripping, my cat licking her paws, and WGBH, the Boston classical station, thanks to streaming internet radio.

The sounds I grew up with stuck with me. One of those was WGBH and Morning Pro Musica with Robert J. Lurtsema. The Morning Pro Musica broadcast was begun in 1966 but when Lurtsema took it over in 1971 it quickly became identified with him and became the WGBH’s station’s signature series. He hosted it until his death in 2000.

Wikipedia describes him thus: “He was known among public radio listeners throughout New England for his sonorous voice and his phrasing, which frequently included long pauses.” Dead air on the radio is unwelcome, so Lurtsema’s long pauses made his show stand out.

He made recordings of birdsong and along with portions of Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite that became his opening sound. The deep voice with unusual cadence, the birdsong, and classical music all were the audible wallpaper of my formative years.

Finding WGBH on the internet was like coming home.

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