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K-State Today

December 21, 2021

Bolton produces Christmas special for public radio

Submitted by Mirta Chavez

On Christmas morning, public radio stations will feature "Cantigas de Santa Maria," an exploration of songs and poems dedicated to the Virgin Mary produced by Debra Bolton, director of intercultural learning and academic success in Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs.

The musical journey focuses on the reign of King Alfonso X of 13th-century Castile-Leon, now Spain. Alfonso "The Wise" wrote more than 420 songs for performance in his court and across his kingdom, as a way to teach morality and "secure his place in the kingdom of heaven."

Bolton says she became interested in King Alfonso when she learned that he was a pluralist, honoring Christians, Jewish and Muslim on equitable footings because he was more interested in studying and learning from great thinkers than exclusions of certain peoples who lived in his kingdom.

"At its core, this show is a musical biography of King Alfonso X," Bolton said. "One can infer what points of concern that the good king was facing based on the stories of the musical poems."

Notably, the show will air on High Plains Public Radio at 9 a.m. Christmas morning. Since K-State and the Manhattan area are not in the listening area of this radio station, interested listeners can hear it on the station's website

Bolton also posts her narrative, playlist and photos on her blog