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K-State Today

December 20, 2022

Bolton produces holiday special for public radio

Submitted by Mirta Chavez

Now a tradition for many public radio stations, High Plains Public Radio will feature "Las Cantigas de Santa Maria," produced and hosted by Debra Bolton, director of intercultural learning and academic success in the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

The radio show will air at 2 p.m. Central time on Friday, Dec. 23. Since K-State and the Manhattan area are not in the listening region of this radio station, interested listeners can hear it on the station's website. The streaming tab is at the top left corner of the webpage.

The radio program is a musical biography of medieval King Alfonso X from 13th-century Spain. The songs and poems, created by the king and his scribes, focus on the miracles and good deeds of the Virgin Mary and served to teach morality to the king's subjects. King Alfonso "the wise" wrote more than 420 songs for performance in his court and across his kingdom. 

Bolton said she became interested in King Alfonso when she learned that he was a pluralist, honoring Christians, Jews and Muslims on equitable footings in his kingdom. He honored knowledge, and all had different areas of expertise that would strengthen the kingdom. The king was more interested in studying and learning from great thinkers than excluding certain people 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 the good king was facing based on the stories of the musical poems."

Bolton also posts her narrative, playlist and photos on her blog. Scroll to "Las Cantigas de Santa Maria 2022."

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