How does Colorado Public Radio celebrate the holidays? Why, with a holiday extravaganza, of course.

Our third annual Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza was an evening full of music, comedy and storytelling, taped in front of a live audience, where our members get a chance to see a radio show in the making.

The inspiration for this CPR tradition is “The Judy Garland Christmas Show,” a holiday special from December 1963 meant to lift people’s spirits — and remind us that no matter what may be troubling us, there’s always room for some holiday cheer.

Between Colorado music legends singing loudly for all to hear, to telling the stories behind the songs, to stand-up comedy straight from a Colorado transplant, here are some of the Extravaganza’s most memorable moments.

Hazel Miller Band performing “Go Tell It On The Mountain”

Hazel Miller performs at the third annual Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Hart W. Van Denburg/CPR News

What better way to kick off a holiday show than with a 9-piece band performing an age-old Christmas carol?

Denver’s Hazel Miller Band brought the house down with their rendition of “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” an African-American spiritual song dating back to the late 1800s.

Stand-up Comedian David Rodriguez  

Comedian David Rodriguez talks to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner at the third annual Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Hart W. Van Denburg/CPR News

Between poking fun at Colorado drivers, to the trials and tribulations of childless millennials, to his family’s Christmas party game tradition of crawling on the ground to collect cotton balls while blindfolded, David Rodriguez is proof that maybe transplants aren’t so bad after all.

Playground Ensemble’s Arrangement of “Carol of the Bells”

Ever thought you’d hear the sound of 1980s video games and centuries-old Christmas melodies mashed together?

Denver composer David Farrell (also a teacher of composition at Metropolitan State University of Denver) combined 8-bit electronics with classical musicians from Playground Ensemble to create a version of “Carol of the Bells” that may inspire you to bust out your original Nintendo Entertainment System.

13-Year-Old Emelise Munoz

Emelise Munoz performs at the third annual Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Hart W. Van Denburg/CPR News

Emelise Munoz, of Broomfield, began taking guitar lessons at 4-years-old, won an Amateur Night at the Apollo at ten-years-old, and now performs in local clubs and at entertainment districts like Pearl Street Mall in Boulder and the 16th Street Mall in Denver.

Face Vocal Band singing “Hallelujah”

Cody Qualls performs with Face Vocal Band at the third annual Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Hart W. Van Denburg/CPR News

The winners of the Colorado Matters Holiday Extravaganza contest, the all-vocal rock band from Boulder brought the audience to tears with an a capella version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and told the sweet story of how, in 2013, they serenaded delayed passengers at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport.

When to Hear The Holiday Extravaganza on Colorado Public Radio:

  • Friday, Dec. 14: 10 - 11 a.m., 7 - 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec 21: 10 - 11 a.m., 7 - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 22: 4 - 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 23: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25: 10 - 11 a.m., 7 - 8 p.m.