Cincinnati Pops: Take Me to the River

Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel from ''Take Me to the River'' Erich Kunzel, America's ''Prince of Pops'' and the great Cincinnati Pops Orchestra celebrate America's waterways with a prime-time PBS special, ''Take Me to the River.''

Joining Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra are blues singer/pianist Marcia Ball, acclaimed American opera baritone Gregg Baker, and New Orleans' iconic Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Also on the program are students of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's Musical Theatre Department.

''Take Me to the River'' is a salute to our nation's great waterways -- from the calm Ohio River to the muddy ''Father of Waters,'' the mighty Mississippi, as it flows to New Orleans and the home of jazz, America's original art form.

Marcia Ball from the Cincinnati Pops PBS specialMarcia Ball is an anomaly in the world of piano-based R&B/blues/boogie. A keyboardist who was steeped in and absorbed all the rich traditions of New Orleans, she makes her home in Austin, where she is a singer-songwriter who tickles the ivories rather than wielding an acoustic guitar. An emotive blues vocalist at home in a variety of music genres, Marcia can ''even make sorrow sassy,'' according to The Boston Globe. Enjoy her performance in this program on CET and then catch her live at TallStacks 2006.

Gregg Baker from the Cincinnati Pops PBS specialA baritone of imposing voice and stature, Gregg Baker continues to make an indelible mark on the world of opera theater. Since his opera debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, Gregg has performed leading roles at many of the world's great opera houses. A successful veteran of Broadway and a Lawrence Olivier Award nominee, Mr. Baker discovered his gift for and love of opera while performing the role of Crown in Porgy and Bess. Cincinnati audiences remember his gripping performance as Robert Garner in the 2005 Cincinnati Opera production of Margaret Garner.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band from the Cincinnati Pops PBS specialPreservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading their mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz.

College Conservatory of Music performers from the Cincinnati Pops PBS specialIn his PBS programs, Erich Kunzel is proud to show off amazingly talented young Cincinnatians and this production is no exception. In fact, students from the Musical Theatre program at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music are referred to as ''triple threats'' -- individuals who can sing, dance and act -- and they often go on to successful careers on stage and in film. Make no mistake - you'll be seeing them again!

Erich Kunzel has led the Cincinnati Pops in seven themed PBS specials throughout the years and CET is proud to have been part of bringing this phenomenal orchestra to viewers across the nation.