Wishing classical host Andrea Blain a fond farewell

Classical host Andrea Blain ended her final shift early Tuesday on the overnight program Music Through the Night.Nate Ryan

Andrea Blain - Final Hour - May 10, 2022


May 10, 2022

Classical host Andrea Blain is leaving after more than seven years with our listeners to return to Ireland. Find out what she’ll miss most about hosting and what she has planned for the future. (Hint: You’ll be hearing her again soon on YourClassical MPR.)

Her final shift on the overnight program Music Through the Night ended early Tuesday, just before 6 a.m. central, with the traditional song “The Parting Glass.”

“I promised you no sad songs this morning,” she said before playing the piece. “We need to be happy about the time that we’ve spent together.”

We asked her a few questions about her leaving.

What will you miss most about being a classical host? 

“What I think I’ll miss most is the music. It has been so great to be able to share oddities or old favorites, the challenging works and the comforting works, and works by composers whose names aren’t (yet) well known, but who deserve to be heard again and again. I know that we can all listen on our own to just about anything, any time, but I have really appreciated the company of listeners. ‘Companionship’ is a big part of what attracted me to working on Music Through the Night, and that has been a sustaining feature these past 7½ years.”

What’s a great memory you’ve had from your time here? 

“There are so many great memories! Because the overnight shift is a fairly solitary thing, I’ve really enjoyed the occasions I’ve had to interact with colleagues: Pi Day at Minnesota Public Radio looms large (when everyone brings in pie to share), the 50th-anniversary celebrations, even just having a random chat in the kitchen or at someone’s desk. One very special memory was having an interview scheduled with composer William Bolcom on a day when the classical department was sharing homemade soup in the Capitol View conference room. I invited Bolcom and his wife, the very gracious Joan Morris, to share soup and bread with us — and it felt like a really special party. The interview was for a broadcast special about Bolcom’s life and career to mark his 80th birthday.”

What’s a funny memory you have? 

“Very recently, during a two-handed hosting session for the May Member Drive, fellow host Steve Staruch and I were on opposite sides of the studio glass, which is a precaution since the COVID pandemic.  The 1812 Overture came up in the playlist, and even though everyone knows there are cannons in that work, when the cannons kicked in, we both were taken by surprise and shared a wide-eyed look and a bit of a laugh through the glass. We are all really used to separate studios and looking through the glass these days, but in that moment, it was  like the glass wasn’t there — almost as if those cannons blew it to pieces! I think we were still giggling when we started talking again. Member drives are often a source of hilarity — they’re another thing I will miss!”

What’s next for you?

“Well, in less than a week, my husband, Terry Blain, and I will drive to Chicago and catch a flight to Dublin with our two dogs, Buddy and Nina. We’ll be living in a small town on Ireland’s North Coast — close to the sea and not far from some beautiful high hills. We’ll both be keeping up with many of the things we’ve always done — arts journalism for Terry and a bit of broadcast and writing for me — and getting used to dog walking in the rain, probably!”

How can listeners keep up with what you’re doing going forward?

“I will be back and forth a lot to Minnesota. My family is here, and I will be working on a few special projects for YourClassical MPR, including a live broadcast from the Winona Beethoven Festival at the end of June and a concert celebrating Latvian culture, featuring music by composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, in July. I’m hoping to stay close to the MPR family, and I look forward to working on more programs and features in the future.”