Four students singing on stage during a performance of the Big Broadcast

The Big Broadcast!

"The Big Broadcast!" is a re-creation of a live 1940's radio variety show featuring the Jazz Ensembles (Big Band Jazz, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz) performing well-known tunes and hidden gems from the swing era and the American Popular Songbook.

The annual performance project is rather unusual due to its production elements. Several ensemble members serve as associate producers and assist in writing the script, which include the emcee intros and a newscast as well as an original radio play for the second act. Commercials for authentic products are interspersed throughout, and the theatrical event is performed in period dress, hair and makeup. The result is an entertaining and historically accurate concert event that has fascinated both students and the surrounding community for fifteen years.

The Big Broadcast was created and directed by Mount Holyoke College music faculty member Mark Gionfriddo. For the last thirteen years, the show has been emceed by Brian Lapis (WWLP-TV22 meteorologist) in the role of host "Fred Kelley", while Gionfriddo appears as bandleader “Matt Morgan”.

The Big Broadcast through the years

Big Broadcast 2022 poster

In a return to live performance for the MHC community, Former 22News anchor Brenda Garton-Sjoberg makes her debut as emcee “Julie Graham" while MHC's Mark Gionfriddo appears as bandleader “Matt Morgan”. This concert was also streamed to the general public.

A vintage microphone

A slimmed down version of the 1940's radio show performance suitable for pandemic times. This concert was presented free of charge for the first time.

The 2020 Big Broadcast poster

This year marks the 15th edition! Mount Holyoke alum, bassist and singer Caitlin Jaene Mercer '02 will join the ensembles as a special guest.

An illustration of a women singing into a vintage microphone

To mark the 80th anniversary of a performance by The Glenn Miller Orchestra at MHC, Big Broadcast 2019 featured some music made famous by Glenn Miller.

The Big Broadcast 2018 poster

The Mount Holyoke Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles perform well-known tunes from the swing era.

Singers in the 2013 "Big Broadcast!”  Photo by Olivia Lammel ’14

The Mount Holyoke College Jazz Ensembles present their annual tribute to the 1940s radio show that has become a local classic! With special guest Channel 22’s Brian Lapis. Mark Gionfriddo directs.

Contact us

The Music Department offers a program exploring the history, theory, literature, performance and cross-cultural study of music.

Mark Gionfriddo
  • Director of Jazz Ensembles
  • Coordinator of Piano Instruction
  • Instructor of Music