On Wednesday morning Classical host Ena Foshay reached a new milestone – 26 years on the air at WORT – as of August 25, 2021! This marked a special occasion because she couldn’t celebrate her 25th anniversary live with listeners last year. Ena’s been presenting classical music in the same time slot, 5:00-8:00 am Wednesday mornings, every week since 1995. Though her show has changed slightly over the years, shifting from the original title Music & More and towards a focus on choral music, “her dedication remains the same” according to WORT Music Director Sybil Augustine, who saw great passion and potential in the recently graduated 19 year old singer. Foshay and Augustine connected recently to chat about the show and her time at the station. This special anniversary show – Ena’s first time back live in the station in the past 17 months – is available to stream on-demand from our archives until Sept. 8.
Read more below, and tune into 89.9 fm on Wednesdays and every weekday morning to hear classical music for the ears of discerning listeners.
5 Questions with Ena Foshay
How did you discover and grow your love for classical music? What first drew you to WORT?
I started as a programmer just a few months after I graduated from High School. In High School, I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful choir director who was very serious about the art of Choral music. He fostered in me a deep love for singing and Choral music in general. I began singing interesting music and seeking out recordings of more varieties of Choral music.
I went to the library, as a teen, and found many wonderful recordings. I also began purchasing recordings that I still use to this day for my show. My burgeoning record collection was one of the things that I think got me my position at WORT, and it has grown substantially since then. I cherish the thought that the music I purchase for my own enjoyment and education can then be shared with our listenership for the same purposes.
What’s the scariest thing about doing a radio show?
Sometimes it’s difficult to feel like I have a wide enough variety in the things I play. My show’s genre is very specific, and my quality standards immediately disqualify certain recordings. I sometimes play things that aren’t my favorite, with the idea that others may enjoy it.
I specifically try to keep the format of my show similar from week to week and make it less about me, and more about the music and information. I hope my tastes please people and that they have all been soothed, inspired, or educated by something they’ve heard on my show.
One major drawback is that time slot is quite undesirable for my natural rhythms. For me, it’s difficult to speak at all, let alone pronounce foreign languages at that time of day.
Please share something that listeners might not know about you.
An unusual fact about me is that I’m actually quite passionate and knowledgeable about many, many genres of music. Though singing Choral music is my profession, and what I’m most educated in, I have music of some sort playing around me nearly all the time.
I have been employed as a DJ in many different genres, such as dance, rave, hip hop, and even spent 5 years as a roller rink DJ!
I have subbed on various WORT shows (such as Saturday morning’s vintage Jazz show “Entertainment” and Sunday’s Early Music show “Musica Antiqua”) and enjoyed each of those experiences immensely.
Music is one of the things I’m most grateful for in life, and I always say that there are very few things in life that can’t be enhanced or improved by the addition of music. Except, maybe, more music.
Do you have a treasured memory from over the years? Any hopes or plans for the future?
My favorite memory from the 26 years I’ve been doing my show is my interview with American Choral directing legend, Dale Warland.
We spent a full hour just talking about choir nerd stuff. He is so experienced, knowledgeable, and down to earth, that I felt like I wanted to ask him everything I could think of. We did as much as we could in an hour, and then stayed in the studio for several more hours, just talking with each other. It was an amazing and transformative experience with a person who was absolutely my idol.
I always enjoy interviewing choir directors to promote local choral events and hope to continue to do so. I think it’s an important service I can do for potential audiences and ensembles, alike. In the future, I hope to interview more important and influential people in the Choral music world. I take very seriously my role in keeping the art of Choral performance vital and forefront amongst the many other wonderful types of music that gets performed in our community.
Ena and Dale Warland in the WORT studios
(all photos by Ena Foshay)