Meridee Duddleston

News Reporter, Arts & Culture Reporter

Meridee began reporting in the newsroom at WRTI in 2003 while working toward a master's degree in journalism at Temple University.  Since that time, her duties have expanded to news anchor and contributor to WRTI's arts and culture series, Creatively Speaking.

A graduate of Hamline University School of Law, Meridee grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and practiced law before making a major leap into the world of journalism. She also holds a graduate degree from New York University School of Law and received a B.A in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In 2011, Meridee was recognized for outstanding public affairs reporting by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcaster's Association (PAPBA) with awards for two News & Views stories. She received 1st place for "Baby Boomers Becoming Seniors: A Growing Population in Philadelphia," and 2nd place for "TUNE UP PHILLY: Classical Music Instruction as a Vehicle for Social Change."

Meridee can be heard weekday mornings between 6 and 10 am.

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Creatively Speaking
12:25 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

How a Mentor Inspired A Life In Music: Blanche Burton-Lyles Keeps Marian Anderson’s Memory Alive

Pianist Blanche Burton-Lyles, the first African American woman to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music, was mentored by Marian Anderson.
Jessica Kourkounis

A classical pianist considered Marian Anderson’s protégé was the beneficiary of the opera star’s generous encouragement and wisdom.  As a child, Blanche Burton-Lyles lived in South Philadelphia near the home that Marian Anderson called her "dream home."  Anderson knew Blanche’s parents, and would invite the young prodigy to her home to play the living-room piano. It was a life-long relationship. And even in her later years, Burton-Lyles and Anderson kept up through letters after Anderson moved to the West Coast. 

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Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

The Musical Treasure Trove At The Library Of Congress

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) at work in his apartment in NYC in 1947.
Photographic proof by Victor Kraft Library of Congress

A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC,  is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.

Case in point: in a series of letters written in 1957 to his wife Felicia, while she was visiting her family in Santiago, Chile, Leonard Bernstein faithfully chronicles the progress of West Side Story during the final weeks of rehearsal through the show’s out-of-town opening in Washington, D.C.  The letters reveal Bernstein’s changing emotions about the show from frustration and agony to his final state of euphoria.  In addition to comments about West Side Story, Bernstein writes about signing his contract as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, his upcoming thirty-ninth birthday, and how much he misses Felicia and their children, Jamie and Alexander. Read the letters here.

The Special Collections of the Music Division are truly fascinating and constitute a resource for musical scholarship that is unmatched anywhere in the world. These unique bodies of materials are extraordinarily vast and diverse, yet very much interrelated. They include some of the greatest treasures of the Music Division and the Library of Congress.

Creatively Speaking
1:49 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

The President's Own: The United States Marine Band

President George W. Bush led the U.S. Marine Corps Band at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in 2008.

One of the most prominent bands in nation, and the country's oldest, continuously active musical organization, is frequently heard on WRTI's weekday 7:15 am Sousalarm. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston shares a glimpse of the U.S. Marine Band.

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Creatively Speaking
12:28 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Ouch! The Mortal Misstep Of The Sun King's Composer

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), the influential French Baroque composer/conductor in the court of Louis XIV, had an unusual demise. Some conductors in the Baroque era conducted with rolled up scores.

Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.

Zohn says Lully, who first came to the attention of King Louis XIV as a dancer, profited from his relationship with the monarch - and his power over the musical facets of the royal court became wider and wider. 

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Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

A Ballerina's Pointe-Shoe Paradise!

The Rosin Box

The artistry and athleticism of the ballet dancer can soar with a well-fitting pointe shoe. On a given weekend, members of three generations of the Jenkins family might be on the scene at The Rosin Box, a jewel-like shop on Sansom Street in Philadelphia, just a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, where ballet slippers and pointe shoes are sold - and, where music lives.

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Creatively Speaking
8:14 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Jazz Guitarist And Vocalist Jimi Odell: The Music Is You

Jimi Odell at home

A musician’s understanding of his artistry often deepens over time. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston gets a perspective from a jazz man who’s performed for over a half century. Guitarist and vocalist Jimi Odell has been called one of Philadelphia’s best-kept secrets. And even though he wasn’t born here, local jazz buffs proudly claim him as their own. Now in his '80s, Odell bought himself a guitar and an instruction book when he was 19. Looking back he says it’s not an easy instrument to master.

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Creatively Speaking
11:08 am
Mon May 19, 2014

The Largest Sheet-Music Retailer In The World!

The J.W. Pepper building on Vine Street

Founded in Philadelphia in 1876, J.W. Pepper has a long history connected to its seminal role in the proliferation of music to bands, churches, choirs, orchestras, and school ensembles across the United States. Its publication of sheet music extends from the day of the town band, through the birth of jazz and rock, to the present.

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Creatively Speaking
7:41 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Graduation and Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance"- What's the Connection?

Although you may not realize that it was first composed as a military march, you’ll instantly recognize one of Sir Edward Elgar’s most popular works, "Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 1 in D," - especially the nearly two-minute middle section so commonly associated with graduation.  

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Creatively Speaking
5:20 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Did the Cabaret Tax Kill Big Bands?

The Cotton Club, New York City

In 1944 big dance bands were  all the rage.  They were so popular that to gain additional revenue for World War II,  a 30 percent "cabaret tax" was enforced on the gross receipts of any "public place where music and dancing privileges...except instrumental or mechanical music alone,  are afforded the patrons in connection with the serving or selling of food, refreshment, or merchandise."

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Creatively Speaking
3:49 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

It's Official! The City Of Philadelphia Appreciates Jazz

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

All across the country, April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). In Philadelphia, JAM's month-long series of concerts, workshops, and events - including the Center City Jazz Festival - culminates on April 30th, which is Jazz Appreciation Day.

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