With an eclectic mix of guests and music selections, Janet Hammock brings her own distinct style and unique perspective to the local airwaves twice a month.
The retired Sackville pianist and music professor creates and hosts a two-hour bi-weekly radio show on CFTA-FM Tantramar 107.9, a community-owned and operated station with its studio based in Amherst but serving both Cumberland and Westmorland Counties.
Called Fly Me to the Moon, Hammock’s show spotlights classical and new music, with a little folk, jazz and rap added in when the mood suits.
“I play a little bit of everything, whatever I or my guests want to throw in. So it’s always taking different turns and directions,” she says. “It’s a show that’s kind of making itself.”
But Hammock said what really brings a special touch to the show is the array of local guests she invites on air, to chat with her about music and music’s place in their lives and to select some of the music she plays.
“These guests are a pretty amazing group,” she says. “It’s not just me spinning discs.”
Hammock has featured Sackville and Amherst area performers, artists, composers, teachers, and just general music lovers. Her goal, she says, is to bring a face to the music by having guests on her show that can talk about their connection to it or provide anecdotes about why certain selections are special to them.
She wants to make the music more accessible, offering the audience a way to better understand and appreciate the music.
“I just want to try to make it easy... that maybe whatever we’re saying will make it more lively for them.”
Guests have ranged from Sackville singer and gallery owner Janet Crawford to retired Mount Allison arts professor and painter Virgil Hammock, as well as pianist David Rogosin, opera star Sally Dibblee and Indigenous rap artist Tristan Grant, among dozens of others.
Fly Me to the Moon got its start four years ago, after Hammock had first served as a special guest on another CFTA show, At the Kitchen Table. She enjoyed doing the show, so when she was asked by studio managers if she knew anyone who might be interested in doing a show focusing on classical music, she jumped at the opportunity. The 77-year-old says thanks to operations manager Ron Bickle, who has helped her every step of the way with learning the ropes of bringing a radio show to life, it’s been a phenomenal experience. She has particularly enjoyed having been given free reign to give the show her own unique appeal.
“It’s been really fun.”
Her next two shows, on March 31 and April 14, will be devoted to the upcoming ECMA awards, highlighting the classical performance and composer nominees.
Fly Me to the Moon airs every other Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m.