The singers of Chanticleer are back from the tour that they make every fall after Thanksgiving, and tonight sing in Stanford their program A Chanticleer Christmas. Music Director William Frederick Scott says although the message of the concerts remaining constant, their approach varies from year to year, and there are some new additions this season. You can hear the concert they gave at the beginning of this month in New York City on Sunday night’s edition of Bay Area Mix.

You can find out more about their remaining concerts at the Chanticleer website.

“The narrative never changes: there’s a strange baby in a strange place, and we all love him,” Scott says. “So, how do you make the program… not necessarily different, but to whom do you turn your spotlight?” He decided to start with an image from his past. “For years, I used to take the train from Atlanta up to New York, either for Christmas or New Years, and I loved seeing the Christmas lights way in the distance from the train. You’d sort of be going through the Virginia woods, and way in the distance, there would be a little community with gorgeous lights.” He was drawn to them, he says, as he imagines the Wise Men were drawn by a light in the distance. In addition to all of the features of the program that devoted audiences have come to expect: a candle-lit processional to Gregorian Chant, their signature Ave Maria by Biebl, a blend of Renaissance settings, carols, and gospel tunes, Scott says there are a few changes, not the least of which is the new concert-ending medley arranged by conductor and scholar Rosephanye Powell. “It ends with a big old honking solo from Brian Hinman, and clapping and tapping, and I think it will… just bring down the house. And at the same time, it sounds like we’re really in a little church somewhere in the south, and they are just having a great Christmas celebration.”