For 24 years, the annual Christmas concert presented by I Cantori has become a treasured holiday tradition in Savannah.
This year, the chamber ensemble will present "All The Brilliant Stars In Heaven" twice, on Dec. 6 and again Dec. 8, in two locations: St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Abercorn Street and St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Skidaway Island.
Dr. Robert Harris, the choir's founder and director, describes this year's program as "shining carols, brilliant composers and sparkling sounds."
The program includes both advent and Christmas compositions. There are well-known carols on the program, but there also will be seldom-heard Christmas music.
"We are singing 'The Shepherds' Farewell' by Berlioz, a soaring 'Magnificat' by Arvo PÃ¤rt and a haunting 'Ubi Caritas' by Gjeilo," Harris says. "The overall program is very diverse for the listener and challenging for the singers.
"It's one more magnificent, wonderful choral concert we want everyone to come to," he says. "It's kind of a little bit different.
"One of our goals when we first formed was to find new music to be performed. There are a number of glorious, beautiful pieces by composers who are still alive who have a hard time getting heard."
Harris has assembled some of those gems for the concert.
"People want something familiar," he says. "But at one time, people didn't like Beethoven because he was new."
The concert includes compositions by what Harris calls "heavy hitters."
"Arvo PÃ¤rt is Estonian," he says. "His music was neglected until the Iron Curtain came down, but he has been writing choral music for the better part of 50 years."
Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo is just 36 years old.
"His music is lush and absolutely gorgeous, but the fact that the guy is still fairly young and still alive makes it hard for his music to get played," Harris says. "We have a number of pieces by living composers I think people will really enjoy once they get there."
The second half of the program will be a travelogue.
"We will have familiar carols from Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, the Caribbean, Spain and three sort of American ones," Harris says. "We just get all over the place."
The title of the program is a line from one of the carols: "Fum, Fum, Fum" from Spain.
"It's lively, kind of like imitating a drum," Harris says. "It's a lot of fun.
"These are a wonderful array of international arrangements," he says. "We like to think people who come to our concerts will hopefully have a merry little Christmas."
There are 24 singers in the choir, and tickets can be bought from any of them, online or at the door.
"There's nothing to be afraid of in this concert," Harris says. "It is really some delightful, inspiring choral music."