New York Voices has been singing Christmas songs with its tight vocal harmonies for nearly all of its 25 years, but this is the first time they finally got around to recording them.
The album "Let It Snow" was released in October, and those seasonal tunes will fill the quartet's performance with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra Saturday for "A Tuneful Holiday."
"A lot of this repertoire evolved over the years, a lot of it through our symphony gigs," Darmon Meader said. "The newest one is only a couple years old, and there's one we've been doing since 1991. It's a wide variety of stuff that's evolved slowly over the years. In the early days, we never thought to have a holiday program. We'd throw in one or two."
The group's holiday repertoire continued to grow, and they started appearing with the Boston Pops for its holiday program in 2005. Meader said they finally had the time to get in the studio with an orchestra and do a Christmas album right. "Let It Snow" is the Voices' second release this year. "Live with the WDR Big Band Cologne" was released in March.
New York Voices - Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian and Lauren Kinhan - started as a quintet and signed its first record deal in 1989. Meader, Eldridge and Nazarian have been there from the beginning and Kinhan joined in 1992.
The group plays jazz clubs with just a rhythm section in addition to performing with big bands and orchestras. Meader said the holiday shows are fun because they bring out a new and different audience.
WHAT: "A Tuneful Holiday" - Youngstown Symphony Orchestra with Randall Craig Fleischer, conductor, and New York Voices
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Powers Auditorium, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $55, $50 and $40. Tickets are available at the DeYor Performing Arts Center box office and by calling 330-744-0264.
"They might not head out to the jazz clubs," he said. "That's one of the reason the Christmas repertoire works so well in a symphony setting. The songs for the most part are familiar. We add our jazz sensibilities to it, but we haven't tried to reinvent the wheel, and the warmth of that four-part harmony resonates with people."
Saturday's concert came about after the quartet sang last year with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., which was conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra's conductor and music director.
"We loved working together, and he said, 'I want to bring you to Youngstown,'" Meader said.
Saturday's concert will include "Let It Snow," "I Wonder as I Wander" and the group's "Merry Medley" featuring "Man with the Bag," "I'd Like You for Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."
"We shy away from the ones that are campy," Meader said. "There's no 'All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.'"