Memorial Church at Stanford was magnificent as usual, and packed - with so many people who come to see us year after year.
It;'s a Christmas tradition that we complain about how cold it is 'down' there, but this year it was almost balmy and muggy. That was strange, but probably did help the merch table which is located outside and did pretty well.
From the Department of Contemporary Audience Mores:
On Monday in Chicago a couple got engaged during our Christmas concert - we loved hearing that. We were unaware of this event during the concert, because the guy did not get down on one knee in the aisle during a song. We begin to think that that might not be so strange, these days Last night at MemChu a woman on the front row, in the center, therefore feet from us, KNITTED throughout the concert - an enormous white thing, looked like a blanket, maybe was, maybe she needed to get it done for Christmas. To her credit, she did put down her knitting to applaud. We are used to seeing the odd I-phone light up here and there- and we are aware that sometimes the urge to be on Facebook is irresistible (or, to look on the bright side - and are those screens bright!- perhaps the people in question are talking in real time about how much they like our singing) - but knitting - a first, and, we must say takes the cake. So far... We only hope that the tape for national public radio ( for which the microphones were in front of the knitter) won't contain a background of tiny clicks... Anyway, as we said, we'll take it in the spirit of the season, and also hope that the recipient of the white thing enjoys it! The great thing is to hear people after the concert saying "now Christmas has begun."
The 12 "dudes" of Christmas ( as the paper in East Lansing called us):
Last night at Stanford was the first of 12 concert evenings in California which go from now through December 23. So - for our own Christmas countdown calendar - one of us will tell you something about his Christmas on each concert day, until we arrive at Christmas Eve.
Michael Axtell, bass baritone, on his first Christmas tour, looking none the worse for wear so far.
On the 24th, Michael will be going back to spend the Christmas-New Year break with his family in Illinois. The Axtell family ( Michael, the youngest, brother, sister and parents) celebrate Christmas - eating, drinking opening gifts on the evening of the 24th so that everyone can take it easy and not do dishes and enjoy each other's company on the 25th. It's fitting that Michael be the first on our Christmas countdown calendar since the opening of the Advent Calendar was a subject for contention when he and his siblings were young.