Part of what keeps the show fresh is that each year Thompson brings in a new vocalist or guest performer. The guests help flavor the show with their own particular musical styles.
This year, the guest is Heather Masse. She's possibly best known for her many appearances on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion," but Thompson said the well-known comedy/variety show wasn't where he first heard the singer.
"I first heard her with Mark O'Connor's Hot Swing Trio," he said. "I just loved her style, and then after that, I heard her perform with the Wailing Jennies -- just a totally different kind of music. They're more folk."
Thompson said the range of things Masse is comfortable singing was what landed her the gig. He said among the songs they plan to perform is one of Masse's compositions, a song called "Mittens."
"We're also doing a song called 'A Cradle in Bethlehem,'" Thompson said. "Heather suggested it. That was one I wasn't aware of, but Nat King Cole did it a long time ago."
Thompson said he was glad for the input. Each year, it's a challenge to find new material to add to the show.
"We're always looking for new things," he said.
Thompson said the show would feature the entire band, including saxophonist Doug Payne. Payne left the area for Winston-Salem, N.C., several months ago but is making a special trip back to be part of the shows.
"He'll be here with us all week," Thompson said.
It's not a guest appearance, Thompson explained.
"Doug is still in the band," Thompson said. "He'll play with us whenever it merits it."
"Joy to the World" merits it, he said. It's one of their biggest shows of the year.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.