Join us for an afternoon of revelry, music, English pub fare and fundraising in support of Long Beach Camerata Singers’ 2024-2025 Season!

Learn about the programs we have planned from Artistic Director, Dr. James K. Bass.

Be prepared for surprises as we showcase our upcoming April Catalyst concert, “Music of the Bard.”

Story By:

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — From a young age, Jacob Boland says he has had a passion for music. After being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Boland says music was a way to express himself.

“I started singing in my school choirs when I was eight in elementary school. Through high school, I was in the beginning men’s ensemble and worked my way up into the advanced mix ensembles,” Boland said.

Now at 22 years old, Boland is continuing to pursue his passion and is now a member of the Long Beach Camerata Singers.

[FULL STORY]

GF Handel, like most composers of his era, borrowed and recycled musical themes on a routine basis.  Today, we would consider the practice at best, distasteful, and at worst, plagiarism.  But in Handel’s time it was a sign of respect.

As we know, “Messiah” was composed in just 24 days.  Part of the reason Handel was able to accomplish this remarkable feat is that four of the major choruses in the oratorio were “repurposed” from earlier work that the composer had done.

In the beloved Chorus, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” Handel not only borrowed music from one of his earlier compositions, he pretty much lifted in intact and just set it right down in the middle of the Messiah score.  The original composition was a duet for 2 Sopranos, an allegro movement from HWV 189, a short cantata called “No, di voi non vo’ fidarmi” or “No, I do not want to trust you.”  This piece was composed in 1741, shortly before Handel began work on Messiah, but it harkens back to his Italian sojourn in the early eighteenth century, when these vocal miniatures established his reputation as an up-and-coming composer.  Click Here to listen to a performance of the duet, beautiful and a bit bizarre in its original incarnation.

Stranger still, Handel was not done borrowing from this particular cantata.  The final movement of the cantata is another allegro section and yes, you guessed it, was also reincarnated into the “Messiah” oratorio, this time morphing into “All We Like Sheep.”  Use the same link as above to listen, but advance to 3:35 seconds to hear the second allegro.

If borrowing twice is successful, why not do it again?  And again still? Source material for “His Yoke Is Easy” and “He Shall Purify” was supplied by Duetto XV, HWV 192, “Quel fior che all’alba ride” or “That flower that laughs at daybreak.”  Again, the borrowing is deep and extensive.    Listen Here to this beautiful music.

Regardless of how he got there, we can only be grateful that GF Handel composed this great, enduring piece of music.

Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform Handel’s Messiah with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra on Friday, November 30 at 7:30pm, and again, on Saturday December 1, at 3:30pm.  Both performances will feature a pre-concert lecture one hour before the concert.  The Beverly O’Neill Theater is the venue for these events.  On Saturday, a holiday sing-a-long will kick off the afternoon.  Tickets are $30 and $45.  Click HERE to learn more and purchase tickets

December is typically the busiest month of the year for choral musicians, and this year is no exception for the fine singers of Long Beach Camerata Singers.  As the reputation of the group and of choral music grows in our area, the calendar has become crowded with concerts and performance engagements.

First up for the holiday season, is Camerata’s own performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on November 30, 2018 and December 1, 2018.  Marking the 11th annual mounting of this holiday classic, this is the first year that two performances will be offered.  The Friday event will take place at 7:30pm at the Beverly O’Neill Theater.  On Saturday, the concert will start at 3:30pm with a short program of Holiday music, featuring the Long Beach Youth Chorus.  The audience will be encouraged to sing along with the program.  Musica Angelica Baroque orchestra will accompany the chorus for both concerts, and top-flight soloists have been contracted to perform with the group.

No rest for the singers!  The following week Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform with Musica Angelica again — this time at their holiday concert.  The singers will appear in the second half of the concert, as the two groups collaborate to present Handel’s “Ode to St. Cecelia,” the patron saint of music.  Again, two performances will take place, the first on Saturday December 8, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater and the second at Zipper Hall at the Colburn School on Sunday.

Long Beach Camerata Singers is always excited to perform with the Long Beach Symphony, and they will have the opportunity to do so on December 22, when they collaborate for the Holiday Pops! concert.  These immensely popular concerts take place in the Long Beach Arena, as friends and neighbors gather to dine and visit before the concert.

Please join us for all of these events!  Tickets can be purchased as follows:

Long Beach Camerata Singers presents Handel’s Messiah:  https://longbeachcameratasingers.org/lbcs/handels-messiah/ 

Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra Holiday Concert:  https://www.musicaangelica.org/events/

Long Beach Symphony Holiday Pops!:  http://longbeachsymphony.org/browse-concerts/2018-2019-pops-series-become-subscriber-today/

In a recent interview with the Artistic Director of Long Beach Camerata Singers, Dr. James K. Bass, we discussed his approach to the group’s upcoming performance of Carmina Burana:

Peanutsez:  What makes Carmina Burana an enduring favorite?

Dr. Bass:  First of all, the piece has a special combination of rhythm, melody and imagery.

PS:  Imagery?

DB:  Yes!  First there’s the big beginning, “O Fortuna,” and then we are immediately introduced to the imagery of spring — the magic of the forest and first love.  Next is the tavern scene — in taberna — with all the images of drinking.  You know, drunken abbots, dozens of toasts, and the swan roasting on the spit.  Finally, we enter the Court of Love, populated with Greek Gods and their “higher” feelings.  The whole thing is a prescription for musical perfection!

PS:  What does it take to reach this music perfection?

DB:  Carl Orff composed the piece in such a way that there is nothing superfluous.  The ideas are repeated, albeit in an old german/latin dialect; the melodies are short and memorable and the rhythmic qualities are strong and appealing.  This music is easily consumed by the ear and the heart.  It is accessible to all levels of music lovers.

PS:  As Artistic Director, what interpretive choices have you made?

DB:  First, I decided to use the version written for 2 pianos and percussion.  This allows us to take the tempos faster and make the piece more exciting.  Also, I want to elicit an emotional response from the audience, so when a key moment or phrase occurs, I can choose to make it last longer, to make it louder or to make it softer, all for emphasis.

PS:  What do you want your audience to take away from the performance on April 22?

DB:  First and foremost, I want our audience to rejoice in the music, to take pleasure in the human voice as it touches the human heart.  I hope this performance will provide a “sonic meal” of different sounds, a live, high-fidelity experience.

If you would like to hear more from Dr. Bass about our performance of Carmina, please join us on Tuesday, April 17 at 3:30pm at the Long Beach Airport Holiday Inn for “Orff Revealed.”  Click here to reserve your free seat: https://longbeachcameratasingers.org/lbcs/carmina-burana-2/

To purchase your ticket for Carmina Burana on Sunday April 22 at 4:30pm, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, click here:https://longbeachcameratasingers.org/lbcs/carl-orffs-carmina-burana/

It’s a good thing that Peanut wasn’t GF Handel’s dog — he never would have put up for being ignored during that 3-week period when the master composed Messiah!  You can see that Mr. Peanut is ready for the holidays in this photo, wearing his little hunter’s cap. The little guy is surprisingly good natured about having his photo taken! Here’s some interesting trivia about this beloved piece for your reading pleasure:

  1.  Messiah is rich with vast effects derived from simple means,  along with beautiful melodies and the insistent rhythms that are characteristic of the Baroque era, easy to love and hard to forget.
  2. The Music gains extraordinary intensity through the Baroque compositional technique of “word painting,” in which the flow of notes in the music actually seems to replicate a shape or contour that the words describe.
  3. Papa Haydn, always generously praising the merits of other composers, called Handel “der Meister von uns allen,” or  “the master of us all” at a performance of Messiah. But Beethoven, who was far more grudging with his approval, used almost the same words—“der unerreichte Meister aller Meisters,” “the unequalled master of all masters.”

  4. The association between diva soprano and the soprano solo role in Messiah extends more than a century earlier, back to the legendary Jenny Lind, who barnstormed the U.S. as a Barnum-sponsored headliner in the 1840s. On one of her transatlantic crossings, the Swedish Nightingale asked the ship’s captain to wake her before dawn, without specifying a reason for her request. At the appointed hour, she stood with him at the ship’s railing as the sun rose over the waters and sang “I Know My Redeemer Liveth.”

  5.  Handel’s Messiah continues to exert a very real influence upon modern composers.  Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, composed in 1971, brings together music, dance and diverse religious and secular traditions in a way that owes much to Handel.  Andrew Lloyd Webber—like Handel, a master of theatrical craft in music—wrote a requiem mass as his only full- scale classical work. Paul McCartney, too, ventured into oratorio with his only classical work, The Liverpool Oratorio.

    This year will be the tenth annual performance of Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.  The chorus will be accompanied by Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra
    Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-373-5654.  Sunday December 3, 4:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater