Camerata Singers' Messiah (copy)

Dr. James K. Bass conducts the Camerata Singers in a performance of Handel's "Messiah," at the Beverly O'Neill Theater.

Members of the Camerata Singers tackle some of the hardest chorale music in the world — Handel's "Messiah," for example.

So what's going to happen when the ensemble takes on the landscape of popular music? Fans will find out Saturday afternoon, June 1.

That's when the final concert of the year, an Evening of Song, invades the Beverly O'Neill Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Camerata's last concert has always been a bit different, and include the nonprofit's fund-raising auction.

But artistic director Dr. James K. Bass and board president Jan Hower decided to go a step further, adding film and TV director Michael Lange as the guest emcee. Lange has directed more than 250 television shows to his credit, including "Bones," Criminal Minds," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and more. In addition to interacting with Bass and the choir, Lange has promised to share some Hollywood stories with the audience.

Camerata has become more experienced at working with other artists in recent years. The group now is the official chorus of the Long Beach Symphony and partners with Musica Angelica, the baroque ensemble that calls Long Beach home. In fact, a week after the Evening of Song, Camerata will join the Long Beach Symphony for its performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and its "Ode to Joy."

The relocation to the O'Neill Theater is new this year — the theater now is the Camerata's performing home, a major improvement over the Long Beach City College auditorium it had been performing at, at least in terms of amenities. The Evening of Song had been at the Daniel Recital Hall at Long Beach State University. Now all of Camerata's events will be at the O'Neill.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday for the group's renowned silent auction in the theater lobby. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase from the theater concessions.

At 5 p.m., the performance begins on stage. Hower promises a "stroll through musical landscapes," with contemporary compositions putting the spotlight on Camerata members with solos, duets and small ensembles as well as the power of the full 90-voice chorus.

Tickets still are available for the evening. Cost is $30 each for general seating, and $45 for preferred seating. Go to for tickets and more information.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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