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Captive Audiences: How Many Tickets can one Singer Sell?

Peanut never lacks for an audience because he expects everyone he encounters to pay attention to him.  Perhaps we singers need to take a lesson from him and have higher expectations of our friends and family to attend our choral performances.

Choirs understand that they have great built-in audience potential living in their singers’ address books.  How many friends and close family does each choir member have?  10? 20?  Our goal is to make sure that when we perform, all of those people are IN THE AUDIENCE.

So what should we expect from our singers?   And how do we overcome resistance?  Here’s a look at some of the obstacles and solutions to this problem:

Provide Advertising Materials — This seems like a no-brainer, but most choral organizations are multi-generational; the younger members want on-line information and the older singers like a nice shiny postcard or flyer.   Don’t discount the appeal of a printed card placed a store window, and don’t be surprised if one of the sopranos invites her grandchildren using an email.

Provide Several Purchase Portals — More and more people purchase tickets to events online, but when you are dealing with family and friends, they may need a little help.  A telephone ticket hotline might just be the convenient factor that reaches your new tenor’s Grandpa.

Provide Enthusiasm — Sometimes chatter is your best advertising.  Encourage singers to talk about their upcoming concert and to be open about their love for the music.

Provide Encouragement — People love to be invited to events.  Studies show that almost half of all people who attend concerts were invited by someone else.  Don’t think of it as selling tickets, think of it as extending invitations.

Provide a Culture of Participation — Positive reinforcement is the name of the game.  We’re not talking about contests, or shaming the slackers.  Our best tactic may be to recognize and praise those who do a great job.

Provide Training — Consider investing 15 minutes per concert to simply review ticket prices, purchase options, marketing materials and even a script of talking points.

The bottom line is that singers want that big audience as much as anyone else.  They may not realize how much power they have to make that a reality!

Long Beach Camerata Singers will be performing Handel’s Messiah on November 30 and December 1, 2018.  Tickets can be purchased for $30/$45.  Click HERE to visit our website.


A Busy December for Camerata

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: 

Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra Holiday Concert:

Long Beach Symphony Holiday Pops!:


A Bit About Carmina Burana

Why is Carmina Burana so popular?  Perhaps it is the simple, repeated melodies, and the insistent rhythms.  It is also the connection between past and present, the yanking of  early medieval poetry into the present day and the universality of the human experience that we discovered in the process.  Here’s a little background on the composer and the piece in advance of Long Beach Camerata Singers’ April 22 performance.

Carl Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer known mainly for his cantata Carmina Burana and his large contribution to music education. While Orff was not the most prolific composer of his time, Carmina Burana would become one of the most celebrated and performed works in recent history.

In 1934, during the approach of World War II, Orff happened upon an 1847 edition of a manuscript entitled Carmina Burana (Latin for Songs of Beuern) by Johann Andreas Schmeller which consists of medieval poetry and satirical texts that were written in Latin and German by a group of nomadic, defrocked clergy known as the “Goliards.” The contents of the manuscript were filled with dramatic texts depicting nature, love, lust, and above all, fate and fortune. Orff embraced this literature and recognized an opportunity to create a large-scale work which would become the famed Carmina Burana, subtitled “Cantiones profanae” (profane songs), a staged cantata for orchestra, chorus, soloists, and dance ad libitum. The work was composed in 1936 and premiered in Frankfurt on June 8, 1937.

The work is divided into three main sections, framed by an opening and concluding chorus in praise of Fortuna, the goddess of fate. In the first section entitled ‘Primo vere’ [In Springtime] the arrival of spring with its sunshine and fresh breezes awakens the whole world with new life. In ‘Uf dem Anger’ [On the Green] the village boys and girls, in particular, respond with quickening desire to the enticements of courtship and dance. The question is left open: how best to find love in this season in which everything seems to be bursting anew? In second section, ‘In taberna’ [In the Tavern], the men sit deep in their cups, rather oblivious to the springtime that is unfolding around them. A baritone sings with bitter pathos about the ruin he has made of his life and in a grotesque parody, a tenor sings the dying lament of a Swan being roasted on a spit. It is a fool’s paradise and a singer proclaims himself the Abbot of all this folly. The men are inebriated and sing rousing choruses calling for the entire world to join them in their toasts to dissipation. In the final section, ‘Cour d’Amours’ [The Court of Love] the power of love prevails. It proves irresistible as Cupid, the God of Love, is said to fly everywhere. “Young men and women/ are rightly coupled.” In a joyful climax a young woman submits to the power of her lover’s full embrace and the chorus sings a final hymn to Venus, the Goddess of Love.

After its successful premiere in Frankfurt, Orff said to his publisher: “Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin.” Orff lived long enough to see Carmina Burana become one of the most recognized works in the anthology of choral repertoire. And though he had originally scored this cantata for full orchestra and chorus, in a display of shrewdness and savvy, he also approved for the arrangement of the work for chorus, soloists, two pianos, and percussion to allow smaller ensembles the opportunity to perform the piece.

Tickets to Camerata’s performance of this important work can be purchased at

Recognition to Joseph Kim for his illuminating program notes, from which this post is largely derived.

Lady Violet’s Dower House Sells for $9,000,000 in 2015

Lady Violet is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, gallery-1431373612-byfleet-manor-1smallwhich means that when her son, Robert, married Cora, she was no longer entitled to live in the Abbey.  By custom, the mother-in-law of an aristocratic family lives in the Dower House.  If you have been keenly observant in your DA watching you have seen many shots of that luxurious abode.

Turns out that the house that was being used for the filming, Byfleet Manor,  gallery-1431375969-byfleet-manor-8actually sold in 2015 for close to $9,000,000.  The purchase included several adjacent properties.  According to the listing by Savils, “The Manor House in Byfleet, Surrey is the major portion of an exceptional Grade II* residence and home to Maggie Smith’s character Lady Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey. The main part of The Manor House is a beautiful and unique eight bedroom historic property which offers over 6,000 sq ft of living space and comes with four reception rooms and around 19 acres. ”

The estate has quite a history, as well: gallery-1431376000-byfleet-manor-9 “The history of Byfleet Manor extends as far back as the 7th century and is first recorded in 1086 in the Domesday Book, while Byfleet Manor as it stands today was built in around 1686. Pevsner recorded his observations about Byfleet Manor enthusiastically; “A great surprise, with its small-scale formality and mellow bricks; in fact one of the most attractive late C17 houses in the county.”


Please join the Long Beach Camerata Singers for their upcoming concert, “The Music of Downton Abbey,” on October 2 at 4:30pm.  Performed at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, California, your ticket price includes “Cream Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls to enhance your concert experience!  Click Here to purchase tickets.DA Card

If you purchase a season subscription (3 concerts or more) you will be treated to the “Lady Violet Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room.  Click Here to purchase subscriptions.

For more information about “The Music of Downton Abbey” please visit our Website.

“The Music of Downton Abbey:” Stanford’s Magnificat in G

Downton_Front-v3Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform Charles Villiers Stanford’s “Magnificat in G” at their upcoming concert,  “The Music of Downton Abbey.”   Today’s post is excerpted from the concert’s program notes, prepared by Matthew Netto.

Charles Villiers Stanford was born in Dublin, Ireland, to a musical family. He showed early promise as a composer, organist, and conductor, which gained him entrance to Cambridge University at the age of eighteen. 220px-stanford-bassano-1921Before Stanford even completed his undergraduate degree, Trinity College appointed him to the position of organist. Stanford’s teachers remarked on his incredible grasp of musical forms and throughout his life he composed pieces for nearly every musical form and ensemble, including over thirty grand large-scale choral works.  Stanford spent his career teaching composition at the Royal College of Music, where he mentored Herbert Howells, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.  All of these composers are represented in Camerata’s upcoming concert.   Stanford’s colossal compositional output of choral works both large and small form the foundation of today’s Anglican Service Music.

The Magnificat in G exhibits Stanford’s dramatic flair and sensitivity to textual nuance. The “Magnificat” text is an Evening Canticle and is also known as the220px-church_of_the_visitation_img_0650 Canticle of Mary. Canticles are songs explicitly attributed to figures in the Bible as being sung. Mary sings these words after the archangel Gabriel informs her that she will give birth to Jesus. Stanford opens the Magnificat in G with a solo soprano to represent the Virgin Mary. To expose the joy she experiences, he gives her soaring vocal lines in the upper portion of the soprano range. The chorus follows her closely repeating her words for emphasis.  Click Here to listen to a recording of this piece.

Please join the Long Beach Camerata Singers for their upcoming concert, “The Music of Downton Abbey,” on October 2 at 4:30pm.  Performed at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, California, your ticket price includes “Cream Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls to enhance your concert experience!  Click Here to purchase tickets.DA Card

If you purchase a season subscription (3 concerts or more) you will be treated to the “Lady Violet Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room.  Click Here to purchase subscriptions.

For more information about “The Music of Downton Abbey” please visit our Website.


Enjoy “The Music of Downton Abbey” in Long Beach

title-sequencePeanut has spent many a drowsy Sunday evening on the couch watching “Downton Abbey.”  He particularly likes the opening shot of the the Earl of Grantham’s dog — a beautiful lassie, he says.

During that opening shot, of course, we hear the iconic Downton Abbey theme.  You can read my blog about the composer, John Lunn for more information about this song.  Now you can enjoy this piece — and many more — in Long Beach Camerata Singers‘ upcoming concert, “The Music of Downton Abbey.”

DA CardBritish choral music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is considered some of the most dynamic in musical history.  The flowering of the choral art in England during that period was funded by aristocratic families, such as the characters of Downton Abbey.  This music would have served as the “real life soundtrack” of the Earl of Grantham and his family.

We are very pleased to feature a special arrangement of the Downton Abbey Theme, “Did I Make the Most of Loving You.”  Piano, organ, violin, solo voice and chorus will bring this iconic and memorable piece to life for our audience.

No Downton Abbey Violetdowagerencounter would be complete without the commentary of the matriarch of the family, and this concert is no exception!  Our own “Lady Violet” will be in attendance and will have quite a lot to say about modern times, the music and the manners of Artistic Director, Rob Istad.

The natural companion to your Downton Abbey experience is afternoon tea and we have partnered with Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls for this concert.  Your ticket includes a complimentary CroppedImage627423-Afternoon-Tea-medium-3“Cream Tea” at the tea house.  If you purchase a subscription (3 or more concerts) they will treat you to the “Lady Violet Tea,” which includes tea, scone, accoutrements, sandwiches and dessert.  Mind your manners and pinkies up!

ChefTech Cooking School in Bixby Knolls has also joined the fun.  They will be offering a class in the preparation of Afternoon Tea.  Learn how to prepare all the elements of the meal — and then consume them after the class.  It will be offered one time only, on October 1, price $65.  Click Here to register.

Click Here to purchase subscriptions, which include the “Lady Violet Tea.”

Click Here to purchase individual tickets to “The Music of Downton Abbey,” which include the “Cream Tea.”


Peanut Says Check Out Camerata’s Upcoming Season!

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.32.11 PMThe Long Beach Camerata Singers has announced its 2016-2017 Season, its best ever as it spends the year celebrating the accomplishments of Artistic Director, Rob Istad.  Here are the highlights:

THE MUSIC OF DOWNTON ABBEY:  IMG_3403If you loved the PBS series and crave English Choral Music, this is the show for you!  You will hear the series theme plus many other familiar and important pieces.  Chuckle as our own “Lady Violet” trades barbs with Rob Istad!  Sunday, October 2, 4:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater

HANDEL’S MESSIAH:  A Holiday tradition for Long Beach.  One of the most important and enduring pieces in the choral repertoire is performed with an orchestra and top soloists.  Sunday, December 4, 4:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater

A CAMERATA CHRISTMAS:  Our Christmas gift to you!  This family-friendly concert will feature your favorite holiday songs and sing-a-longs, Santa Claus and a big cookie reception after.  Saturday, December 17, 3:00pm, Los Altos United Methodist Church

MONTEVERDI’S VESPERS OF 1610:  IMG_3409Rarely performed, this piece shattered the traditions of the past and propelled western music into the future.  Accompanied by Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra.  Sunday, April 2, 4:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater

BACH AND JAZZ AT THE SKY ROOM:  Hear local favorite Anne Walsh perform variations on Bach pieces plus Jazz Standards at the Iconic Sky Room.  Ticket includes wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Sunday, April 9, 5:30pm

CAMERATA GOES BROADWAY:  Rob Istad is sure to have a few surprises at this, his last concert with Camerata.  Wine, buffet, silent auction included.  Saturday, June 3, 6:30pm

Use this link to purchase subscriptions or single tickets:

Use this link to sign up for auditions: