One by one, members of the Long Beach Camerata Singers file into rehearsal on a Tuesday night, the room growing louder as their energetic conversations bounce off the walls. In a matter of moments and with a flick of the wrist from artistic director James K. Bass, their voices come together to form a wave of breathtaking harmonies.
On Oct. 7, the singers will perform during “The Hope of Loving”, a choral event exploring the nuances of how we show love as a society. There are a hundred different, subtle levels to the word “love,” but we never discuss them individually, said Bass, who directs the 90-voice choir.
Bass is hoping to change that during this performance, which is the second iteration under the Camerata Peace Project, an annual occurrence and Bass’ brainchild, examining performance art as a vehicle toward peace. This time, love is the subject.
Pieces from a variety of composers will be presented during “The Hope of Loving,” from Mozart to contemporary works written within the last 18 months, with narration by Councilwoman Suzie Price.
One work to be performed is the inspiration behind the name of the event, contemporary American composer Jake Runestad’s “The Hope of Loving,” which has six movements taken from poems inspired by the notion that love is humankind’s most valuable resource. Runestad is expected to attend.
“I’m probably most drawn to it, it’s very beautiful and it’s string quartet and choir only so you’ll get the beauty of the strings and hear all these beautiful texts which have been translated in English,” Bass said.
A community roundtable discussion preceding the performance is open to ticket holders as well as the public and will encourage conversation around faith-based love, how love is shown to the ill or injured, forgiveness and healing as a form of love, self care and acceptance as love, and more.
The panel will be moderated by Price and made up of individuals who are engaged in “Acts of Love” through their professions or their work with organizations, including former First Lady of Long Beach Nancy Foster, Executive Director of EXP (formerly ITEP) Amy Grant, Trauma Program Director for LB Memorial Medical Center Desiree Thomas, Covenant Presbyterian Church Pastor Rob Langworthy, and founder of Mentoring a Touch from Above Melanie Washington.
The idea for the Peace Project was inspired by the choir itself, Bass said. It seeks to promote social change on one level and place audience members more in touch with ideas on peace and how to create it. This is the second of three years the group has committed to the project.
“All of us that come to sing, this organism, this choir, once we get into rehearsal you lose whatever religious and economic status you have, nobody cares anything about that, the questions maybe asked are, ‘Are you tenor 1 or tenor 2?’ So we come to this peaceful process over the performance of vocal art.”
Bass said he hopes the concert encourages audience members to contemplate the concept of love and caring even after the performance ends.
“At any Camerata concert we first want them to come and hear beautiful singing,” Bass said. “But we’re hoping that they will leave their chairs and they’ll go back to their homes and start a conversation.”
The event begins at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the Arena lobby, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. General admission is $30. For tickets and more information about Camerata Peace Project II, visit the website here.