Only a month ago, hopes for hearing local pops concerts this summer were decidedly dim. But last week, a three-concert outdoor summer pops series by the Batiquitos Festival of the Arts, a newly formed North County arts group, was announced. And Hospitality Point pops programming was announced two weeks ago by the musicians of the San Diego Symphony.
The Carlsbad series will feature a 50-piece orchestra--an augmented version of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra--under the baton of music director Donald Barra. The site is a still-to-be-landscaped knoll in Carlsbad's Batiquitos Lagoon Educational Park, a yet-to-be-built complex of schools and university branches on the city's southern boundary. Use of the site has been donated by Rancho Santa Fe resident Don Sammis, whose company is the developer of the proposed educational complex.
At a press conference last week, Barra said that, although the site overlooking the ocean will be able to accommodate as many as 4,000 patrons, he is anticipating audiences of 2,500. On July 19, a concert of show tunes titled "Broadway Tonight" will inaugurate the series, followed by "Hollywood Spectacular" on Aug. 2 and "Shall We Dance?" on Aug. 16.
If the Carlsbad series appears modest in comparison to the nine-week offering by the San Diego Pops, its long-term goals are indeed ambitious. Starting in 1988, the Batiquitos Festival will offer a five-week schedule of symphonic and chamber music, as well as a resident conference for gifted young music students, Barra said.
Violinist Michael Tseitlin, on the music faculty of California State University Los Angeles, will direct the festival's proposed educational programs. Since 1982, Tseitlin has directed the annual summer International Institute of Music in Taos, N.M.
"This summer we are playing only pops concerts as fund-raisers in order to get people out here," said Barra, referring to the windy site on which a temporary canvas shell and wooden platform have been hastily erected. "They're the teasers, but in the future pops music will not be our main thrust."
Last summer, Barra and his ensemble played weekly outdoor pops concerts at Sea World, programming that the park management decided not to continue this season. During the winter, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra maintains two successful classical concert series, one in La Jolla and one in Rancho Santa Fe.