Pope John Paul II will be feted with a concert by tenor Placido Domingo, pop vocalist Deniece Williams, contemporary Christian singer Sandi Patti and Orange County's Pacific Symphony and Master Chorale on his first visit to Southern California in September.
The celebration concert will precede the Pope's Mass at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 15.
"We're absolutely delighted," the Pacific Symphony's new executive director, Louis Spisto, said Friday. "We received an invitation from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles approximately three weeks ago and jumped at the opportunity."
"As we think about preparing for this, it seems like a monumental task," Spisto said. "(The Coliseum) is a very unusual setting that presents some logistical problems. However, it represents a great opportunity for the orchestra to become nationally known and to perform with some of today's most highly regarded artists.
"The musical program hasn't been settled yet. But the orchestra will be featured and will be performing throughout the entire program."
According to Spisto, all the groups and artists have been asked to donate their services for the event.
Spisto estimates that the event will cost the orchestra between $30,000 and $40,000. He said that a fund-raising program is under way to raise the money to cover the costs.