Millennial Entrance


Depending on whom you talk to, the new millennium is still fledgling enough to warrant special attention, or else it was old news before it even arrived. In either case, epoch awareness is in the air.

Now comes the program “Masses for the New Millennium” by the group known as the Gold Coast Concert Chorus, with 110 voices and a 43-piece orchestra performing at the Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo.

The group is led by Kenneth Helms, a familiar face in the Ventura choral scene and a member of the Ventura County Master Chorale, among other musical affiliations. At this concert, add composer status to the list: His “Missa Anno Domini 2000" will be premiered here, as will the “Communion in E Minor” of Terence Minoque, who also orchestrated both his own new work and that of Helms.

Burns Taft, head of the Ventura County Master Chorale, will conduct Helms’ new piece, which was inspired by a European tour taken by the Gold Coast chorus in 1998. This is an area fairly rich in choral music, as we’ll hear again March 18 when the Ventura County Master Chorale teams up with Los Robles Master Chorale and the Conejo Valley Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s grand “Missa Solemnis.”


Gold Coast Concert Chorus, “Masses for the New Millennium,” at 4 p.m. Sunday at Padre Serra Parish, 5205 Upland Road in Camarillo. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 seniors, students and children; 647-6147.


Chamber notes, large and less large: It’s a big week in town for the regionally significant chamber music champion known as Camerata Pacifica. A special concert takes place in the intimate, underused Laurel Theater in Ventura this Saturday night.

Regular Camerata cellist John Walz will be the featured soloist with the Ensemble Con Brio, visiting from Germany. The program is a solid, conservative one, with Walz performing two Haydn cello concertos and the chamber orchestra cranking up the baroque turns of Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor. Mendelssohn’s Octet in E flat, Opus 20, rounds out the program with a smaller-scaled chamber finale.

Camerata, in its 10th season in action, has been dusting off works played over the last decade. Of special interest on this regular-season program, which starts a four-venue run next Thursday in Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West, is the guest artist, classical guitarist Eliot Fisk.

Fisk, who lives in Granada, Spain, and studied with Segovia, ranks highly on the world’s classical guitar scene. His link to the Camerata Pacifica includes both a past performance and, as of last season, a spot on the Camerata board of directors.

In concert, Fisk will perform the music of Bach, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, several solo guitar works to be announced and the Quintet for Guitar and Strings by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

It promises to be one of the worthier musical events of the season here. And speaking of noted classical guitarists showing up in the area, watch for Sharon Isbin at the Ventura Chamber Music Festival in May.


Camerata Pacifica, with guitarist Eliot Fisk, Thursday at Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Road in Santa Barbara; Friday at Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Drive; Saturday at Temple Beth Torah, 7620 Foothill Road in Ventura; and Sunday at Civic Arts Plaza Forum Theater, 2000 Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks. All performances are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25; (800) 557-BACH. Ensemble Con Brio, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Laurel Theater, 1006 E. Main St. in Ventura. Tickets are $25; 961-0571,

Josef Woodard, who writes about art and music, can be reached by e-mail at