Tired of the rain, heat, humidity and more rain? Chill out with some cool music. As has been the case since the summer of 1979, this is prime time for the Senior Pops Orchestra of Long Island.

The 60-person orchestra is celebrating its 30th anniversary by doing what it does best -- playing free summer concerts. The group has appeared at just about every venue on Long Island, both large and small.

"We've played at Tilles Center and the Staller Center at Stony Brook University," says Rosa Accardi-Santoro, president of the orchestra's board of directors.

"And we've played probably 80 percent of the high schools on Long Island." The orchestra also has ventured from its local roots with concerts at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park and at a 1981 appearance at the White House.

Accardi-Santoro, who is also the orchestra's vocalist, has been with the group for about 25 years. But there are other more senior Senior Pops members.

Violinist Ira Salz, bass clarinetist Howie Jung and cellist Evelyn Carlin go back to the earliest days of the orchestra, Accardi-Santoro says.

The Senior Pops will be appearing next Saturday in a free concert at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater at Eisenhower Park at 7:30 p.m.

The orchestra also will be at Lido Beach under the tent on the concourse on July 14 at 1:30 p.m. (The Lido Beach event is open to Town of Hempstead residents only.)

On Sept. 13, the orchestra returns to Suffolk County Community College's Van Nostrand Theater, Brentwood campus.)

The group's big 30th anniversary concert is slated for Hofstra University's John Cranford Adams Playhouse in the fall.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

As for what you will hear at a Senior Pops concert, Accardi-Santoro says to expect an eclectic mix that includes light classical, show tunes and popular songs with snippets from Wagner, Gershwin and Bond -- James Bond: The theme song from the 007 movies remains a crowd-pleaser.

Accardi-Santoro expects to be singing "Poor Wandering One" from Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance," among other songs.

For musicians who'd like to play with the Pops, the all-volunteer group is looking for string players. (For information on how to join, go to senior pops.org. Click here to connect.)

And the group is going "intergenerational," meaning it is open to all ages. This break from the past is simply coming to grips with an age-old reality.

"Unfortunately, this particular kind of group, which is a senior-citizen group, has a high rate of attrition," AccardiSantoro says.