Actor, director de Lancie to narrate La Sierra holiday concerts
Nov. 25, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) La Sierra University is holding consecutive holiday concerts next month which will be narrated by an award-winning actor and director perhaps best known for his iconic role on “Star Trek.”
John de Lancie, who played the powerful ‘Q’ on the popular television series, is also an accomplished symphonic narrator who will narrate a performance for La Sierra University’s annual “Candlelight Concert” on Fri., Dec. 6, and its “Sounds of the Season” extravaganza at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside on Sat., Dec. 7.
For both concerts, de Lancie will perform “The Christmas Story According to St. Luke” by Robert Wagner along with the university orchestra, chorale and chamber singers. La Sierra’s Interim Director of Choral Studies Lesley Leighton will direct the work. de Lancie appears at La Sierra through Leighton, a long-time colleague and friend. She first met de Lancie and his family during the early 1990s when they were all performing with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Opera and other groups.
The “Candlelight Concert” will feature classical and spiritual works with orchestra and choral groups, while “Sounds of the Season” will incorporate performances by La Sierra’s Big Band, a jazz combo, trombone choir and saxophone quartet.
de Lancie, a Philadelphia native whose father was a celebrated principal oboist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, has narrated performances with a number of the nation’s top symphonies. They include the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, with the Oberlin Orchestra, he narrated the world premiere of the symphonic poem “The Sneetches,” based on the Dr. Seuss book.
In addition he has written and directed 10 symphonic plays, 90-minute, fully staged, orchestrated productions. Together with “Star Trek” actor Robert Picardo, de Lancie created a Trek Concert Experience that has been performed with metropolitan orchestras in the United States and Canada.
A graduate of the Juilliard School’s drama program, de Lancie’s numerous feature film roles include those for “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,” “The Fisher King,” and “Taking Care of Business.” He played the character of ‘Q’ in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Star Trek: Voyager,” and appeared in many other television shows including “The West Wing,” “L.A. Law,” “The Practice,” and “Touched by an Angel.” de Lancie has also performed many radio broadcast roles and provided voice talent for characters in animated series.
His theatrical credits include membership with the Seattle Repertory Company, the American Shakespeare Festival, the South Coast Repertory and other theater groups. de Lancie has performed or directed numerous plays for L.A. Theater Works, the producing arm of KCRW, KPCC and National Public Radio. He wrote, directed and hosted “First Nights,” a fully staged adult concert series at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic that explored the lives and music of Igor Stravinsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Mahler and other classical composers.
He recently returned from a national tour of the “Scopes Monkey Trial” with actor Ed Asner where he played Clarence Darrow, and just completed production of a documentary that sheds light on the growing fan phenomenon surrounding the animated television series, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” de Lancie plays the character of Discord in the series.
La Sierra’s “Candlelight Concert,” a holiday tradition for 66 years, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the La Sierra University Church, 4937 Sierra Vista Ave., Riverside. Admission is free. The program includes choral performances, sing-along carols, spirituals, scriptural readings, orchestral works by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Claude Debussey, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and a sing-along of “Hallelujah Chorus” by George Frideric Handel.
“Sounds of the Season” at Riverside’s Fox Performing Arts Center begins at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $45, not including processing fees, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.foxriversidelive.com/shows, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or from the Fox box office at 951-779-9800.
The Saturday evening concert will include the La Sierra University Big Band performing “Winter Wonderland,” a gospel rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and other tunes of the season. The program lineup will include sing-along carols and an orchestra performance of “Sleigh Ride,” Tchaikovsky’s “Valse des fleurs” from “The Nutcracker” ballet and other works.
Leighton and La Sierra University Orchestra conductor Dean Anderson are new arrivals this year at La Sierra. Leighton is also associate conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, artistic director of the Los Robles Master Chorale, and music director of the New West Symphony Chorus. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral music from the University of Southern California. She is also an accomplished principal soloist who has performed with many of the world’s most eminent conductors among them Zubin Mehta, music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and former director of the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics, Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and his renowned predecessor Essa-Pekka Salonen.
Anderson is also music director of the Dana Point Symphony and of the Fullerton College Symphony. He has held past music director positions with the Orange County Symphony, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, the Missouri Youth Symphony, and the Stephens College Theater Orchestra. He has guest-conducted orchestras in various parts of the world.
Anderson’s credits include work with such famed artists as Smokey Robinson, Manhattan Transfer, John Tesh, Jimmy Hopper, Lincoln Mayorga, Arlo Guthrie and Dick Dale.