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Commander Riker & His Beard To Host Sci-Fi At The Pops In Seattle

Commander Riker & His Beard To Host Sci-Fi At The Pops In Seatle

"What's the hardest part of being you?" ...and the young man replied "Mustache." Every time I think of that Peoples Court defendant and internet meme, I die a little inside. Why? Because it absolutely kills me. Well, that dude's mustache has got nothin' on the intergalactically renowned facial follicles of one Cmdr. William T. Riker. The Beard, as we like to call it, got almost as much action as Captain Kirk. Almost. Where am I going with this you ask? If you live in Seattle, you have the opportunity to experience The Beard with a backing symphony. The Seattle Symphony, with guest conductor Victor Vanacore, opens the 2011–2012 Seattle Pops Series with a special program dedicated to the music of sci-fi. Aptly called "Sci-Fi At The Pops ", the series will feature the music of Star Trek, Star Wars (never heard of it), E.T. (not the Cheech & Chong version), Avatar, and more. Plus, it's hosted by Jonathan "The Beard" Frakes. The series starts tomorrow (October 13, 2011), at 7:30pm and runs through Sunday (October 16th).

But wait, there's more! Not only will you get to see The Beard in all it's glory, but you'll also get an orchestral version of Michael Jackson's Thriller with a bunch of dancing zombies. The dance group called The Seattle Thrillers will perform to the King of Pop's smash hit. The Beard, Trek scores, Thriller, & zombies?! We're callin' it. That's officially the four horseman of the nerdpocolypse. Check out the full details in the press release below.

FOR RELEASE Monday, October 03, 2011

Victor Vanacore to lead Orchestra in Favorite Science Fiction Music, Including Star Trek, Star Wars, E.T., Avatar, and More


Sci-Fi at the Pops with Special Guest Jonathan Frakes
Seattle, WA – The Seattle Symphony and guest conductor Victor Vanacore open the 2011–2012 Seattle Pops Series with an out-of-this-world program of music from popular science-fiction films and television. Star Trek: The Next Generation cast member Jonathan Frakes will host the program, which includes music from Avatar, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, and Independence Day, as well as a special dance appearance by the Seattle Thrillers. Performances will take place on Thursday, October 13, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, October 15, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, October 16, at 2 p.m. in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall. Tickets are available from $17 to $93.

Victor Vanacore
Grammy Award winner Victor Vanacore has been at the nexus of popular music for more than 25 years. Widely respected for his versatility, he has had a long history of fruitful collaborations with the biggest names in the entertainment industry as a conductor, pianist, composer and arranger. This season, he will lead the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Omaha, and Winnipeg, as well the Florida Orchestra.

As a composer and arranger, Vanacore’s recent work has included the Motown themed “Detroit Soul” for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; “America Then and Now” for the New Jersey Public Television Network; “Spain Meets Birdland” for the Berklee College of Music’s 60th Anniversary; and original neoclassical music based on the texts of Pope John Paul II, which he composed at the request of Placido Domingo. He has also been composing in collaboration with his brother David on the critically acclaimed hit CBS show Survivor. Other television credits include music for the 2005 Academy Awards show, Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, and American Idol.

Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Vanacore began learning the piano at age 6 and wrote his first composition at the age of 8, thus beginning his lifelong fascination with music. As a teenager, he played the piano in nightclubs, shows, and theaters, receiving valuable experience along the way by accompanying Broadway acts, opera singers, and celebrities. After serving in the U.S. Navy Band, he enrolled in the Berklee College of Music, from which he recently received an Alumnus Recognition Award as “one of the top 50 Alumni.”

Jonathan Frakes
In 1987, Jonathan Frakes won the role that would bring him worldwide fame: Commander William Riker on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. During the seven years Frakes starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he helmed eight episodes in all and was invited to direct on the Next Generation spin-offs, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995). In 1996, it was announced that Frakes was to be the director of Star Trek: First Contact. In the years to come, Frakes directed Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), starred in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), and continued to direct in movies and television and act in non-Star Trek roles. Frakes Holds a bachelors degree in theater arts from Pennsylvania State University, and a masters from Harvard University.

About the Seattle Symphony
The Seattle Symphony, now presenting its 109th season, has gained international prominence with more than 140 recordings, twelve GRAMMY® nominations and two Emmys. The 2011–2012 Season is the inaugural year for Music Director Ludovic Morlot, who was appointed to the position in 2010. The Seattle Symphony performs in one of the world’s finest concert venues — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle — and is recognized for its innovative programming, devotion to the classics, and extensive recording catalog. From September through July, the Symphony is heard live by more than 315,000 people. For more information on the Seattle Symphony, visit

Ticket Information
Tickets from $17 to $93 can be purchased by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747 or (866) 833-4747 outside the local calling area, faxing the Symphony at (206) 215-4748, ordering online at, or visiting the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall at Third Avenue and Union Street, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free public tours of Benaroya Hall occur every Tuesday and Friday at 12 and 1 p.m. and depart from the south end of The Boeing Company Gallery, at the entrance to the Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby.


Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 14, 2011, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 15, 2011, at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 16, 2011, at 2 p.m.

Victor Vanacore, conductor
Jonathan Frakes, host
Seattle Thrillers
Seattle Symphony

/arr. Victor Vanacore
The Star-Spangled Banner

Adventures on Earth (E.T. Theme)

Star Trek: The Next Generation

/arr. Nicholas Dodd
Independence Day Suite

Arr. Victor Vanacore
Thriller/Beat It/Thriller

/arr. Bill Holcombe

Superman Returns Suite


Mars (“The Bringer of War”) from The Planets

Arr. Victor Vanacore
Name That Sci-Fi Theme

Battlestar Galactica

/arr. Victor Pensavento
Suite from Avatar

Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

(Source Seattle Symphony)

Bye Bye, Robot: Official Licensed Star Trek Fine Art