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Grammy and Academy Award-Nominated Singer, Writer, Actor, Producer And Director Seth MacFarlane Makes His Orange County Debut Performing Timeless Holiday Classics
Orange County, Calif. — November 20, 2017
It’s a new, heartwarming, humorous and delightful way to celebrate the holidays when “Family Guy” creator and highly talented vocalist, Seth MacFarlane, makes his Pacific Symphony debut. MacFarlane arrives just in time to share tunes from his award-winning Christmas album, “Holiday for Swing,” an homage to the great albums from the ’40s and ’50s, celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. MacFarlane’s remarkable, lush baritone delivers sophisticated interpretations from the Great American Songbook, performed in the style of the greats—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. The festive evening, led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, also features special guest Gavin MacLeod narrating “The Night Before Christmas,” as well as a very merry audience sing-along and a surprise or two!
“Celebrate the Holidays with Seth MacFarlane” takes place Friday-Saturday, Dec. 22-23, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Single tickets are $49-$169. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
“Christmas is such a special time of year on so many levels,” says Maestro Kaufman, “especially during these challenging times, the music of the holiday season reminds us of all the good that exists in the world. On the first half of the concert, we will present music that lifts our spirits with joyous sounds of this very special time of the year. The fantastic Pacific Symphony musicians will be playing memorable music of Christmas and Hanukkah, both familiar and new, and there will be a chance for the audience to raise their voices in song with the orchestra!”
The concert opens with holiday tunes by the orchestra that set the tone for a night that is anything but silent. On the first half, the audience will be treated to treasured favorites: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Chanukah Overture” and “Silent Night,” as well as two narrations by veteran actor Gavin McLeod (best known for his role as Murray Slaughter in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Captain Merrill Stubing on “The Love Boat”): first, a captivating reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” then another for the musical piece, “Still, Still, Still.” The program also includes “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells,” when the audience is invited to sing along as the orchestra plays.
“It’s been a number of years since Gavin McLeod has joined us,” says Kaufman, “and we are thrilled that this extraordinary performer is returning. Gavin’s history in the entertainment field is amazing, whether in films, television or on the stage. The classic story, ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ as told by him, is an experience not to be missed! And he will be accompanied for another reading by a beautiful piece of music called ‘Still, Still, Still.’ Having him as part of the performances will truly make this a memorable Christmas celebration.”
And that’s just the first half of the concert! The second half, of course, spotlights the multi-talented MacFarlane, a singer who could have lived comfortably in the era of big bands. While MacFarlane has been of late cultivating his magnificent voice and love for singing, he is perhaps best known for writing, animating and producing the hit TV show “Family Guy.” He has since multiplied his accomplishments by creating two more animated series, “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show”; releasing feature films “Ted” in 2012 and “Ted 2” in 2015 (both written and directed by MacFarlane); and hosting the Oscars in 2013, when he was also nominated for the original song, “Everybody Needs a Friend.”
While MacFarlane doesn’t reveal his concert program in advance, he’s sure to be channeling his Sinatra obsession and sing from his record, “Holiday for Swing!” A recreation of the snazzy holiday albums of Old Blue Eyes, it is a full-bore Sinatra tribute with arrangements steeped in the work of Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins. A talented mimic of Sinatra’s cadences, MacFarlane plays it straight, even when he’s camping it up for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Other tunes on the album include, “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “Christmas
Dreaming,” “Let it Snow,” “The Christmas Song” and other holiday favorites. The evening is certain to deliver a retro salute to the holidays that’s authentic and thoroughly entertaining.
After a performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, critic Lynne Menefee wrote: “It was a fabulous evening of entertainment, full of humor and beautiful music. The show put a spotlight on Seth MacFarlane’s formidable voice, and his respect for the genre and the arrangers. He revealed an unexpected sweet and sentimental side of himself that is belied by a sense of humor that takes no prisoners...”
Before “Family Guy,” MacFarlane was a kid who was obsessed with John Williams’ film scores and acted in local productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He grew up to study music with the best and became a lifelong fan of big band tunes and full orchestras. He possesses a gorgeous, rich baritone and has studied the masters. For the past several years, MacFarlane has been singing American standards with the world’s best orchestras. He appeals to all types and ages, even those who are not fans of his TV shows and films. No one can deny that MacFarlane is very humorous and can really sing.
“I love and am fascinated by exciting orchestration—what you can do with a band that size—and I think in many ways it’s a lost art,” MacFarlane says of his musical passion.
His work as an orchestra front man has earned him two Grammy nominations: in 2011 for “Music Is Better Than Words,” which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes jazz charts, and for 2015’s “No One Ever Tells You.” In additional to Grammy nominations, this over-achiever garnered the Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice in 2000 for “Family Guy” and the Emmy Award in 2002 for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for “You’ve Got a Lot to See” from “Family Guy.” In 2013, he earned the People’s Choice Award in the favorite movie category for “Ted,” and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Reality Series for his show, “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey” in 2014.
The Symphony’s Pops series receives support from The Westin South Coast Plaza, K-Earth 101 and PBS SoCal.
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