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  • WDCH
  • Dec. 23, 2003
  • Dakota Fanning Hosts Family Holiday Program Featuring Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Orchestra, Angel City Chorale and Debbie Allen Dance Academy Dancers

    Special Guests Include Debbie Allen, Michael Bublé, Dom DeLuise, Gloria Loring, Monica Mancini, Dianne Reeves and Robin Thicke


    Media support for the 8 p.m. performance provided by The Korea Times

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents "A Merry Mancini Christmas" in two special performances on Tuesday, December 23 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Hosted by actress Dakota Fanning, the family program features Henry Mancini's arrangements of Christmas classics with performances by vocalist Michael Bublé, Gloria Loring, Monica Mancini, Dianne Reeves and Robin Thicke. A special appearance by Santa himself will round out the evening with special guests Debbie Allen, the Debbie Allen Dance Academy Dancers, and Dom DeLuise.

    Decorated with Christmas trees and twinkling lights, Walt Disney Concert Hall plays host to the 77-member Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Orchestra, conducted by Patrick Williams, and the 80-member Angel City Chorale. The program comes from Mancini's gold-certified album of traditional, contemporary and original Christmas songs, two Christmas movies and a performance of "Santa's Last Ride," a story written by Leslie Bricusse, with music by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse. Santa's elves and children in the story will be portrayed by members of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy with Debbie Allen narrating, weaving the story and music together. The evening closes with a sing-a-long led by the children and choir.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's holiday programming for 2003/2004 also includes A Joyous Noise (Boys Choir of Harlem); Holiday Brass (Canadian Brass); Oy, Chanukah (Klezmer Conservatory Band); Sing We Christmas (Chanticleer); and Glory, Glory Glory! (Shirley Caesar Gospel Christmas). Holiday concerts conclude with two performances by Pink Martini on December 31.

    The HENRY MANCINI INSTITUTE ALUMNI ORCHESTRA is an ensemble of musicians who have been part of the Henry Mancini Institute. (HMI). The HMI is an organization whose mission is to nurture the future of music by providing comprehensive professional training and multi-level outreach programs that make a direct impact on people's lives. By providing practical professional experience, the HMI's four-week summer program produces well rounded musicians, equipped to manage their careers and to meet the challenges that await them. Founded by Jack Elliott in 1997, the HMI was created to address the need for professional training for emerging musicians. Honoring the memory of a long time friend, Elliott named the summer educational program after Henry Mancini, one of the most successful musicians/composers/conductors in the history of television and film.

    DEBBIE ALLEN continues to be one of the most versatile talents in the entertainment industry today. The talented and successful actress, director, producer, choreographer, singer, and dancer continues to redefine herself as an accomplished artist. Most recently, Allen has taken the reality television genre by storm, acting as the producer, choreographer, and host of the NBC reality show Fame. The show was one of NBC's highest-rated series, and it has introduced Allen to a whole new generation of fans. Allen has also recently written two children's books, Brothers of the Knight and Dancing in the Wings, both for Penguin Putnam Publishing. She was inspired to write Brothers of the Knight after she staged a musical for the Kennedy Center entitled Pepito's Story, which was loosely based on the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Her most recent Kennedy Center Productions also include Dreams and Pearl, an adaptation of Snow White. In 2001, Allen fulfilled a life-long dream by opening the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, California. Allen's academy offers a comprehensive curriculum for boys and girls ages four to 18 in all the major dance techniques including classical ballet, modern, African, jazz, and hip-hop. In addition, special workshops are held for concentration in the Peking opera, martial arts dance techniques, flamenco, salsa, and tap.

    The DEBBIE ALLEN DANCE ACADEMY is committed to making dance a meaningful experience for all individuals. Drawing upon the diverse career experiences and professional resources of its founder Debbie Allen, the Academy provides rigorous, comprehensive dance training for young dancers. Students are required to maintain solid academic performance while pursuing challenging courses of superior dance training, aesthetic development, and practical knowledge of the business of the performing arts. The development of new works by young choreographers for young audiences is an equally important part of the Academy's mission. Students' participation in the Academy also serves as a means of developing discipline, self-confidence, and creativity. The program also includes field trips to a wide variety of art and cultural institutions, which for many represent a student's first exposure to the richness of the Los Angeles' cultural community. These experiences help Academy members form a personal aesthetic sense as well as promote familiarity and comfort in culturally diverse settings.

    Founded at world famous McCabe's Guitar Shop in 1993 by renowned artistic director Sue Fink, ANGEL CITY CHORALE is proudly celebrating its 10th anniversary. Having started with just 18 singers, ACC has grown into an extraordinary multi-cultural group of 125 men and women that truly reflects the spirit of Los Angeles, the city it calls home. Acclaimed for its broad repertoire and talented soloists, ACC has become LA's most exciting vocal ensemble to see live. The chorale's extraordinary ability to blend a passion for music with a love of performance is truly unmatched. The group's mastery of song across a range of musical genres - from classical to gospel to jazz to folk to pop - has become its hallmark.

    The 13 tracks of MICHAEL BUBLÉ's self-titled debut album announce in no uncertain terms the arrival of a major new talent with a flair for infusing music's most enduring songs with a fresh, original, and utterly unique sensibility. Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bublé began absorbing the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith, Sarah Vaughan, and Rosemary Clooney, with a liberal sprinkling of Stevie Wonder, Elvis, Bobby Darin, and Ol' Blue Eyes. By age 17 Bublé already had a wealth of experience, having garnered first prize at the Canadian Youth Talent Search, recorded and released a series of independent albums, and taken part in "Swing," a traveling musical revue for Red Rock Diner. It was former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, himself a devoted fan of classic pop, who introduced Bublé to fellow countryman David Foster, the multi-Grammy winning producer, performer, and Warner Bros. Records label executive. By the time the young singer performed "Mack The Knife" at the wedding of Mulroney's daughter, the creative chemistry between the fledgling artist and the accomplished producer was complete. Bublé was duly signed to Foster's own 143 Records through Reprise and work began in the spring of 2001 on his major label debut. The result is an album that effortlessly mixes such perennials as "For Once In My Life," "Fever," and "The Way You Look Tonight," with a rousing version of Van Morrison's "Moondance," a surprisingly evocative rendition of the Lou Rawls hit "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," and a performance of the Bee Gees classic "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" - performed with the Bee Gees themselves - that takes its place among the best versions of the much-covered song.

    DOM DELUISE was born in Brooklyn, New York, where graduated from New York's High School of Performing Arts. His first paying acting job was the role of Bernie the Dog in Bernie's Christmas Wish. The young DeLuise spent his summers at the Cleveland Playhouse, appearing in productions like Kiss me Kate, Guys and Dolls, Hamlet, and Stalag 17. DeLuise's New York stage debut came in the off-Broadway production of Little Mary Sunshine. After eight off-Broadway shows, DeLuise starred in the 1968 Broadway production of Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers. His countless guest-star appearances on variety shows led to Dom becoming a regular on The Entertainers with Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart, and enjoying twelve years on the Dean Martin Show before his own show debuted on CBS. A successful motion picture career didn't derail his love for theatre. He has directed a number of productions in Jupiter, Florida including Same Time Next Year with Burt Reynolds and Carol Burnett, Butterflies are Free, Answers with Stockard Channing, Brighton Beach Memoirs with his son, Peter, and the musical Jump, starring his talented wife, Carol Arthur. The consummate entertainer has also performed at the White House, entertaining Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. DeLuise has also become known as a best-selling author, writing two Eat This cookbooks, as well as several well-received children's books.

    DAKOTA FANNING, the youngest actor to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in New Line's I Am Sam, recently wrapped Fox 2000's thriller Man on Fire with Denzel Washington. Fanning is scheduled to begin production opposite Robert DeNiro as his daughter Emily in the psychological thriller Hide and Go Seek. Her most recent film credits include Uptown Girls, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, and Sweet Home Alabama. She has also appeared on numerous television series, including The Ellen Show, Trapped, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Malcolm in the Middle, Strong Medicine, C.S.I., Spin City, and ER. Taking a break from normal character roles, Dakota tackled the part of Allie Keyes who is part alien in the Steven Spielberg Emmy-winner "Taken," a sci-fi miniseries from DreamWorks Television, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the Television Critics Award.

    The daughter of famed film composer Henry Mancini and the notable studio singer Ginny O'Connor Mancini, MONICA MANCINI has carved out an impressive career of her own as a concert performer, appearing with major symphony orchestras worldwide, including the Chicago Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Seattle Symphony and the London Metropolitan Orchestra. She began singing early on as a member of the Henry Mancini Chorus, which led to a successful career in the Los Angeles studios, where she appeared on countless film scores and recordings, with such notable artists as Placido Domingo, Quincy Jones, and Michael Jackson. Her debut CD, simply titled Monica Mancini, found her paying tribute to her father's musical legacy and was the companion to her PBS television special, Monica Mancini: On Record. She has since released two highly successful albums on Concord Records Monica Mancini…The Dreams of Johnny Mercer, and a tribute to film music Cinema Paradiso. Monica has just finished recording her new Concord Records release entitled "Ultimate Mancini" which will contain nineteen of her father's greatest songs, scheduled for release in February, 2004. She will embark on a sixty city tour starting in California on January 9, 2004 and ending on March 26th in New York at Carnegie Hall.

    One of the most versatile singers of her generation, GLORIA LORING has distinguished herself through recordings, concerts, musical theater, and appearances on television. She is well-known as an advocate for people with diabetes and is a spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Her first big break on The Merv Griffin Show led to hundreds of appearances on variety and talk shows such as The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Carol Burnett Show, as well as the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards. Over the years, Loring has shared the stage with top performers including Bill Cosby, Frank Sinatra, Al Jarreau, the Pointer Sisters, and Mel Tormé. She has performed all over North America, in Europe, and enjoyed four sold-out concert tours of Australia. As a songwriter, Loring co-wrote the theme songs for the hit television series Diff'rent Strokes and Facts of Life. In 1980, Loring won the role of Liz Chandler on NBC's Days of Our Lives, her first acting job. Her weekly singing on Days generated a non-stop flow of fan mail and her acting talent enabled her to become one of the most popular actresses in daytime. In 1986, the Days fans assisted in giving Gloria a Number One record, "Friends and Lovers," a duet with Carl Anderson. On the stage, Loring has starred in Blame it on the Movies; Queen of the Soaps, which won a Los Angeles DramaLogue Award; and the San Francisco production of Star Dust, directed by Tony Award winner Henry LeTang. She starred in Tony Award-winner George Furth's Music Minus One, hosted the television series From the Heart, and has been a guest star on prime-time series and movies of the week. Loring is also an author and publisher. After her son, Brennan, was diagnosed with diabetes, she created and published The Days of our Lives Celebrity Cookbook for JDRF. On the lecture circuit, she is known for her inspiring talks, punctuated with music. In 1999, JDRF recognized her with its Lifetime Commitment Award and she was awarded the 1999 Woman of Achievement Award by the Miss America Organization.

    In March 2002, jazz vocalist and recording artist DIANNE REEVES was appointed Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association-a newly established position. In this role, Reeves oversees the scheduling of jazz programming for the Association at both the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall. A Blue Note/EMI recording artist since 1987, Reeves has earned five Grammy nominations. She won consecutive Best Jazz Vocalist Grammys in 2000 and 2001 for her albums In the Moment and The Calling. Reeves' interest in music is rooted in her childhood. As a child, Reeves studied piano, the source of her rich harmonic awareness. At age 16, Reeves put her talents on display when she sang with her high school band at a National Association of Jazz Educators convention in Chicago. Reeves was recently featured with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for several Duke Ellington projects in celebration of Ellington's Centennial. A recording with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony and a concert appearance at Carnegie Hall with Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of St. Luke's were among her many other appearances associated with the Ellington Centennial salute. In 2002, Reeves performed at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The 2002 season finale of HBO's "Sex and the City" also featured an appearance and performance by Reeves. Reeves enjoyed a banner year in 2002, garnering a remarkable array of plaudits and special appearances, which has extended into 2003 with her receipt of an honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music.

    After producing tracks for popular artists like Marc Anthony and Brian McKnight, ROBIN THICKE spent the better part of the last two years crafting Cherry Blue Skies. On the album, Thicke navigates a mélange of musical genres with a consummate skill that belies his young age. The album's title track, with its plea for peace and understanding, was also inspired by the events of 9/11. In addition to the album's more serious fare, there are several cuts sure to heat up any dance floor. With all of its divergent musical currents, Thicke hopes Cherry Blue Skies will usher in a new breed of artist, one with across-the-board-appeal, unencumbered by any musical or social boundaries.

    Having composed well over 180 scores for theatrical features and television films, as well as records and concert works, PATRICK WILLIAMS has received 22 Emmy nominations, fourteen Grammy nominations; he has also been nominated for both an Academy Award and the Pulitzer Prize in music and has received four Emmys, two Grammy awards and a Cable Ace Award. In addition, he is a recipient of the prestigious Richard Kirk Award from BMI and recently received the Golden Score Award from the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. Williams was chosen by Frank Sinatra to act as Musical Director/Arranger-Conductor for his final studio recordings, Duets and Duets II, which sold over six million copies. Williams has also arranged recordings for Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Vince Gill, Thomas Hampson, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Brian Setzer, and Barbra Streisand. Among Williams' critically acclaimed compositions are An American Concerto, a piece featuring a jazz quartet and symphony orchestra, for which he received a 1977 Pulitzer Prize nomination; Gulliver for orchestra and narrator, for which he received a Grammy nomination; and Suite Memories for solo trombone and orchestra, which won a Grammy award. Some of Williams' big band recordings are considered classics of contemporary big band instrumentals, including Threshold, for which he received a Grammy in 1974, Too Hip for the Room (Grammy nomination, 1983), Tenth Avenue (Grammy nomination, 1987), and Sinatraland (Grammy nomination, 1998). Williams has been actively involved in the field of music education holding posts as Visiting Professor and Composer-in-Residence at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado, which awarded him an honorary doctorate. He is currently the Artistic Director of The Henry Mancini Institute.




    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles



    PATRICK WILLIAMS, conductor









    DIANNE REEVES, and ROBIN THICKE, special guests

    WALLIS ANNENBERG and GINNY MANCINI, executive producers

    GAIL PURSE, producer

    BUZ KOHAN, writer

    KEVIN CARLISLE, director

    PATRICK WILLIAMS, music director

    RENE LAGLER, production designer

    ROBERT A. BARNHART, lighting designer

    RAY CHARLES, chorale consultant

    Media support for the 8 p.m. performance provided by The Korea Times.

    Tickets ($20 - $65) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For more information, please call 323.850.2000.

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