by Danisha Pulley, contributor
Space: the final frontier. Since the beginning of time, humans have been questioning whether we are alone in the universe. “Star Trek” took on that question with an expansive universe of its own. From Captain Kirk to Captain Archer, the “Star Trek” series made its mark through time and space. Full of a crew ready to explore the unknown, the Enterprise set sail in the early ’60s, marking the beginning of a fandom as vast as the universe itself.
50 years later, an orchestrated tribute is traveling across the U.S.A., bringing “Star Trek” fans, known as Trekkies, together for a night of music from the series. “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage,” which took place on Saturday, Jan. 30 at The Fox Theatre, was not only a night of music, but one of memories, inside jokes, touching moments and an ending for the stars.
I was delighted to attend this event — I grew up with “Star Trek” in my life, from the time I was a wee child. Having the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds that marked my childhood excited me to no end. The venue was equally thrilling: The Fox Theatre is grand and expansive, flaunting a beautiful stone exterior and a fantastic open interior. The stage was designed with ellipses, blues, purples and silvers, reminiscent of the bridge of a starship. Above the stage was a giant screen depicting the celebratory words of the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek.” Many people attended, some dressed in gowns, dresses and suits, and others dressed in shirts based on those worn by the crew from “Star Trek”.
After the lights dimmed, the orchestra bowed before the audience and began to play a tune that was all too familiar to me. What followed was the voice of a male narrator, welcoming us to space and the journey that we would experience. The images on the screen were vivid and colorful, depicting space in all of its glory. We were then led through the crews of “Star Trek” and their experiences: their struggles and fears, their laughs, their loves and their journeys throughout the universe.
For a Trekkie like myself, the scenes and sounds of “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” brought back memories. When the music would swell to the ceilings and fill the theatre, I was reminded of how those sounds would travel down the hall and into my room. When the sounds would fall before looping back up, I would recall the days I spent sitting on the edge of my parents’ bed, popsicle in hand, learning about the worlds outside of the one that I knew. For a newcomer like my friend who attended the concert beside me, the experience sparked enthusiasm, curiosity and appreciation.
The orchestra played with passion. From the audience you could see the way they swayed to the music with excitement and energy as they dove and rose to the beautiful sounds they created. The conductor was full of energy, as well, and enthusiastic, lifting his arms to the sky to lead the music along the right path. Every song came with a feeling of its own, leaving those of us watching and listening breathless and in orbit.
This tribute to “Star Trek” was beautiful, elegant, exciting, emotional and somewhat mystical, a musical journey through “Star Trek,” from the original crew up until the recent reboot. “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” not only travelled through time and space, but into one of our greatest questions — “Are we alone in the universe?” — with one of the greatest answers: “Maybe not.” It was truly the ultimate voyage.