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updated: 2/27/2015 11:02 PM

Nimoy was on stage with ESO, last convention in Rosemont

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  • Leonard Nimoy was the special guest at the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's season opening gala in 2008.

      Leonard Nimoy was the special guest at the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's season opening gala in 2008.
    mark welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Leonard Nimoy signed a photo and presented it to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra during his performance in 2008.

    Leonard Nimoy signed a photo and presented it to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra during his performance in 2008.
    Courtesy of Elgin Symphony Orchestra

  • Benedictine University President William Carroll ends every college graduation ceremony with Mr. Spocks words, "Live long and prosper." He's seen saying it here at the December 2014 Benedictine University graduation.

      Benedictine University President William Carroll ends every college graduation ceremony with Mr. Spocks words, "Live long and prosper." He's seen saying it here at the December 2014 Benedictine University graduation.
    Jeff Knox | Staff Photographer

 
 

An orchestra stage might be an unusual place to stir memories of "Star Trek's" Leonard Nimoy, but that's exactly what many across the Fox Valley are remembering after his death Friday.

Nimoy performed with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for season-opening gala in September 2008, when he narrated a performance of Holst's "The Planets" with NASA visuals as a backdrop.

The experience was priceless, ESO first violinist Wendy Evans said.

"Just the sound of voice -- it's so recognizable," she said. "Everybody knows who that is. You don't even have to introduce him because you know it's Leonard Nimoy. It was really inspirational to play the music."

Evans said she didn't have the nerve to talk to him backstage, even though he was approachable and friendly with everyone.

"I smiled at him and wanted to talk to him, but I was too in awe. I got tongue-tied. I kind of regret it," she said. "I used to watch 'Star Trek' in the '80s and I was always a big fan."

Being in the audience that day was also a fabulous experience, said Doris Gallant, who works as director of business administration and human resources for ESO.

"He was absolutely captivating and brought real life to the piece that he was narrating," she said.

Lois Myers-Bauer, a member of the Elgin Symphony League board and its historian, said Nimoy seemed a curious choice to some.

"At first, people who heard about it wondered why him, because he wasn't musically oriented -- no instrument, no violin, no piano, that sort of thing," she said. "But he had a wonderful speaking voice."

She said Nimoy charmed everyone with whom he came in contact during the period for questions and photographs.

"He had the appeal for every generation," she said. "It was unbelievable. Small children, parents, grandparents. I couldn't get over the universal appeal he had."

Myers-Bauer said the ESO executive director at the time, Michael Pastreich, told her that Nimoy happened to have two days free and was willing to make the appearance.

The suburbs also marked Nimoy's last appearance at a "Trek" convention.

"I'm so grateful for the support we have had and the exchange of love that we have had for so many years," he told the crowd in October 2011 at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont.

His parting words? "May each and every one of you live long and prosper," he said, and he flashed the Vulcan sign with the fingers spread into a V.

Benedictine University President William Carroll has carried on the wishes. He has ended every commencement ceremony at the Lisle college with the same "Live long and prosper" line and hand salute for years.

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