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As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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Guest Performances Announced for 'Final Fantasy' Concert

by Judy on April 28, 2005 @ 8:24 a.m. PDT

Square Enix today revealed the appearance of the top Japanese vocalists Emiko Shiratori and RIKKI and the return of MC James Arnold Taylor at the highly anticipated concert, "More Friends -- Music From FINAL FANTASY®." The concert starts at 8PM on Monday, May 16th at Gibson Amphitheater.

The two original vocalists from the theme songs of FINAL FANTASY IX and X and the voice of FINAL FANTASY X character Tidus will add a truly authentic experience to this one-of-a-kind musical event featuring music from the internationally acclaimed video game series, created by composer Nobuo Uematsu. In time for this concert, the soundtrack from the concert series will be available for the first time in the U.S.

The concert will celebrate the U.S. debut of "Maria and Draco," an opera from FINAL FANTASY VI, sung by Stephanie Woodling (Mezzo-Soprano), Chad Berlinghieri (Tenor) and Todd Robinson (Bass-Baritone), as well as the worldwide debut of "Swing de Chocobo," newly arranged by Grammy award winner Arnie Roth. Roth will also conduct the entire concert performed by the World Festival Symphony Orchestra, the CSUF University Singers and the Nobuo Uematsu-led band, The Black Mages.

The concert's composer, Nobuo Uematsu, won admiration for his award-winning music with several sold out performances of the orchestral concert "Dear Friends -- Music from FINAL FANTASY" over the last year. "More Friends" will meld footage from the video game series with live orchestral, rock and pop music. In addition, the original soundtracks "Dear Friends -- Music from FINAL FANTASY" and "More Friends -- Music from FINAL FANTASY" will also be available in the U.S. for the first time at this performance.

Emiko Shiratori, vocalist for "Melodies of Life," the theme song from FINAL FANTASY IX, also wrote the lyrics to the Aerith theme remix, "Pure Heart." Her debut as a solo artist was in 1969, and she was featured in both the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics and the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Emiko also sang the theme song for the Japanese film, "Doraemon," as well as the popular animation series "Moomin."

Japanese vocal sensation, RIKKI, is immensely popular for her traditional Japanese folk combined with pop music sensibilities. RIKKI sings the theme song from FINAL FANTASY X, "Suteki Da Ne." At the age of 15, RIKKI became the youngest ever "Grand Prix" winner of the Japanese traditional folk music awards.

The Black Mages, best known for delivering the epic battle music for the FINAL FANTASY series in a rock style, will join their creator, Uematsu, on stage, bringing an exciting element to the concert performance. Uematsu formed the group two years ago and performs as organist. He named the band after a job class (type of character) found in all of the FINAL FANTASY games.

Special guest MC, James Arnold Taylor, is known by many as the voice of Tidus in FINAL FANTASY X and has had an enormously successful career in every facet of the voice-over industry, including promos, trailers, commercials, animation, video games and voice doubling for celebrities like David Spade and Billy Bob Thornton. He has starred in features such as Star Wars: Clone Wars as Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Animatrix, Comic Book: The Movie, Atlantis: Milo's Return and the English version of Hayao Miyazaki's classic Nausicca.

Tickets for "More Friends -- Music from FINAL FANTASY" are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at 213.252.8497, on the Internet at http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/73787 or at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Citywalk box offices.

For more information on FINAL FANTASY music, please visit http://na.square-enix.com/uematsu/concert/index.html.

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