What 'Jeopardy!' host once lived his dream of conducting an orchestra?

Nov 9, 2020

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek discusses the Man vs. Machine "Jeopardy!" competition at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in 2011 in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Ben Hider/Getty Images

  Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died Sunday at 80 after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly two years, once said he always wanted to conduct an orchestra. He finally got a chance to fulfill that dream 26 years ago with a regional orchestra in western Pennsylvania.

The Deseret News described that night in a write-up from Nov. 8, 1994:

 

He dressed up in bow tie and white tails Saturday to conduct the Greenville [Pa.] Symphony Orchestra for the overture to Gioacchino Rossini's Cinderella. Then he narrated Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. During a Jeopardy! show in May 1993, Trebek mentioned he always wanted to conduct an orchestra but never had an opportunity. Members of the symphony sent him an invitation, and he accepted.

He chose to conduct without a baton, saying the right to use one is like getting money the old-fashioned way: "You earn it."

 

Trebek was no stranger to the genre. His broadcasting career began at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., and he served as a classical music host there from 1967 to 1970. Glenn Gould was a frequent guest, as one fan has archived on YouTube:

 

This article originally appeared on yourclassical.org and is shared with permission.