Larry Fitzgerald suits up, overcomes jitters to lead Phoenix Symphony.
By CRAIG MORGANFS Arizona
TEMPE, Ariz. – Larry Fitzgerald admitted to a bit of stage fright. But this was no ordinary performance for the
Cardinals wide receiver. On Thursday, Fitz swapped his familiar No. 11 jersey in favor of a tuxedo as he conducted the national anthem at the Phoenix Symphony.
“I was nervous, but it turned out to be a lot of fun,” Fitzgerald said Friday. “We’ll have to do it again.”
The Phoenix Symphony approached team president Michael Bidwill with the original idea, and Bidwill came to Fitz, who OK’d it immediately.
“Everybody knows the Phoenix Symphony is one of the best in the country,” Fitzgerald said last week. “It’s a tremendous honor that they’d want me to be a part of it.”
Fitzgerald, whose varied off-the-field interests include photography, travel and international charitable causes, joked that he was doing all he could to perfect his skills before the performance, which included a rehearsal on Tuesday
“I’ve been watching YouTube videos of conductors late into the night to see what they actually do,” he said before the performance. “I don’t want to make a fool of myself.”
Following Fitzgerald’s guest appearance on the podium, Opening Night continued with guest conductor, Sarah Hicks, and award-winning violinist, Elena Urioste, in a program that included symphonic dances from West Side Story, the Overture to Candide and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
“The whole experience was amazing,” Fitzgerald said. “I already posted a picture from last night and I’m going to post a bunch more today.”
Fitz'a performance earned a stellar review from Jim Ward, CEO of the Phoenix Symphony.
"Larry Fitzgerald brought the same intensity and exceptional play that he displays on the field to the podium of the Symphony last night," Ward said. "He proved that he is the greatest community advocate the state of Arizona has to offer. We are very grateful that he took the time and effort to support the arts in Arizona."