Falletta was doing what a conductor should - concentrating on the orchestra in front of her. No wonder it took her
a few seconds on Sunday to realize someone behind her was motioning for a try.
playfully directs an orchestra after making remarks during ceremonies
marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in Jamestown,
Va., Sunday, May 13, 2007. [AP]
"Smiling at me kind of devilishly," Falletta said.
She gave him her baton and
Gesturing exuberantly, the president led the orchestra during part of its
performance of "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"We didn't expect him to know the score so well," Falletta said afterward.
"He was not shy about conducting at all. He conducted with a great deal of
That was the music played for Bush's exit after his speech at a ceremony
commemorating the founding 400 years ago of Jamestown, America's first permanent
Just before the music ended, Bush turned to Falletta, who stood on a step
below him, kissed the top of her head and left without saying a word.
The 400-strong orchestra was made up of about 50 members of the Virginia
Symphony, plus musicians from youth orchestras around the country. The switch in
conductors was impromptu, said Falletta, the symphony's music director.
"I think he may have just been seized by the desire to conduct the
orchestra," she said.
Falletta did not spot Bush until alerted by a musician.
"I'm embarrassed now that I didn't notice him, but I was just thinking of the
music," she said.
Bush stepped onto the podium and took over.
The musicians were impressed by how musical Bush was, Falletta said. "He was
cueing the brass, he was cueing the percussion, he kept the tempo going," she
Bill Fearnside, a violinist with the Virginia Symphony, put down his
instrument and picked up a camera to record the moment.
"It was a little shocking, but it was fun," Fearnside said.