The doofus rube without a clue (that'd be me) shuffled up to the stage yesterday for a public display of wretched orchestral conducting in front of 4,000 people.
It may have been the most fun I've had while humiliating myself in years. I've done some odd things in my career at The Herald — flown with the Blue Angels and the Canadian Snowbirds, interviewed royalty, sat through a Papal Mass — but this one takes the cake: I was a guest conductor for the Monterey Bay Symphony at its Memorial Day Concert at the Naval Postgraduate School.
It got off to a bad start; someone had stolen my conductor's baton. But I was able to improvise with a pair of chopsticks I happened to have with me.
Fortunately, the orchestra and the folks at the symphony were gracious and indulgent. They were, in fact, very sweet about my public embarrassment.
Many thanks to the symphony, to Ron and to the musicians. And I apologize to music fans, to the Arts Council and to the Naval Postgraduate School for klutzing my way through "Stars and Stripes Forever."
To witness the carnage yourself, see the video produced by Peri Basseri and BigTime Productions at www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRG1HRIX35A