NORWALK, Conn. – State Sen. Bob Duff will cross an item from his “bucket list” this weekend when he steps in front of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra as a guest conductor during its annual holiday concert.
“I've always had this strong desire to do it,” Duff said via email. “I've never conducted in a concert setting before, so I may be like a bathtub singer - better when no one is watching or listening.”
Duff will conduct the orchestra in a rendition of “Jingle Bells” at the Holiday Extravaganza on Saturday at the Norwalk Concert Hall. The show will also feature the Men's Choir of Pivot Ministries singing gospel favorites and a performance of portions of Handel’s “Messiah.”
The state senator’s music training goes back to when he was in third grade, growing up in Norwalk. He studied violin and trumpet while going through the school system. Duff later became a member of the Norwalk High concert and marching bands, where he got his first taste of conducting as a drum major. He continued his love of music at college, studying piano and conducting for a semester each.
Duff plans to take a reminder of his time in Norwalk’s schools with him Saturday. Before leaving Nathan Hale Middle School, his orchestra teacher Barbara DiFranco gave him with an old baton, which he plans to use Saturday.
If all goes well, Duff says his “ultimate goal” would be to conduct something grander. In particular, he remembers enjoying conducting pieces such as the operetta “Candide” or the “Mars” and “Jupiter” movements from the Gustav Holt’s “The Planets” in his school days.
“For now, I'm happy with Jingle Bells,” he says.
The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Extravaganza starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Concert Hall in Norwalk City Hall at 125 East Ave.