Florida orchestra expertly pranked their British conductor who was expecting ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

2 June 2021, 11:20 | Updated: 2 June 2021, 11:21

Florida orchestra expertly pranked their British conductor who was expecting ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’
Florida orchestra expertly pranked their British conductor who was expecting ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. Picture: The Florida Orchestra

By Sian Moore

Orchestras are known for their tricksy ways. Here’s the time a leading US ensemble pranked their British conductor in the best way...

We’ve seen orchestras pranking their conductors on their birthday with some suitably ceremonial music, and even a world-class soloist who expertly outsmarted an orchestra that tried to trip them up.

Now, here’s another orchestra prank for the ages. As music director Michael Francis raised his baton for a rehearsal of the US national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, he awaited the familiar strings and clash of cymbals.

But... they never came. Because that day, the Florida Orchestra had decided to prank their British maestro in wholesome, musical style, by playing a completely different national anthem.

Read more: What are the lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner?

Positively beaming behind their instruments, the musicians instead sweep into England’s national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’, and Francis’ reaction is priceless.

Taken completely off guard, the overwhelmed conductor places a hand over his heart before miming along to his homeland’s patriotic song.

As he takes in the unexpected rendition, he gives the encircling musicians an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Even while across the pond, this orchestra knew exactly how to give their conductor a musical hug from home.