Audience member conducts ‘Sleigh Ride’, stealing the show in joyful moment

20 December 2023, 16:11

Guest conductor, Tim Schultheis, truly came to sleigh at this orchestral concert...
Guest conductor, Tim Schultheis, truly came to sleigh at this orchestral concert... Picture: TikTok / Hannah Vanbiber

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

When Tim Schultheis won a raffle to conduct The Chelsea Symphony, the orchestra couldn’t possibly imagine the joyful wild ride this guest artist had in store for them...

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

This is the wonderful moment an audience member was invited up on stage to conduct a New York city orchestra during their Christmas concert.

On 2 December, The Chelsea Symphony gave their first holiday concert of the month at St Paul’s Church in the heart of Manhattan. They performed a festive programme including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Christmas Overture and The Night Before Christmas by American composer, Aaron Dai.

In the audience was Tim Schultheis, a former Art Director at Vogue Magazine and broadway dancer, turned teacher.

Schultheis had previously won a holiday raffle organised by the audience. And as his prize, he was invited to conduct the orchestra in a performance of Leroy Anderson’s Christmas classic, Sleigh Ride.

And what a ride it was... watch the exuberant exhibition below.

Read more: King Charles III is a former cellist who once conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra

Audience member enthusiastically conducts orchestra in TikTok clip

Dressed in a kilt, Schultheis moves effortlessly with the music, swinging the baton around his head like a lasso as the piece reaches its iconic ‘whip’ sound moment.

Spurred on by the orchestra, Schultheis brings an infectious energy to the podium, with no less than one full 360 body twirl, a healthy dose of hip-shaking, and a spout of hair-ography that you can’t take your eyes off.

The orchestra however, did take their eyes off him – as the ensemble’s Artistic Director Matthew Aubin admitted on CNN.

Aubin, who was playing the French horn in the orchestra, told the US news channel: “I actually had to look away from [Schultheis] a lot, because he was making me laugh.”

The orchestra’s conductor went on to praise Schultheis, saying: “He was totally uninhibited, he was totally the music!”

Read more: Why do orchestras need a conductor?

Schultheis’ performance was filmed from multiple angles by the audience, and a few videos have gone viral across social media; on TikTok, one video garnered almost three million views.

The guest conductor even got a comment from the big man himself, Santa Claus – a TikTok account with over four million followers – who simply wrote, ‘Wonderful’.

This may just be the start of a truly wonderful conducting career for Schultheis...