Celtics center Tacko Fall wore a tuxedo for the first time Monday night.
His debut as guest conductor for the evening’s Holiday Pops concert at Symphony Hall.
“I look good,” Fall said. “At least that’s what they say.”
Wearing a spiffy white bowtie and a custom-made, size-48 double-extra-long tuxedo, Fall took the stage after the program’s intermission to lead the orchestra in a rousing rendition of the signature holiday tune, “Sleigh Ride.” He was greeted warmly by the sellout crowd of 2,300, with cheers louder than those that erupted when Tom Brady’s No. 12 jersey was held up during “12 Days of Christmas” one song prior.
The 7-foot-5 (7-foot-6, if you ask him) Fall used a baton gifted to him by Keith Lockhart, who is in his 24th year as the conductor of the Boston Pops. “Congratulations to Tacko!” Lockhart wrote on the cork bulb in green marker.
Fall wasn’t afraid to have some fun on the podium, throwing in a spin move and wiggling his arms later in the song. Both were met with laughter and applause.
“This town has been buzzing about this gentleman — not just because of his impressive stature but also because of the size of his heart and personality,” Lockhart said. “He’s made a big impression in a short period of time.”
Fall said he wasn’t nervous leading up to his performance, having already studied some film from another Boston athlete. In 2010, former Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal conducted three songs with the Pops. Prior to the concert, he also received a brief lesson from Lockhart.
For Fall, the evening’s festivities were just another day in the whirlwind that’s ensued since he signed a contract with the Celtics in June.
“I think about it every night,” Fall said. “I talk to my mom pretty much every day. Some of the conversations we have are like — everything has changed. Everything that has been going on has been crazy, but, at the same time, I always try to sit back, reflect, and always have a sense of thankfulness.”
The Holiday Pops season ends Dec. 31.