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by Ed Masley, The Republic | azcentral.com

The Phoenix Symphony will have a very special guest conductor on Opening Night for the National Anthem, kicking off the 2012-13 season with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the podium.

The six-time Pro Bowl veteran will conduct the National Anthem on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.

Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals Football Club, says, "The Phoenix Symphony is one of the Valley's great cultural assets and the Cardinals are thrilled to be involved in the opening of the 2012-13 season. We've all seen Larry Fitzgerald perform on the field but we can't wait to see him in this new role of guest conductor."

Symphony CEO and President Jim Ward adds, "We are grateful to have such a talented athlete and respected member of the community both on and off the field join us as we open our exciting season. Like many of us, Larry Fitzgerald realizes the importance of supporting all the great entertainment options Arizona has to offer from sports to the performing arts."

Following Fitzgerald's guest appearance on the podium, Opening Night continues with guest conductor Sarah Hicks and award-winning violinist Elena Urioste in a program that includes the symphonic dances from "West Side Story," the Overture to "Candide" and Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

Reach the reporter at ed.masley@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4495. Twitter.com/EdMasley