Drum News
Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

Madeleine Albright and Billy Kilson during Chris Botti concert
photo credit: Andy Ezrin

The Chris Botti concert on Valentine's Day at the Kennedy Center was memorable one, especially for former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who attended Monday night's  concert as a special guest of the Washington Performing Arts Society.

To set the stage, Albright is a huge fan of jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti. The two met at last month's state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao; Albright was a guest and Botti, the after-dinner performer. Soon after Albright was invited to the Valentine's Day concert.

Before the show, Albright visited backstage to say hello at which time Botti asked her to join him on stage for the encore. The fact that Albright has never played a musical instrument, let alone the drums, didn't stop her from accepting: "I thought about it for about 10 seconds and said 'yes'."

During the concert, Botti told the audience that Albright was in the house and dedicated "The Very Thought of You" to her. The crowd was even more surprised when she strolled onstage, sat down behind the drums, and proceeded to play-along to "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera, "Turandot." Her drumming, one continuous drum riff, received a standing ovation — and within hours, a cellphone video popped up on YouTube (see below).

This isn't the first time someone has taken over the drum chair from drummer, Billy Kilson. Says  Kilson's manager, Paula Crafton, "Chris Botti sometimes has a celebrity from the audience sit in with Billy. Madeleine Albright was a great sport and had a ball!"