play first chair

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play first chair

To function as the leader of a particular section in a band, or of the band as a whole. Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. I remember there being a lot of pressure when I played first chair for the university's chamber orchestra, but I loved the thrill of the spotlight and the responsibility. The conductor wanted me to play first-chair brass for the foreseeable future.
See also: chair, first, play

play first chair

 
1. to be the leader of a section of instruments in an orchestra or a band. (More literal than the following sense.) Sally learned to play the violin so well that she now plays first chair in the orchestra. I'm going to practice my flute so I can play first chair.
2. Fig. to act as a leader. I need to get this job done. Who plays first chair around here? You're not the boss! You don't play first chair.
See also: chair, first, play