By Lizz Vensas
The Grand Rapids Symphony completed the long journey to drop “The Ring” into the fires Mount Doom this month. The showing of “The Return of The King” marked the end of its three year run of providing a live score to the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The films series was accompanied by the symphony chorus and youth chorus. Performing twice as long as a normal performance, all members had their work cut out for them accompanying Haywood Shore’s epic score.
The effort was met with a standing ovation from an enthusiastic crowd.
The live music put new life into the well-known movie.
Scenes were enriched with the powerful live score, a strong string section went to battle with their instruments and the brass section infused intensity into fight scenes.
With conductor Ludwig Wicki at the helm, both the youth and adult choruses seamlessly leant their voice to heighten audience emotion.
Two soloists, Kaitelyn Lusk and Elisabeth Keen held their own taking over the roles held by singers Annie Lennox and Renee Fleming who sang the film’s original score.
It is hard to determine who, if any part of group exceeded another.
The most well-known songs of the movie, such as “Concerning Hobbits,” were performed to perfection by flutist Christopher Kantner with Judith Kemph on whistle.
Performances aside, there is one certain reality about attending the movie at the Devos Performance hall. It was like being in a giant movie theater.
Visually it was exciting to see the movie projected on the massive screen across the stage. The surround-sound speakers brought the event attendees into middle earth.
However, it was still like being in a giant movie theater. Regular attendees to the symphony dealt with a different crowd: a father explaining scene-by-scene what is happening to his ten-year-old daughter, and members of the back row lighting up a joint. But those small irritants are equally outweighed by the spectacular performances on stage.
The experience was memorable, providing a unique night out for members of the Grand Rapids community.
It is not yet known if the Grand Rapids symphony will continue to present music with movies.
Popularity growing over three years led to sold out shows, bringing family and friends together to enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale of triumph over impossible odds.