Lili of Phoenix, one of the guest musicians at the Phoenix LOTR concert, wrote her impressions of the event:

I would like to submit my review of the Phoenix concert on May 26. I had a unique perspective because I was one of the guest musicians on stage! What an experience. Nothing in my 33 years of musical experience could top those 2 days. One of the reviews mentioned that musicians received orchestra music 4 – 6 weeks in advance. The musicians in Phoenix got theirs 2 weeks ago. I got my music last Friday. Howard’s score is complex with many meter changes and unusual harmonies and chord progressions. Technically not too difficult, but a bear to put together.

I arrived for the orchestra’s first rehearsal on Tuesday morning to the strains of Gondor’s Theme and Hobbit music as the musicians warmed up. Our 3 hour rehearsal allowed us enough time to run the entire piece once and then fine tune a half dozen spots. I have listened to the LoTR’s CD’s so many times I knew what everything “should” sound like and the morning rehearsal was a bit rough. I know there were many musicians not familiar with the music and they were doing their talented best at it. The soprano soloist as well was having a hard time. The biggest difficulty I felt for everyone was coming in at the correct time, there are so many tempo changes that it was difficult to anticipate the next section of music. Tuesday evening brought another 3 hour rehearsal but this time with both choirs as well. This again was another run through and 6 or 7 finer points addressed by Mr. Mickelthwate. The orchestra had a little more confidence but some of the playing was still tentative.

We are all spoiled by listening to the movie Cd’s that probably entailed hundreds of hours or rehearsals and Howard Shore right there to clarify and conduct the London Symphony. What you saw Wednesday night was after 6 hours of rehearsals. Yes the orchestra and choir had much room for improvement and no doubt a few extra rehearsal were needed, but the symphony is already preparing for their next concert.

It was an absolute joy for me to have the opportunity to perform the music I love with gifted musicians that could take marks from a page and bring tears to your eyes. But the best part? The audience response at the end. The standing ovation and cheers made me feel like a part of a community. All of us were in this huge hall for one reason. To share the love of a piece of art; the music, the movies, the books.

These works of art are important pieces of our lives and help to keep us sane and grounded in these crazy times. Please continue to support the arts in our lives and our country by going to concerts and shows, insisting on arts education in schools (every musician on that stage started playing/singing as a youngster) and demanding funding for the arts from you local, state and federal government. Think of what the next generation of artists/musicians will create.