It was about a week before the show when I found out my mother decided to surprise me and my best friend with tickets to a symphony. It was the Florida Orchestra, accompanied by 3 or 4 choirs and 2 soloists, playing selections from Lord of the Rings; I couldn’t have been happier. It was simply a random act of kindness.

            Wednesday (Feb 21st) rolled around quicker than normal, but the day itself seemed to drag on forever. Everything I did that day seemed neverending and mundane. But finally the moment came. My friend Dan and I escaped the world and all of its obligations in a Blue Toyota Matrix; destined that night only for St. Pete and the Mahaffey Theater. With windows down, the blaring of some of our favorite songs, and that highway speed that only serves to thrill, we were on our way.

            We arrived and changed clothes, transforming from rebellious teenagers to sophisticated s with style. But with a ling ering teenage strut, we sauntered into the theater without so much as a single glance backwards. For no reason at all, this was our territory. We walked upstairs, found our seats, and waited for the show to begin.

            Growing restless, we decided to take a look around the theater. Somebody said there was free cheese-tasting somewhere, so we were all for it. We made our way to the patio, passing the cheese table and grabbing some samples on the way. But right then, we heard the voice above warning us the show would start in 5 minutes. We took our seats.

            They played some of the best that night, with songs that brought back memories of the Rivendell, Rohan and Mordor. And, as the songs of the Shire surrounded us, even the young man inside me was moved to tears. There were two soloists: a young lady and an even younger boy – both with voices of gold. And the choirs behind the symphony only served to make the whole experience truer and more real. As if all this preparation and setup wasn’t enough, they had a giant projection screen with a slideshow of Lord of the Rings artwork which corresponded with the pieces they were playing. To finish it off, they had just the right lighting and timing – Frodo’s in the Shire, reading a book under a tree and the green of life surrounds the orchestra. Now Gandalf is fighting the Balrog and the entire orchestra is awash with reds and oranges.

And then…over. What? Is this the end? When the music stopped and the crowd stood up after only an hour, without warning of an intermission, we mistook the symphony to have finished. Surprised, we asked our neighbors of late who replied that it was only an intermission. Upon this relieving news, we went out of the theater and headed for the patio and some fresh air.

It was a beautiful night outside; the hesitant twilight only just crawling away into darkness. We walked to a bench, and with a gorgeous breeze blowing in from the bay, we allowed our hair to be swept back while we felt like kings of the world. It was a moment untouched with words while we sat in a quiet silence. Looking up, the city lights pushed away the stars, but there just enough holes in the night sky to add a touch of beauty to it all.

            And again, the voice from above came with warning and we went back for the second half. It wasn’t possible, but the second part was just as good, if not better. The entire symphony burst forth with the beautiful woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings which, alone, reach beneath the surface, but together, create a moving work of art that reaches to the depths of your soul.