The Florida Orchestra donned Tampa Bay Lightning jerseys Thursday and broke in rookie conductor (and Tampa Bay coach) Guy Boucher as they recorded a stirring new theme song for the team.
Called Be the Thunder, the song is by Los Angeles-based composer Gregory Smith. It's one of the pieces of the Lightning's $40 million renovation of the St. Pete Times Forum. Smith also has composed recognizable theme songs for Entertainment Tonight, the college football on ESPN/ABC and the theme song of the New York Mets in 1986 when the team won the World Series.
"They're definitely juxtaposing the two ingredients, the hockey team and the symphony orchestra, which I think is amazing," Smith said. "When you take a hockey team and have them dance with an orchestra, which this project does, I think it takes it to a real accessible place."
"We do very pronounced introductions in our building," Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke said in an earlier interview when the song was announced. "We wanted some music that was emotional and stirring, something that excited the fans. This piece and the video that accompanies it will be about the beauty inherent in the bay area and the energy and power and speed of hockey, and it will lead to the player introductions. We think it's going to be cool."
"The crescendo of this piece of music is going to be these lightning bolts that we're going to shoot in the building, if it all works," Leiweke said. "There will be coils that shoot bolts of electricity 25 feet each way. How can you be named the Lightning and not have some effect?"
The song was recorded at the Springs Theater in Tampa. As the orchestra played, Boucher took to the podium for a video that will play on the team's giant video screen as they take the ice this season.
Besides recording the theme song, the orchestra also has a partnership with the Lightning that includes a free educational youth concert at the Times Forum, underwritten by the Lightning. "Some of our players will be involved with that," Leiweke said. "We're going to talk to those students about teamwork. Teamwork applies certainly to hockey, but it also applies to music and making good things happen. This is just the first step of what we hope will be a long relationship with the orchestra."
Information from a previous story by Times staff writer John Fleming was used in this report.