Thousands of Harry Potter fans gathered at the Hollywood Bowl on June 29 as the Philharmonic Orchestra brought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to magical, musical life. The show was part of the global Harry Potter Film Concert Series tour and the fifth Harry Potter film installment at this location. Dressed up in character costumes and Hogwarts house robes, fans gathered under the stars for more than just a movie; we were there for an immersive, live experience celebrating the Harry Potter fandom.
If you are fresh out of Felix Felicis potion and haven't been lucky enough to attend any of the Harry Potter films in concert yet, you might be asking what’s so remarkable about these shows. As one of your Harry Potter Fan correspondents, SYFY WIRE sent me to investigate!
As many Harry Potter fans know but often forget, the music is what brings these movies to life and binds this magical world together. We so often forget to take the time to consider the careful depth, attentive details, and hard work that goes into every spellbinding note of each film. The Harry Potter in Concert series not only provides an opportunity to visually watch each individual instrumental sound take shape on the stage in front of you, but allows the viewer to line it up with the film as you watch it. This offers a whole new appreciation for productions in the arts. You might even be inspired to pick up a flute or learn to play the harp yourself.
But before the event began, I was granted a special opportunity to step backstage and interview Sarah Hicks, who would be our conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra for the evening's performance. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, Hicks proves a charming, multi-talented individual with an influential story of defying the odds and pursuing your passions.
In her youth, Hicks was a talented concert pianist until an injury forced her to switch directions and settle into conducting. Hicks says the music world is far more accepting if you are good at what you do and show up confident, ready to go, and ready to work. As a Potter fan herself — and a fellow Gryffindor — she explained the uniqueness of the Harry Potter concerts.
"There's more of a universe to the Harry Potter series, where people come dressed in costume and cheer for their house pride during these shows," she says. "It's nice that there is a world that everyone can enter, and be a part of here."
The Hogwarts pride is so strong that select members of the Orchestra represented their houses by wearing robes during a rehearsal. Hicks had her own Gryffindor scarf waiting backstage, guarded by her adorable little Papillon dog Pinkerton.
Fans of Harry Potter tend to establish quick friendships, and this event was no exception. We sat down and discussed how our mutually favorite film score is from the third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and dived into our appreciation for Harry Potter's beloved master of cinematic scores, John Williams. Hicks recalled that she once did a gala concert in honor of Williams, during which she had the opportunity to conduct Harry Potter music with him in attendance.
"I wasn't nervous; it was just another week on the job where a composer I adore just happens to be there," she explains.
While conducting, Hicks pushes all her emotions aside to remain focused on a variety of highly detailed screens and visualizers to keep the orchestra in time with the film. Nevertheless, she highly encourages fans to be involved in the emotions of the films, cheering for their favorite characters or shouting and booing at the villains together.
This event, brought together by CineConcerts, provided more than a viewing of a movie we've all seen on repeat. It was a safe event space for the community to meet new friends, loudly shout our anger at Umbridge, and express our gasps of admiration at a Patronus charm.
Be sure to check out the list of future dates and locations below as CineConcerts continues its world tour of the Harry Potter film concert series. To learn more about the film concert series, visit www.harrypotterinconcert.com