Halloween at Hogwarts – The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

 

Halloween at Hogwarts – The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a show put on by The Phoenix Symphony, which they appropriately named “Halloween at Hogwarts.”

For the two or three people who probably won’t understand what this entails, it was a musical performance by The Phoenix Symphony themed around Halloween and, more specifically, the Harry Potter movie series (I say “movie series” because there was no music in the books that I can recall). I would normally refer to a performance such as this as a concert; however, I’m calling it a show because there was much more to this event than just instrumental music. The music was also accompanied by the world renowned magician, Matt Roberts, who has appeared multiple times at Boston’s Symphony Hall, is a two-time Emmy nominee with over 30 TV spots, and had an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show.

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The Symphony held a costume contest after the show, which many happily participated in. Professor McGonagall and two of her favorite students, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.

Now, to be honest, I was a bit skeptical when it came to having a magician performing during a live orchestral performance. I felt it would take away from the magic of hearing live John Williams-composed music, but I’m confident enough to admit when I’m wrong. The theme was already a brilliant idea, mixing a magic show in with a magic-themed concert, and the music and magic complimented each other so well and blended so seamlessly that I was able to get lost in both.

The story behind Matt Robert’s performance is that he was a magician who was essentially trying to send a magical highlight reel in to the faculty at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry so that he could join their ranks as a teacher. To be accepted, he had to perform 7 tiers of magic in front of the audience and, if performed successfully, he would receive an acceptance package from Hogwarts in a perceivably empty mailbox that was located to the right of the stage. I’ll admit that I was a bit hung up on the fact that parcels are typically delivered by owl in the wizarding world, but I suppose the books took place in the 90’s and Hogwarts had to change with the times. Magic mailboxes must be the magical equivalent of muggle emails.

Musically, The Phoenix Symphony’s orchestra was flawless. Every John Williams composition was executed perfectly. One of the biggest surprises of the day, for me, was how  the Harry Potter-themed performance actually contained more than Harry Potter music. There was “Hedwig’s Theme” of course, essentially the Harry Potter movie franchise’s theme song, “The Chamber of Secrets”, “Aunt Marge’s Waltz” (The song from Prisoner of Azkaban when Aunt Marge is blown up like a balloon), “Fawkes the Phoenix”, “Dobby the House Elf”, and “Harry’s Wonderous World”. There were a total of 13 songs performed, which means that the 6 songs from the Harry Potter movies consisted of less than half of the entire performance.

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Moaning Myrtle and Professor Trelawney stopped by as well.

The other songs performed included “L’apprenti Sorcier” (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) which you might recognize if you’ve ever seen Disney’s Fantasia, “Hexenritt” from Hansel and Gretel, and a few additional pieces from various operas. Thanks to this show, I now know that the song “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt is the name of the song that usually accompanies some sort of drink-spilling montage in commercials. Who knew!?

Overall, it was an amazing experience where I was able to enjoy 90 minutes worth of instrumental music and magic tricks. Matt Roberts did a fantastic job of speaking to the audience and pulling children onstage for assistance to exemplify a family-friendly experience. The orchestra’s conductor, Matthew Kasper, was very professional and had a charisma about him that almost made you want to walk up on stage after the performance and try to be his friend. By the end of the show, I found myself rooting for the magician, Matt Roberts, to receive his parcel in his magic mailbox with an almost childlike sense of reverie. The Phoenix Symphony puts on one heck of a show, and I would highly recommend their events to anybody with an appreciation for live music and entertainment. You better believe I’ll be one of the first in line for their upcoming Pixar show!

*The drawing “Harry Potter” was done by Gumbercules. All other photos are thanks to The Phoenix Symphony.

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The trumpet section of the orchestra was ready for Halloween!

Gumbercules, or Gumbers for short, is a nerd that was est. in 1987. His interests include writing, drawing, playing guitar, singing in the car, PC and PS4 gaming, and talking about how he works out anytime he manages 10 push-ups in a day. He is also one of the founding members of Brostalgia, a YouTube series that you can find on our very own YouTube page, http://www.YouTube.com/TheGeekLyfe. Be sure to check out his and Powerforce's videos!

Gumbercules, or Gumbers for short, is a nerd that was est. in 1987. His interests include writing, drawing, playing guitar, singing in the car, PC and PS4 gaming, and talking about how he works out anytime he manages 10 push-ups in a day. He is also one of the founding members of Brostalgia, a YouTube series that you can find on our very own YouTube page, http://www.YouTube.com/TheGeekLyfe. Be sure to check out his and Powerforce's videos!

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