As sound organized in time, music has been a cultural pleasure since the beginning of time. Be it harmonizing with vocals or beats stomped and drummed, it has played a huge role in humanity’s growth to today. From culture, it evolved to multiple genres of entertainment in media, live performances, and in film. Singers and songwriters work alongside each other to create a beautiful collaboration of notes and tunes.
What people commonly don’t consider is the score behind a film. Horror movies have their sinister tempos and some of the most moving movie moments in history have such an impact on us because of the slow piano, or the violin solo. Orchestras play together to create the memorable musical numbers we think of when we have a favorite movie, show, or even just a moment. With movie and television franchises today, we have Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and even the Disney film opening castle logo has it’s own tune recognizable to those who watch.
One of the most iconic score compositions would have to be the one beginning with the hauntingly beautiful keys of the Celeste. In case you didn’t just google it, I am referring to the musical score of the Harry Potter franchise. The instruments played together create the magical theme song that has played in every Harry Potter movie; and now you recognize it no matter where you are! With the brilliant and inspired mind of John Williams, the Harry Potter movies had their score set and helped make the series one of the most influential and renown in history.
The Phoenix Symphony, established in 1947, recognized this and decided to add the Harry Potter suite and films to their lineup of the orchestra entertainment season. For four years now, they have been playing the Harry Potter movie scores, one each year, in chronological order, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend the showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which happens to be one of my favorites out of the film series.
When looking it up, I had no idea what to expect. Personally, I see music as one of many forms of art, so I usually try to dress up for such performances. In my little summer dress, I arrived and to my surprise, they highly encouraged cosplay! Left and right, I was passing wizards of the Hogwarts houses and wands at the ready. Backdrops stood against the walls and people were taking photos. The bar had a specialized drink they named the “Goblet of Fire” and everyone seemed to be in the theme!
Upon entering the orchestra hall, the floor was lowered at each level of seating so everyone could see the show. Box seating popped out of the walls on both sides, and above us was a level where the mezzanine seats were. It was a remarkably large hall and the balcony level was high enough to not look like it was another level or like we would hit our heads standing up. Down at the base, the orchestra sat on stage level for all to see with a screen hanging above them for the movie.
The Phoenix Symphony gave a most remarkable performance. The audience screamed for the first notes of that Celeste and they cheered when their favorite characters arrived in the movie. The music flowed so smoothly with the film that, on multiple occasions, I forgot there was a symphony playing live. I left after the concluding standing ovation, which wasn’t until after the credits, with a souvenir t-shirt and goose bumps that lasted until I got warmed up in the sun outside.
Overall, I would say the experience was amazing, but with such a sublime film and that unforgettable score, it really isn’t surprising. I would recommend this live performance to any music-lover and or “potterhead” out there. And even if you’re not a witch or wizard, the Phoenix Symphony has many other showings with films, such as Star Wars, coming up, so there is a little something for everyone! Just check out their website, and if you arent local, I suggest a visit to the desert or looking locally to support and view your nearby musicians!
I definitely plan to attend next year, especially since the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite Harry Potter movie, and I plan to be in my house robes too! For now, check out all of the other great events by The Phoenix Symphony!