Are you a huge fan of the Harry Potter™ series? Catch the film that started it all, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone™ accompanied by a live orchestra! The concert will be held in the heart of downtown Houston at The Hobby Center For The Performing Arts on July 14th-15th as well as at The Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land on July 22nd. Be prepared to experience live music (of an iconic John Williams score) performed to this classic picture. I remember dressing up as Harry to the midnight premiere of this film when I was in elementary school and to be able to experience it all over again in an immersive and unique way will be a memorable experience appropriate for Potter fans alike as well as families! Presented by the prestigious Houston Symphony.
I had the chance to attend the first performance (July 14th, 2023) at The Hobby Center and this production not only features the impressive talent of the Houston Symphony, but also serves as a beautiful communal experience to be shared among other Potter fans. Conductor Brett Mitchell welcomed the enthusiastic crowd, remarking, "Feel free to cheer and clap during your favorite moments and characters" and the audience was prepared to do just that. They clapped at the entrance of Harry, Hagrid, Ron, Hermione and Snape, shouted "Boo" at Draco Malfoy, and expelled a prideful "Woo!" when the house they identified with was announced (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff). You typically do not get these types of experiences simply by streaming the film at home, and it was delightful to revisit the franchise alongside the eagerness of other Harry Potter enthusiasts.
How's the music? Incredible. A Houston Symphony staff member confirmed to me prior to the show that they are given the film with the score removed, featuring an audio track with only the character voices. The astounding Houston Symphony then proceeds to play the music while the film is playing on a large projection screen. The fact that the Houston Symphony is able to acquire the film with no music at all is incredible (honestly, as a video editor and someone who understands the power of sound design, I would love to view some of the footage simply to see how awkward scenes play out whilst lacking a score!). This symphony is so talented that it sounds exactly like the professionally recorded score. If a curtain was covering these performers you might suspect that you're merely watching the film with its original audio intact– but it is incredible as you can clearly see these musicians playing their hearts out. Something I enjoyed doing was focusing on one performer and seeing when their parts began and how their specific instrument affected the sound. When you're seeing the film at home the beginning and end of a bed of music is less apparent as you're thinking about the plot and what characters have just said, but it is very noticeable when music begins/ends when you see it in concert, as you see the Symphony prepare their instruments when music is about to start and then proceed to see them play bringing the music to life. When they come up to a scene that has no music you seem them stop playing and if it's a long scene you'll notice their relaxed disposition as they themselves will look at the screen simply to view the scene unfolding.
If you love Harry Potter, seeing it in concert is a remarkable opportunity to experience the picture in a large (almost theatrical) setting with other fans and see the talented symphony showcase their talents by not missing a note playing this epic score! I had an enjoyable time seeing the music come to life right before my eyes and if you play an instrument of any sort, I think there's a higher level of appreciation you may even have for the performers. Go check it out! Performances at The Hobby Center conclude Sunday, July 16th and after that there will be one more performance on Sunday, July 22nd at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land!
Blurb from The Hobby Center / Smart Financial Centre website:
Relive the film that started it all. Watch the wand choose the wizard, troll run amok, and magic mirrors in high-definition while the Houston Symphony performs John Williams’s iconic score. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and all your favorite characters return to the screen and enchant the world all over again.