The Binghamton Philharmonic’s “Harry Potter” Concert Left Us Wanting More… In a Good Way!
The “sold out” signs taped to the ticket booth of the Forum Theater announced what we already know: Harry Potter fans sure know how to turn out. Once past the ticket booths, we were greeted by a sea of people in robes, Hogwarts scarves, and wizard hats… a bit of an odd crowd for a classical music concert.
The Binghamton Philharmonic in upstate New York presented The Magical Music of Harry Potter. Setting the tone for the entire evening, the maestro, Ron Speigleman, trotted onstage sporting a Gryffindor scarf and tie, looking nothing short of ecstatic to be there. That enthusiasm was mirrored in the thunderous applause, stretching all the way to the back of the balcony.
Serving as emcee, local actor Joshua Sedelmeyer guided the audience along with dramatic readings from the books and little quips about the music and its place in the series. Right from the get-go, Sedelmeyer made it known he was one of us. He cracked jokes about the silent T at the end of “Voldemort” and proclaimed that he was carrying Remus Lupin’s wand because “he’s the coolest.”
The concert started off with the hauntingly familiar sounds of the celeste, or those twinkling bells that chime out “Hedwig’s Theme.” Throughout the night, the orchestra expertly maneuvered through iconic pieces of music from the Harry Potter soundtracks including, “A Bridge to the Past,” “The Knight Bus Ride,” and “Double Trouble.” During the latter, the orchestra was accompanied by a local middle school choir.
The selections progressed in order, from the first film to the fourth film. Yes, you read that right. When we got to Goblet of Fire and Sedelmeyer announced there would only be one more song, my thoughts were, “But we’re only halfway there!” I don’t know if this decision had to do with the first four films’ scores being more readily available or just that there are so many iconic songs in the first half of the series, but there is beautiful music in the later movies as well. If the philharmonic is planning on doing this concert again, I would suggest jumping around and not going in chronological order to somewhat mask the ommissions. Another option would be to split the show in two halves, playing compositions from the first four films on the first night and then continuing on to the last four films on the second night. Or maybe the Binghamton Philharmonic has something up the sleeves of their robes and we’ll get the second half of the concert next year!
All in all, it was a magical night with amazing music played by a talented group of musicians. The atmosphere was uplifting, the energy was contagious, and the fact that I didn’t want it to end is, I think, a very good sign. A job well done to the Binghamton Philharmonic and everyone involved in pulling off the production.