When I was seven years old, I used to have this crazy assumption that Hermione Granger’s life was secretly my future, and that every time I watched a “Harry Potter” movie, it was like watching how my fate would play out right before my eyes. This was because, at age seven, I have mastered the art of speaking in a British accent (or at least what I thought was a British accent), and on my head lies a whole mop of unruly, bushy, and curly hair—just like Hermione Granger’s.
Needless to say, I was obsessed with Harry Potter. My mother, being the bookworm that she is, wired the boy wizard into my brain the moment I began to understand movies. I was five years old when I first watched “The Sorcerer’s Stone” on VHS, and by the time the third movie, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” came out, I was seven years old and walking around with a makeshift “wand” (a binder of a sliding folder), and a “Hogwarts robe” (my dad’s extra-large blazer). And when I was old enough to go through a pocketbook, my mom replaces it with the first Harry Potter book. This goes without saying I skipped the pocketbook phase entirely and went straight to 626 pages of pure magic at the age of nine.
Harry Potter changed my whole life. And up to this very day, I still have Harry Potter marathons (of both the books and movies) at least thrice a year. No matter what happens and how old I get, I always find my way back to it—which is why I found myself in The Theater at Solaire, watching the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert.
Last Sept. 14 and 15, the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gerald Salonga, relived the music of John Williams as they performed the classic Harry Potter film scores in time with the first film. This was a crazy special experience because Potterheads know that the music of the “Harry Potter” films was what made the movies special, emotional, and unbelievably heartbreaking. From “Harry’s Wonderous World” to “Hedwig’s Theme,” Gerald Salonga and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra brought us back to Hogwarts, with the movie score playing live and pulsating within the theater. With every stroke of the violin, to the banging of percussions, and hum of the bases, each scene felt magnified—as if we were in the movie itself, as if we were part of the story.
I remember tears pooling in my eyes as soon as the opening music played, “The Arrival of Baby Harry,” and I could hear fellow Potterheads around me drawing sharp breaths and clutching each other’s arms as the first scene plays out with Dumbledore “deluminating” Privet Drive.
You would think that a room full of Harry Potter fans who have probably seen the movies—especially the first—more than a hundred times wouldn’t be reacting the way we did. But oh boy, did we react. In fact, watching the first film with hundreds of fans in the room was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a Potterhead. The reactions elicited by nostalgic scenes were genuine, and all inside jokes within the fandom were crystal clear. And because of the music and the collective reactions, every fast-paced scene (like Harry’s first quidditch match) seemed to have more adrenaline, and every wistful moment (when Harry received Christmas presents for the first time and when he saw his parents in the Mirror of Erised) felt more meaningful.
All in all, it was an incredibly magical moment. Not just the live-orchestra and the movie, but everything else as well: the ceiling of Hogwarts letters in the lobby, the banners of the different houses hanging on posts, and the fans that even came dressed up in robes and scarves and costumes with wands in the ready to cast a spell. It felt like home.
Those people in the theater who came and watched the concert experienced a different kind of magic through the music and atmosphere that the “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert” gave. And I know for a fact that after that experience, Potterheads will forever be bewitched by the world of “Harry Potter.” Always.
Photos by Argyl Leones
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