CEDAR FALLS – Twenty years ago, audiences fell in love with the cinematic magic of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
A new concert experience is conjured up by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra on Friday, featuring the first film in JK Rowling’s hit franchise as a live orchestra performs John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score .
The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Catherine Cassidy Gallagher Great Hall at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls.
“It’s an incredible experience to watch the entire film in high definition and the soundtrack from start to finish is performed by a live orchestra,” said Jason Weinberger, conductor and artistic director of wcfsymphony.
The Harry Potter film series continues to be popular, and parents who saw the film as children are now watching it with their own children. Watching the film can be particularly poignant in the wizarding world since the death on October 14 of Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid, the half-giant and friend of Harry, in all the “Harry Potter” films.
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In the 20 years Weinberger has been on the podium, the symphony has performed soundtracks for documentaries, cinema classics, and Halloween and Christmas movies.
“This is our first hit on a big hit behemoth, and the community interest has been amazing,” he said.
A limited number of tickets are available as the concert is approaching sold out. The Great Hall can accommodate up to 1,680 people.
There will be 80 players on stage. “This is our biggest orchestra of the year. We’ve added additional wind and horns, two keyboards, and a huge percussion section. With the range of sounds in the film, we need an incredible range of instruments on stage,” Weinberger explained.
He describes John Williams as “one of the masters of our time. His music is quite stimulating, of phenomenal virtuosity and difficult to play. Once the story starts rolling, we can’t let our attention wander for even a second. It’s incredibly taxing for musicians to stay committed for an entire movie all at once.
Presenting a concert like “Sorcerer’s Stone” tells the audience that “the orchestra is contemporary, and we like to make music from today, not just from 200 years ago.
“Our challenge is to unite the long history of music with music that speaks to the experiences of people today and represents both well. Something like that gives an orchestra a different place in people’s lives,” Weinberger explained.
Tickets can be purchased online at wcfsymphony.org/events, by visiting the UNItix box office at Gallagher Bluedorn and calling the UNItix box office at (319) 273-4849 or the wcfsymphony office at (319) 273-3373.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra