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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Music

Magic and music combine during Symphony’s ‘Haunted Hallows’ concerts

Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin.

Those names are surely familiar to anyone who’s read the “Harry Potter” books or watched the movies.

But during the Spokane Symphony’s annual Halloween concerts, audiences will be introduced to another professor: Professor Cosmos.

If that name rings a bell, it’s because Professor Cosmos can usually be found entertaining the masses at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol.

But he’s stopping by the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday and Sunday to share his magic with Spokane audiences during “Haunted Hallows – The Music of Harry Potter.”

Nick Norton, Silverwood’s resident award-winning magician, is producing the show, and his “good friend in magic,” fellow Silverwood magician Isaiah Daniels, will perform as himself for VIP ticket holders before the show and as Professor Cosmos during the concerts.

Daniels describes Professor Cosmos as a very wise, old man who has grown up with classic inventors like Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

“He combines invention, technology and innovation with magic and wonder,” Daniels said.

As the title suggests, the “Haunted Hallows” concerts, conducted by Eckart Preu, feature music from the “Harry Potter” films by John Williams, Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper.

The program also includes “Das Glasmännlein” by Preu’s brother Hans Peter Preu and John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” as well as selections from Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and Michael Giacchino’s “Fiesta Espectacular” from “Coco.”

The Spokane Symphony reached out to Norton about adding magic to “Haunted Hallows” in the summer, and he and Daniels were immediately on board.

“I know lots of people personally that always go see symphony shows, so to hear that they were wanting to include magic was like ‘Oh, we get to take my art and bring it to a platform people appreciate a lot,’ ” so that was really cool,” Daniels said.

While magic is the main focus of Norton and Daniels’ Silverwood shows, they had to find a way to make magic one of several puzzle pieces that come together to make “Haunted Hallows” a complete production.

After sharing ideas with Preu and considering the constraints of the Fox, Norton, who has worked at Silverwood for 17 years, and Daniels, now in his fourth year at Silverwood, crafted a show that involves Professor Cosmos teaching a young girl who is interested in magic a few tricks of the trade.

“He fits so well into a Hogwarts professor roll,” Daniels said. “It’s almost like a side story of the ‘Harry Potter’ universe.”

For research, Daniels watched all of the “Harry Potter” films, homing in on scenes where magic is used and looking for ways to incorporate elements from those scenes into his own performance.

“Underneath the mask and the costume there, you have a very talented magician who does it full out,” Norton said of Daniels.

The way Daniels puts it, he was practically born with a deck of cards in his hand.

After seeing a magician perform at his school, a young Daniels set to work learning tricks of his own.

“Lots of people get into magic at an early age. Very few continue to do it,” he said. “I chalk it up to a combination of being super socially awkward and using that as a crutch and enjoying being able to amaze people in different ways.”

Norton too knows the power magic can have over audiences, and, if “Haunted Hallows” goes well, hopes to bring more magic to the Fox, perhaps a large-scale illusion show backed by the symphony.

In the meantime, Norton and Daniels are troubleshooting technical elements and nailing down the final script for their ‘Haunted Hallows’ performance.

“At its core, it’s Eckart and the music,” Norton said. “But at the core of the story is experiencing the wonder of magic through the eyes of a child.”

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