Save for the rides, Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has got nothing on the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox come the Spokane Symphony’s annual Halloween concerts.
And this year, Bethany Schoeff, the symphony’s director of artistic administration and personnel manager, and her team have really pulled out all the stops.
Ninety minutes before the show, the lobby, or should I say, Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, will be filled with a variety of games, fun and cosplay opportunities.
There’s a cloak of invisibility, where attendees can see themselves disappear on a TV monitor, characters from the Harry Potter world played by Spokane Civic Theater actors, mingling with attendees, professional photos of attendees in their costumes by Chris Wooley with Heads and Tails Photography and themed doughnuts from Hello Sugar.
Attendees also can browse Madame Malkin’s Merchandise for wands and Ollivander’s for robes, scarves and ties. Time Turner Trinkets will be at the Fox selling “Harry Potter”-related jewelry, and event shirts and Spokane Symphony shirts will be available for purchase.
A mini Hogwarts, which lights up, will take over the Founder’s Gallery, as will Azkaban prison, and upstairs, Abra Cadabra Glitter Tattoos and More will offer temporary tattoos – both Harry Potter- and Halloween-themed.
“We’re starting setup tomorrow morning, and it’s probably going to take all the way up to the show on Saturday,” Schoeff said on Wednesday afternoon.
The fun doesn’t stop in the lobby, though.
Once settled in for the performance, guests can expect the weather to turn chilly, with “snow” (a glycerin concoction, harmless to audience members and the Fox) falling a couple of times during the concert.
Also during the show, stories about magic written by community members will be presented alongside pieces the symphony is performing.
Two grand prize winning stories, “The Birth of Magic” and “The Expedition of Black Lake,” will be connected to Camille Saint-Saën’s Danse macabre, Opus 40 and Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium, respectively.
The grand prize winners and two runners-up also will have their stories featured in a small packet guests can pick up in the lobby and on giant posterboards in the lobby.
The concert is conducted by Morihiko Nakahara and features pianist Archie Chen and vocalist Derrick Parker. The Spokane Symphony Chorale, Spokane Area Youth Choirs, in their “Harry Potter” concert debut, magician Isaiah Daniels and the Professional Ballet School also will perform.
Schoeff hopes this mix of artistic organizations brings those who, for example, maybe only know about Spokane Civic Theatre, to the Fox to experience not only the symphony but also the choirs and dancers.
“We want to try to make more of an effort to be connected throughout the community,” she said. “Coming together actually makes it more powerful. It brings everything to life even more.”
During “Ancient Tales of Magic,” the symphony will perform John Williams’ “Harry’s Wondrous World” and “Hedwig’s Theme,” both from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Fireworks” from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Double Trouble,” “The Knight Bus,” “A Bridge to the Past,” “Mischief Managed” and “Aunt Marge’s Waltz” all from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
The symphony also will perform Patrick Doyle’s “Hogwarts March,” “Harry in Winter,” “The Story Continues” and “The Death of Cedric” all from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
James Newton Howard’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Suite and “Jacob’s Bakery,” both from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and “Salamander Eyes” and “Leta’s Theme,” both from “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” also made the program.
Outside the world of “Harry Potter,” the symphony will perform Camille Saint-Saën’s Danse macabre, Opus 40 and Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” from Requiem, Franz Schubert’s “Erlkönig,” Charles-Valentin Alkan’s “Le Festin d’Esope (Aesop’s Feast”) and Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” round out the program.
“We’re really trying to up our game with the music this year,” Schoeff said. “We really listened to our audience feedback, and we want to do what they think is best.”
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