It was in the depths of February that I eagerly awaited the release of the Cleveland Orchestra's summer concert series. Nothing sounded sweeter while shivering in my dorm than sitting outside and listening to orchestra music while smelling grass and wine. So after I saw a "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" concert scheduled, I did not hesitate to clear my calendar and purchase two tickets.
These movie concerts consist of the movie being played on a giant screen and the orchestra playing the music along with it. The result is an enriched sound experience that induces chills and involves simultaneously an utter absorption into the movie and a greater attention to its musical elements. After months of anticipation, my boyfriend and I began making Harry Potter-themed food to bring in the morning — the concert was at Blossom, and we had purchased lawn tickets so we could lay out a blanket and enjoy the concert on the grass. We dipped pretzel rods in chocolate and decorated the tips in sprinkles to make wands, frayed cheese sticks and stuck pretzel sticks in them and wrapped chives around to make broomsticks, made chocolate frogs out of molds I ordered (which cost less than buying two chocolate frogs in store), and mixed spices together to make Weasley's Dragon Roasted Nuts. And finally, we packed some bottles of butterbeer.
We arrived two hours early to the concert. While I was nervous that this was too early, once we arrived and saw that multiple parking lots were full I knew I'd made the right decision. Alas, I also made a poor decision — to wear jeans. I wore a tube top and jeans, thinking "it'll get cooler when it gets dark!" Wrong. After we walked a quarter mile lugging the chairs and cooler and blankets (I only carried the blankets but still sweated in the process), we were both drenched with sweat. And while it did cool off slightly, I would've been fine in shorts.
Yet another poor decision — we sat behind an area of four blankets someone had laid out. By the time we realized these blankets would be occupied by a family/high school reunion/ squad of 25 people strong, we were already closed in by other concert goers. Oh, and half of these 25 people were children. Under the age of 7. Who did not enjoy the movie, but rather screamed and cried and obscured our view. I thought we would get some relief when darkness fell, but no — someone thought of the genius idea to give them all glow sticks which they waved frantically around for the rest of the night. Perhaps it was a poor decision not to drop another $40 on each ticket to be seated down with the orchestra, away from the crowd of sweaty peasant children ...
Anyway, the concert itself was phenomenal. At times the music of the orchestra even swelled to overwhelm the voices of the actors (captions were on), and the emotions of the characters were felt so much more strongly with the accompanying music. The music made the dark forest feel darker, the quidditch match more suspenseful, the fear of the trio more contagious and the strength of their bond stronger. My boyfriend said he didn't even notice the orchestra was there most of the time because they were so good, while for me the dual awareness of the movie and the orchestral mechanics behind it was thrilling. While some parts of the crowd were annoying (see above paragraph), it was fun to be in a crowd of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who all love Harry Potter and love music.