Harry Potter fans will have the chance to take the Hogwarts Express back to the wizarding world this weekend as CineConcerts' Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to Charleston with the third installment, "The Prisoner of Azkaban."
The movie will be cast, as if it were a spell, onto a 40-foot screen. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform live.
Conductor John Jesensky is excited to bring the magic to Charleston.
“Sitting and seeing 'Harry Potter' was the first time that music fully transported me somewhere,” says Jesensky, who came to love film scoring while watching the first film in the series in 2001.
Since then, he’s earned degrees in music and film composition and his right to sit at the table with some accomplished composers and conductors in Los Angeles. But landing the job as a conductor with CineConcerts, and especially working on the "Harry Potter" tour, was a dream come true, Jesensky says.
“The greatest thing about this whole movement is that with the orchestra, it is an experience you truly cannot have outside of the concert hall,” he says. “There is this energy when a note is played.”
This will be the third "Harry Potter" movie screening with live music for the Charleston area, and the first to include a choir.
“We have an optional choir for the first couple (films) but you can’t do the score without the choir for 'Prisoner of Azkaban.' They add so much color to the sound,” Jesensky says.
The score includes the famous and whimsical “Hedwig’s Theme,” as well as some medieval instruments not previously used in the first two scores, including a sackbut, a type of Renaissance trombone.
Unlike at a regular movie theater, the immersive program gives fans the chance to whoop for their favorite house in Quidditch games or boo Malfoy when he’s bullying Hermione.
“It’s an experience you don’t just see and hear, but an experience you feel,” Jesensky says. “As a Harry Potter nerd myself, it is my honor and privilege to tour with it.”
He'll be taking the stage with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for a 7:30 p.m. Saturday performance at the North Charleston Coliseum, and a matinee concert at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.