Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Eclectic season planned for GR Symphony in 2017-18


By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk


The Grand Rapids Symphony has unveiled its 2017-18 season with classical blockbusters, classic rock, Broadway’s biggest hits, family friendly entertainment and cinematic special events including second and third films in the Harry Potter Film Concert Series with live music.


In 2017-18 the symphony will perform all-time classical favorites including Ravel’s Bolero, Holst’sThe Planets, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony No. 41, and an all-Tchaikovsky program on the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series.


In addition to pianist extraordinaire, Nelson Freire, world-famous soloists including violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Gabriela Montego — all three personal friends and colleagues of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s new Music Director Marcelo Lehninger — will perform on the stage.


The 2017-18 season*

Grand Rapids Symphony’s 88th season includes such monumental works as Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem, Ein Heldenleben or A Hero’s Life in DeVos Hall.


The Brazilian-born Lehninger will lead the orchestra in several pieces by Brazil’s best-known composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, including Momoprecóce featuring Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. Several years ago, Lehninger led a performance of it with the Freire and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.


Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem in the fall and for Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 to end the 2017-18 season.


“It’s one of the pieces I enjoy conducting the most,” Lehninger said about the Verdi Requiem.


*Click here for a pdf of the lineup.


St. Cecilia Music Center

At St. Cecilia Music Center, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Crowe Horwath Great Eras and Porter Hills Coffee Classics series will expand from three concerts to four.


Sarah Chang, who was in Grand Rapids as St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2011 Great Artist, will open the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2017-18 season with West Side Story Suite for Violin and Orchestra, arranged for her by David Newman from Leonard Bernstein’s musical score. The performance coincides with the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth in 1917.


“Sarah’s a wonderful violinist, a wonderful artist, and a personal friend of mine,” Lehninger said. “She’s the only one who plays the piece, so it was a perfect fit.”


Venezuelan pianist Gabriella Montero will be soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, part of the all-Tchaikovsky program Lehninger will lead.


“Gabriella has a sound, a big, round sound that’ll be perfect for it,” Lehninger said. “She’s a great, great pianist with a great personality, a wonderful heart, and a fabulous musician.”


The Grand Rapids Pops

Join the Grand Rapids Pops at the movies for a full-length screening of An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the 1951 film powered by live musical accompaniment. Back by popular demand, the Fox Motors Pops Series celebrates the music of one of the greatest film composers in history with ‘Star Wars’ and More: The Music of John Williams.


The six-concert season, which opens with a salute to the music of Fleetwood Mac by the rock group Landslide, includes an evening of Broadway blockbusters with songs from Broadway’s biggest shows of all time including WickedPhantom of the OperaThe Sound Of MusicChicagoA Chorus Line, and Cats.


Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt will be on the podium for the Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops, one of three shows he’ll lead on the series. Associate Conductor John Varineau will conduct the other three concerts including The Second City Guide to the Symphony, an evening of sketch comedy and beautiful music featuring The Second City comedy troupe.


A highlight of the 2017-18 season will be special-event screenings of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanthe second and third films in the Harry Potter franchise of eight movies, based on the books by J.K. Rowling.


Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Symphony will unveil its 2017 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series in mid-March. Plenty of great music is coming this summer to Cannonsburg Ski Area.


Back to Carnegie Hall in 2018

Nearly 12 years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony capped off its 75th anniversary season with a trip to the Big Apple and a concert in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.


New York Times critic Bernard Holland, noting the enthusiastic reception for the orchestra in the 2,800-seat hall, began his review with, “The Grand Rapids Symphony came to Carnegie Hall on Saturday night and brought a good part of the city with it.”


The Grand Rapids Symphony, under Lehninger, will return to Carnegie Hall near the end of its 88th season in April 2018. The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, for the first time, will travel along with the orchestra for the performance in the world-famous concert hall.


The Brazilian-born conductor will be joined by the eminent Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire for a performance on April 20, one week after appearing in DeVos Performance Hall with a concert featuring Freire as soloist in Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Momoprecóce.



Season tickets are on sale now with select concerts also on sale to subscribers. Subscriptions are available at a discount of up to 50 percent off select series and seats for new package orders. Single tickets will be available beginning July 31.


Tickets are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm, at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)

Grand Rapids Pops performs ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ in concert Jan. 27-28


By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk


The Grand Rapids Pops will perform Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert with three performances Jan. 27-28 in DeVos Performance Hall as part of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series. The concert will feature the Grand Rapids Symphony performing, to picture, every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a 40-foot screen while hearing the orchestra perform John Williams’s unforgettable score.


CineConcerts and Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, a new global concert tour celebrating the Harry Potter films, in April 2016. The Harry Potter Film Concert that kicked off in June 2016 is another magical experience from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.


Justin Freer, President of CineConcerts and Producer/Conductor of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series explains, “The Harry Potter film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world,” It is with great pleasure that we introduce for the first time ever an opportunity to experience the award-winning music scores played live by a symphony orchestra, all while the beloved film is simultaneously projected onto the big screen. It will be an unforgettable event.”


Freer has quickly become one of the most sought-after conductors of film music with a long list of full symphonic live to projection projects. He has appeared with some of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


For more information on the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, please go here.


Tickets for Harry Potter in Concert start at $18 and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 am-6 pm or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.

Experience the Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball Dec. 9

harry-potter-book-cover-jw-32715Dancing. Music. Harry Potter-themed activities & a special giveaway. These are a few of the various things you’ll find at the Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball.

Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids cordially invites customers of all ages to experience its first-ever Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball on Friday, Dec. 9, starting at 7 pm at Woodland Mall, 3195 28th St. SE. Barnes & Noble’s Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball will feature dancing, music, Harry Potter-themed activities and a special giveaway. Customers are encouraged to wear their most festive Harry Potter costumes and holiday attire to the special event as they dance the night away and celebrate all things Harry Potter with Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids.


Magical Harry Potter-Themed Activities & Giveaways 

The Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball will be complemented by special activities, featuring a designated Harry Potter-themed Craft Making Station, where customers can create their own ornaments and owl fans, while supplies last. There will also be Wizard Charades, Trivia, a Word Search, and more, plus a coloring station for customers to enjoy, and a special photo-op station where they will be able to forever capture the magic of the Harry Potter-inspired celebration. Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids will also feature delicious treats from the Barnes & Noble Café, including free samples of a festive sugar cookie and a caramel apple spice drink, available while supplies last. 

Plus, Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids will offer a free giveaway of a special Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition poster, available while supplies last.


Additional activities that will take place at Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids include special guest DJ AB (Adrian Butler), kid friendly crafts, Quidditch games and a costume contest runway.


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Barnes & Noble

Fans of Harry Potter can continue to relive the magic at Barnes & Noble this holiday season with a dedicated Harry Potter experience inside Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids. Customers can shop a unique assortment of books and gifts from J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, as well as Harry Potter wands, chess sets, music and DVDs, hats, scarves and so much more. For additional details, customers can visit Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids today. 


For more information on how customers can relive the magic of Harry Potter at Barnes & Noble Grand Rapids this holiday season with Barnes & Noble’s Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball, they should visit BN.com/MagicalHolidayBall. For more information on Barnes & Noble’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter with a unique assortment of books, toys & games and gifts, perfect for the whole family, customers should visit BN.com/HarryPotter. 

‘Fantastic Beasts’ set to cast its spell this weekend


So today is the day that many Potter fans have been waiting for — the release of the newest movie in the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”


It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film was released and coupled with the fact that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1” is not expected to be released until 2018, excitement over “Fantastic Beasts” has been building. For proof of that, we offer up this fact: you can’t even get a ticket to the Kent District Library’s upcoming “Harry Potter Party” set for next week at Celebration! Cinema North.


“I’m excited to see everything in it and if they’ll be any cameos from the original cast members,”  said Wyoming High School 10 grader Maria Martinez.


The story actually takes place about 70 years — 1926 to be exact — before Harry and crew were even born. Infact, the new movie does not feature a single character from the original Harry Potter movies, although there are a few name drops such as Albert Dumbledore and that other dark wizard and Dumbledore’s former friend Gellert Grindelwald, who at this point is terrorizing the wizarding world.


“I am so excited to see a new installation of the Harry Potter fandom come to life in an entirely new and magical way,” said Abby D’Addario, who is a youth paraprofessional at the KDL Wyoming branch and will be seeing the movie at the KDL Nov. 21 event. “I always imagined what witchcraft and wizardry looked like outside the walls of Hogwarts – we barely caught a glimpse of that in the ‘Goblet of Fire.’ In this film we get the privileged of seeing the magic underworld of America. It is hard to imagine a magical world without Harry and Voldemort, but I can forgive Ms. Rowling because Eddie Redmayne is magical enough for all of us.”


The film is directed by Potter alum David Yates who reportedly brought with him several former Potter crew members. Also J.K. Rowling did write the screenplay — her first — and adapted it from her 2001 book of the same title.


Of course, “Fantastic Beasts” is set to be a series of movies — recently announced to be five — so there are already predictions that Dumbledore will be making an appearance. Probably not too far off since Johnny Depp recently was tapped to play Grindelwald.


Eddie Redmaye as Newt Scamander.
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander.

“I’m excited to just see Eddie Redmayne!” said Wyoming High School 10th grader Alondra Soto. Well who would not be excited to see Redmayne? He won an Oscar for Best Actor for the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything” and was nominated for the 2015 film “The Danish Girl.”


“I can’t wait to see the attitudes of the new characters and how Eddie Redmayne will be!” said Wyoming Middle School seventh grader Harlei Schovey.


Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, who has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. He intends to make a brief stopover in New York, but as we all know, nothing is ever brief when dealing with magical creatures.


As an aside, Scamander is a graduate of Hogwarts, from Hufflepuff House. Redmayne recently did a PSA about being a “proud Hufflepuff.”


Scamander meets up with No-Maj — American for Muggle — Jacob (Dan Fogler). There are lots of other new characters such as Tina Goldstein who is a former Auror and who works for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA); Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), an Auror with a mean streak; Queenie (Alison Sudol), Tina’s sister and a mindreader: and Credence (Ezra Miller), an introverted orphan whose adopted mother is leading a group of non-magical people in a witch hunt.


“The intense CGI and the new story line,” said Wyoming High School 12th grader Matt Bulthuis. “The old with the new really gets me excited!”


From early reviews its sounds like few will be disappointed with the new film. “The Chicago Tribune” said “Eddie Redmayne and company make magic in Potter  prequel” and from “The Guardian,” “The entertainment enchanter J.K. Rowling has come storming back to the world of magic in a shower of supernatural sparks — and created a glorious fantasy — romance adventure, all about the wizards of prohibition-era America and the diffident wizarding Brit who causes chaos in their midst with a bagful of exotic creatures.”


If you want to learn more about world of Harry Potter or “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” to prepare for your movie adventure, visit Rowling’s site Pottermore.com or the Harry Potter Lexicon at hp-lexicon.org.