Vanderbilt students perform in Nashville Symphony Orchestra Harry Potter show

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Vanderbilt students perform in Nashville Symphony Orchestra Harry Potter show

Corinne Fombelle, Assistant Life Editor

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra performed John Williams’ iconic music in tandem with the viewing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for a stunning sonic and visual experience. Blair students Sarah Bronchetti and Lauren Urquhart were able to join the women’s chorus for these four performances this weekend. The Hustler sat down with Sarah Bronchetti to get a glimpse into this special show.

With a sold out audience each night, one unique aspect of the performance was the spirited crowd. The audience was extremely responsive to the action on screen, including hissing at the character Draco Malfoy and breaking into a spontaneous standing ovation right after the opening sequence during one performance.

“So many people dressed up in their favorite characters’ costumes,” said Bronchetti. “There were sorting hats, robes, wands, you name it. This festivity added to the unique and lively nature of this show, which was unlike a typical symphony performance with traditional decorum.

“Doing pops concerts like the Harry Potter film score is good because it brings in people to the symphony that otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to it,” said Bronchetti.

With only one rehearsal with the chorus and orchestra before the premiere, the endeavor was on a short timeline, made possible by the professionalism of the performers and expertise of the guest conductor, Justin Freer. Freer is one of John Williams’ protégés who travels everywhere to lead these film performances.

“By the fourth time we were watching it, it wasn’t old,” said Bronchetti.

One of her favorite segments occurs near the end of the movie with just the sound of a harp solo accompanying the scene.

“I still got to enjoy the movie, even more so than if I was just watching it,” said Bronchetti. “Having a more in-depth knowledge of the music was insightful into the characters. There’s something Wagnerian about the way John Williams composes. Each character has certain musical signatures that accompany their appearances on-screen, such as Voldemort’s ominous motive and the gentle nostalgic melody associated with Harry’s parents.

“It was nice to see the Harry Potter fandom come together because the last film was released quite a while ago at this point. It’s amazing that the fandom still exists even in younger generations, and it made my heart really happy,” said Bronchetti.

Bronchetti expressed her gratitude to Dr. Tucker Biddlecombe, Director of Choral Activities at the Blair School of Music and Director of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, for the opportunity to be part of this incredible show.

More Harry Potter movies will be performed live with the NSO in coming years as well as other films.

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