On Sunday, I found myself in Columbus, Ohio. I skipped work to indulge my love of Harry Potter and live music.
I had purchased the event tickets in November with my sister to see the Columbus Symphony Orchestra perform music from the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Being fans for life, my sister and I couldn’t say no.
The showing was at 1pm. I remember feeling some sadness for missing six hours of work, as I normally find myself in the university bakery from 8-2pm. It was perhaps the most adult feeling I’ve experienced in this life.
As I’m used to enjoying live music adjacent to the sunset hours of the day, the afternoon spent in the dusky theater environment was a novel experience.
My sister and I got lost finding our seats, and sat down with no expectations of what the experience might hold.
I noted the chandeliers, velvet drapes, and ornate theater ceiling. Nothing was more fitting for music conjuring movie scenes of house elves, acromantulas, and pumpkin juice.
The movie was played on a large screen as the orchestra members were seated below. The music from the movie was stripped, as the orchestra played the entire soundtrack.
The timing and execution was perfect. The thrill of hearing the familiar music was beyond the dreams of my 11-year-old self. The scenes where I had imagined the fervor and feeling in the music played, were finally mine to enjoy in real life, in this moment.
There was also something magical to note about being part of an audience with hundreds of other fans. There was unity and warmth. We celebrated our Hogwarts houses, clapped with the entrance of key movie characters, and laughed as one. There’s something so special in that.
The final movie scene closes with Hagrid returning from Azkaban to the Great Hall’s standing ovation. I find myself teary each time I watch this part. It evokes the feelings of home and happiness. Clapping to this scene with other audience members was something I will always recall.
My sister and I took ourselves out to eat afterward. There was a taco place around the corner, that involved us walking a relatively short set of steps and puzzling over someone’s lost Time Turner necklace on the street. My sister adopted the symbolic timepiece.
By some miracle, Condado Tacos was open on a Sunday afternoon. A Gryffindor and Slytherin sharing Thai chili tofu tacos and freshly-made tortilla chips with salsa verde.
We left as our parking ticket was expiring.
On a whim, my sister decided that Saraga International Foods was our next destination. We wandered the store as I found the largest jar possible of red pepper bread spread from Hungary, and my sister got a yellow dragonfruit for half price. We ogled some anime-branded Ramune sodas and I gave in to my potato craving and purchased a 10-lb bag of Russets from Idaho; As one does at an international food store.
We returned home. A long drive at nightfall. I missed work and my study session at the library for my Monday exam, but the day was worth every minute outside Athens.
Symphony music, chimichurri sauce, and wandering the streets of Columbus with a tiny hourglass in my pocket. All a result of the magical world of Harry Potter.