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Concert review: Wizard Rock at the Champaign Public Library

Gargoyle photo by Elaine Gu (click to enlarge)Wizard rock band Ginny and the HeartBreakers perform at the Champaign Public Library. The concert was part of the library's “Get Inspired! Meet a Hero @ Your Library” program.

When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 14
Where: Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Robeson Pavilion, Rooms A&B
What: Two “wizard rock” bands — Ginny and the HeartBreakers from Oklahoma and The Remus Lupins from Los Angeles — performed original songs about Harry Potter characters. The free concert was part of the “Get Inspired! Meet a Hero @ Your Library” series.
Alex Carpenter of the one-man band The Remus Lupins takes to the stage. Gargoyle photos by Elaine Gu (click to enlarge)

Two children decked out in Hogwarts uniform are transfixed by the performers. (click to enlarge)

I HAVE NEVER been a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books and watched the movies, but that’s about it.

Two weeks ago, I was volunteering at the Champaign Public Library when a librarian asked if I could write an article for the Online Gargoyle about an upcoming “wizard rock” concert at the library.

In the process of writing a preview of the March 14 concert, I became curious about this musical movement based on the Harry Potter novels. After all, how else can there be songs with lyrics like:

    Hermione Granger, don’t you be so dumb
    Whatcha doing with that Krum
    When you know you want my brother
    We could be sisters and you know it’s true
    ‘Cause Ronnie wants you too
    Come on it’s no secret

So naturally, I decided to attend the concert to experience this genre of music.

Initially, I was kind of nervous about going. Since I didn’t consider myself a hardcore Harry Potter fan, I worried that I would feel completely out of place at the concert. Luckily, I convinced my friend Maddy Levin to accompany me.

We arrived a little after 7 p.m., right when the opening band, Ginny and the HeartBreakers, got on stage. Since the concert was held in the library, there wasn’t an actual “stage.” But the room was dimly lit by white Christmas lights, and there was a bright light shining on the performers.

The crowd mainly consisted of elementary and middle school students and their parents. Maddy and I saw physics teacher Ray Carrubba, who was there with his kids, and a few subfreshmen from Uni.

Some members of the audience were wearing capes, maroon-and-gold Harry Potter scarves, and tall witch hats. There was even an adorable pair of children fully decked out in Hogwarts uniform.

As Ginny and the HeartBreakers took the stage, they invited the fans — who were all sitting on seats far away from the stage — to move closer and sit on the ground. Shyly, many of the younger kids, as well as Maddy and I, moved toward the band. Surrounded by a bunch of 10-year-olds and Harry Potter fans in costumes, I felt kind of awkward.

However, I soon found myself enjoying the music. The HeartBreakers, an all-girl band from Oklahoma, kicked off their set with their popular song “Hermione Granger,” which was about Ginny Weasley urging Hermione to leave Victor Krum for her older brother, Ron Weasley.

I loved the HeartBreakers’ lyrics. They were all written from the point of view of Ginny, Ron’s sister in the book series. Since Ginny was a funny, easy-going character, most of the HeartBreakers’ lyrics were very humorous.

Before each song, the HeartBreakers introduced the context for the lyrics. They performed “Harry You’re a Hottie,” where Ginny confesses her love for the legendary wizard, and “Ron Don’t Run Away,” where Ginny urges her brother to stop being jealous of Harry.

The HeartBreakers encouraged the audience to dance to the music, and by the time they began their third song, kids were jumping up and down and dancing all around the stage.

After some fast-paced punk rock songs, the Heartbreakers sang “The Happiest Day.” A member of the band introduced the piece as a “sad song” about Ginny and Harry’s relationship. The tune was mellow, and the song had a relaxing vibe. It was just what I needed after a stressful week of school.

After Ginny and the HeartBreakers’ performance, Alex Carpenter, singer of the one-man band The Remus Lupins, took to the stage. Arriving all the way from Los Angeles, Carpenter’s musical style was a lot more rock ’n’ roll compared to The HeartBreakers’s more instrumental tunes. Whereas the HeartBreakers alternated between fast and slow songs, Carpenter’s music was a lot more loud, energetic, and fast-paced.

The young audience went wild. Kids surrounded Carpenter and unleashed their energy to the pop/rock songs as they jumped around and threw their hands in the air.

My favorite song was “Remember Cedric.” After watching “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” I was totally in love with Cedric Diggory (played by Robert Pattinson). I thought he was extremely attractive, and I was so sad that he died.

“Remember Cedric” was dedicated to the deceased Cedric, a brave wizard who was killed by Lord Voldemort during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. During the song, a girl associated with the performers even dressed up as Cho Chang (Cedric’s date to the Yule Ball in “The Goblet of Fire”) and held up a framed portrait of Cedric. Members of the audience held up their cell phones above their heads and swayed to the music. The light from the screens shined like candle lights during an evening memorial celebration.

The concert concluded when Carpenter broke his guitar. It wasn’t like when rock stars slam their guitar into pieces after a concert; rather, I think his guitar just broke from overuse.

Nevertheless, the concert was undoubtedly a huge success. Ginny and the HeartBreakers called the enthusiastic fans one of the “best crowds ever.”

"We love wizard rock fans and the other wizard rock bands," said Stacy Kastner, a member of the HeartBreakers.

By the end of the night, the kids (even with their boundless energy) seemed at least a little bit tired from dancing wildly to the music.

More Photos of the Wizard Rock Concert

NOTE: Click any photo to start your own slideshow — then keep clicking.

Ginny and the HeartBreakers dance and sing while wearing Harry Potter's signature maroon-and-gold scarves. All photos by Elaine Gu (click to enlarge)

Subfreshmen Jamie Blue (Abercrombie shirt), Marie Lilly, and Christina Harden fix their eyes on the performing band.

Many Harry Potter fans dressed up for the concert. One girl wore a lion hat (emblematic of the Gryffindor Lion), while the girl to her right wore a tall witch hat.

Children jump around the stage, enjoying the fast-paced music and soaking up the energetic atmosphere.

A friend of Carpenter's holds up a framed portrait of the deceased wizard Cedric Diggory during the song "Remember Cedric."

Fans raise their hands up in the air and sway to the music during one of the few slow songs performed at the concert.


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Lauren Piester's picture

Remember Cedric is one of my

Remember Cedric is one of my favorite songs too.

I'm actually really sad I couldn't go to this concert.