Harry Potter fans prepare to rock at 2nd annual benefit concert

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Harry Potter and wizard rock fans from across Kansas and the U.S. will be coming together for the second annual “Hallows and Horcruxes Ball” from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday in the K-State Student Union Ballroom.

The “Hallows and Horcruxes Ball” is a rock concert featuring wizard rock bands inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series. Bands scheduled to perform are The Remus Lupins, The Parselmouths, The Moaning Myrtles, Ministry of Magic, The Mudbloods, The Whomping Willows and Gred and Forge. Five of these bands were rated among the top 10 wizard rock bands by MTV in 2007.

“Wizard rock speaks to the enormous influence of the Harry Potter series,” said Philip Nel, professor of English and director of K-State’s children’s literature program. “How many books do you know of that have inspired an entire musical movement?”

Karin Westman, associate professor and head of the English department, said she first learned about wizard rock in 2005 when she attended a performance by Harry and the Potters at the Dusty Bookshelf in Aggieville. After she saw other wizard rock bands at an international conference on Harry Potter, Westman said she thought there could be a similar event at K-State.

“I thought K-State students and the Manhattan community should have the opportunity to experience wizard rock and its commitment to literacy,” said Westman, who is also co-organizer of the ball.

The event not only is a way to entertain fans, but also is a way to promote literacy. All proceeds from the ball will be donated to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged children with new books. Last year’s ball raised $900.

Alisha Sommerville, senior in elementary education, attended last year’s concert and said she enjoyed the music and “amazing” atmosphere.

“I look forward to watching Ministry of Magic’s performance this year,” Sommerville said. “It was awesome last year. It’s kind of techno-feel music and very well written.”

For some, the concert is a way to connect with friends. Julia Katz, graduate student at Southern Connecticut State University, said she met a friend through a Harry Potter fan-fiction podcast who lives in Manhattan and invited her to come out to last year’s concert. She said she has seen the bands play before and they all play an “awesome” show.

“I would have been a total idiot to pass up the chance to see them play again,” Katz said.

The concert is sponsored by K-State’s Children and Adolescent Literature Community, the English department, Union Program Council, Student Governing Association and the Manhattan Music Coalition.

Tickets are free for K-State students with their student IDs and are $12 to the public. Tickets can be purchased at the UPC office on the third floor of the Union, by calling 785-532-6571 or online at http://www.myspace.com/ksuchalc.

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