What would happen if Harry Potter quit the Quidditch team, stole a time turner, and started a punk rock band with himself from an earlier point in the space-time continuum? The answer is Harry and the Potters, an American rock band founded by (and consisting of) brothers Joe and Paul DeGeorge. They are the first wizard rock band, a genre of music which takes inspiration from the Harry Potter universe, and since their formation at a family barbecue in 2002 they have released three full-length studio albums, three major extended plays, one compilation album, and played nearly 800 shows all over the world.
“Reverent irreverence” is how Joe described the general attitude of the band in an interview with diy4lyfe, and the description is reflected in their music’s cheeky deadpan humor (with titles that include “Save Ginny Weasley,” “My Teacher is a Werewolf,” and “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock!”) and lo-fi, intentionally unpolished music, in keeping with the rough-edged, low-budget, do-it-yourself style of indie rock groups. Both brothers play Harry (in his 7th and 4th year), dressing the part in glasses and Hogwarts uniforms for their performances, and write all their songs from Harry’s perspective. The band loves to play in libraries, not only because they draw fans of the Harry Potter books and movies, but because they are highly accessible hubs of culture and literacy that attract young people of all ages and inspire them to use their love of fantasy, art, music, reading, and other passions to make a difference. As Joe explains, “The Harry Potter books grew to popularity in a grassroots style. With our band, Harry and the Potters, we imagined that we would be able to harness this organic enthusiasm for these stories and expose young people to a sort of music and culture that might inspire them to say, ‘Hey, I could do this too.’”
While writing and performing music filled with Harry Potter references sounds like the most fun job in the world, the legacy of Harry and the Potters extends beyond their entertainment value. In keeping with Harry Potter’s role as a champion for good and a fighter for justice, truth, and equality in the political and social arenas of J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world, Harry and the Potters strive to bring attention to important issues and inspire people to take action for worthy causes. For example, in 2005 the band helped co-found The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization that engages millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide to advocate for equality, human rights, and literacy. In just over 11 years (making it old enough to attend Hogwarts!), the Alliance has successfully lobbied for all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets to be 100% Fair Trade certified, raised over $123,000 for Partners in Health and sent five cargo planes of life-saving supplies to Haiti, donated over 250,000 books across the world through their Accio Books campaign, and more through the assistance of its many chapters throughout the world, including Orem’s very own chapter, Utah Valley Wizengamot.
One issue that Harry and the Potters are particularly passionate about is the importance of literacy for all. To further this excellent cause and follow in Harry Potter’s example of generosity and service, the Orem Library is partnering with Utah County for United Way to donate books to their Everyday Learners program, a movement which strengthens communities by encouraging families, neighbors, and organizations to engage in everyday learning opportunities, beginning with helping every child learn to read. We ask that everyone who comes to the Harry and the Potters after hours concert bring a donation of a new or gently used book for the United Way’s Everyday Learners. And while we’re making requests, we would love for you to come in costume! There will be a costume contest, a photo booth, and a few other exciting and magical activities for you to look forward to at the concert. Any teen volunteers who are interested in helping us turn the library into Hogwarts are invited to join our Teen Library Council meeting on Tuesday, November 8, at 6:30 pm in the Media Auditorium.
Register for the concert (to give us an idea of numbers) here.
Editor’s note: This event is recommended for ages 12 and up. The program received support from Utah Humanities and the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. Also, yes, we know the use of two exclamation points in the title is immature and excessive. We have failed you, Snape.