The Wizards of Winter is bringing its progressive musical experience “The Christmas Dream” to New Mexico.
The Christmas-themed tour visits the Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts in Alto, on Friday, Nov. 22.
“It’s based around music from our latest album which we released in September which is the same title ‘The Christmas Dream’ but also music from our previous two albums,” said Scott Kelly, Wizards of Winter founder and songwriter. “The story line is basically we take you on a journey on Christmas Eve inside a snowglobe. When you hang onto the wings of a snow angel and we go inside a snowglobe and we go in search of the true meaning of Christmas.”
The concert is a 2½ hour “emotional roller coaster” that is told through heavy rock songs to traditional Christmas music with a twist.
“When I sit down to write the music, it’s always with keeping the storyline in mind like you would in a Broadway play and also being mindful of the different vocalists that we have and so I write songs with their particular voice in mind,” Kelly said. “It’s a combination of all that. Keeping the storyline in mind, keeping it not too heavy on the metal side but not too commercial either and keep everything all together so it is a complex writing process.”
One of the band’s most popular songs was written and recorded in 24 hours.
“Our most commercial and radio hit is called ‘Waken to the Sound’ and that one I woke up in the middle of the night and I sat down and wrote the melodies, wrote the lyrics and put it to the band and we recorded it all in the studio the same day,” Kelly said. “In less than 24 hours the whole thing was done. It’s a crazy process, if you will.”
The lineup has always consisted of 12 members and has changed over the years since the band formed 10 years ago.
“This year we’ve got John O’Reilly as our drummer,” Kelly said. “He was with the Trans Siberian Orchestra for 15 years and prior to that he was with Blue Öyster Cult and Rainbow so he’s a world-class drummer. We’ve got Greg Smith on bass guitar and he’s actually headed out your way because he’s played with Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent and also Blue Öyster Cult, Tommy James and the Shondells and Billy Joel, so he’s a world-class musician. And then one of our guitarists, Steve Brown, just finished touring a couple years with Def Leppard and he was also the founder of a group called Trickster which has several MTV hits back in the ’90s. We’ve got Karl Scully, one of the lead vocalists. He was with the Irish Tenors for many years. We’ve got Broadway folks so it’s quite a combination of world-class people that form up the band.
Wizards of Winter was intended to be a one-time production by Kelly, his wife Sharon Kelly and a few friends to raise money for a local food bank.
“People liked the show and said ‘you should do it again’,” Scott Kelly said. “So what became two became 10. The next year, we said if we are going to this again, let’s write some original music so that’s what we set out to do and now it’s attracted some world-class musicians. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and say ‘how did I get here’ because it was never really our intent, but now it’s a wonderful thing every year.”