Merry Metal Christmas: Wizards Of Winter Celebrate Christmas Hard Rock Style At Roanoke Rapids Theatre

Copyright: Philip Sayblack

Wizards of Winter gave audiences an early Christmas gift Saturday night with a performance at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

The world-renowned holiday hard rock super group performed at the theater as part of its tour in support of its latest album “The Christmas Dream.” The band released the album — its third overall — independently Sept. 27.

Copies of “The Christmas Dream” were available for sale in the lobby throughout the evening. Band founder and keyboardist Scott Kelly informed the audience during the show that any active duty military personnel in attendance would receive copies of the album for free while proceeds from the sales of other copies would benefit the Wounded Warrior project. The Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veterans service organization that helps military service members transition from military service life to civilian life.

 

Copyright: Philip Sayblack

The amped up sounds of the season echoed through the theater’s main hall over the course of more than two hours, as the band performed its own take on songs, such as ‘Jingle Bells,’ ‘The First Noel’ and ‘We Three Kings.’ The songs were taken from the band’s new album. Announcer Tony Gaynor came in between songs to help the band take the audience on their musical journey to the North Pole and beyond aboard the “Arctic Flyer.”

The nearly three hour show featured two separate sets, each one full of holiday-themed songs, lots of lights and holiday cheer. Band founder and keyboardist Scott Kelly even took a moment to offer his own inspiring words to the audience during a break in the show’s second set.

“If you pay it forward, good things can happen.”

Kelly recently spoke with Phil’s Picks ahead of the band’s decision to play at the theater. He said the venue’s size played into the band’s decision to perform at the facility.

“The Wizards have only performed in North Carolina once before,” he said. “Despite the large number of venues in the State, few are the right size for a band like ours. They are either arenas or smaller. The RRT provides the exact mix that works best for our show. Intimate, yet large enough to allow us to do our whole production.”

 

Copyright: Philip Sayblack

The performance hall inside the Roanoke Rapids Theatre was packed with people clapping their hands and tapping their feet along with the music throughout the night. Among the dozens who attended was Roanoke Rapids couple Betsy and Neil Rumford. The couple said before the concert, they moved to town last year from Richmond, Virginia, adding they are glad the city and county have the theater.

“It is really important for this theater to be here,” Betsy said. “It draws a lot of people. We’ve got friends in Richmond who came down recently just to see the Elvis show.”

Neil expanded on her comments.

“This theater being here helps to promote the city and the county,” he said. “It promotes community. It really puts the city and the county on the map. It really makes me think of the theater in Branson, Missouri because of its layout.”

Roanoke Rapids Theatre Security Officer Joel Motley had similar sentiments to those of the Rumfords as he talked about the theater before the concert.

“I love seeing everyone here,” he said. “The citizens of Halifax and Northampton counties need somewhere to go, and the theater gives them that place to go. We are growing here at this theater, and it feels good to know that.”

 

Copyright: Philip Sayblack

While the first set of Saturday night’s concert focused mainly on Wizards of Winter’s latest album, the second set presented a more diverse lineup of songs. The band, whose members have performed and recorded with other famous acts, such as Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, performed two songs from TSO in the Wizards’ own style, as well as some of its own older songs. The set also featured a powerful rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ that saw the concert hall fill with lights from the audience’s cell phones.

As the show ended, announcer Tony Gaynor told the audience the he hoped the theater officials will make the band’s performance an annual event. Gaynor’s statement brought applause and cheers from the entire audience. From there, some made their way to the building’s lobby, waiting for a free meet-and-greet with the band while others made their way back to their vehicles to make their return home.

Wizards Of Winter Founder Scott Kelly Talks ‘The Christmas Dream’ With Phil’s Picks

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Wizards of Winter’s tour in support of its new album The Christmas Dream has made headlines nationwide ever since its launch last month. The tour rolls into Roanoke Rapids next Saturday with lots of music planned for the intimate venue.

With the band’s stop in Halifax County, North Carolina’s hub, founding member and Musical Director Scott Kelly took a moment to talk with Phil’s Picks about the band’s upcoming show and the band’s new album Tuesday.  His conversation is transcribed in full below.

PP: Wizards of Winter is an extremely popular band, to say the least. The band has developed fans around the world with just three albums. To that end, the band could have its pick of performance venues, so what was it about the Roanoke Rapids Theatre that attracted the group to the venue?

SK: The Wizards have only performed in North Carolina once before. Despite the large number of venues in the State, few are the right size for a band like ours. They are either arenas or smaller. The RRT provides the exact mix that works best for our show. Intimate, yet large enough to allow us to do our whole production.

PP: Was the writing process for your latest album any different from that of your previous two albums?  If so, what made it different?  Was it easier or harder this time around?

SK: Our writing process usually takes the same path. Scott develops the melodies and lyrics. He then brings them to Fred and Sharon for review and tweaking. Fred provides the powerful guitar components to all the arrangements at the point. Then the rest of the band comes into the studio and we build the actual song that people get to hear.  The recording process was a little different this time having both Greg Smith and John O’Reilly in the band. They are a powerful rhythm section that made things flow very smoothly.

 

PP:All three of the band’s have received critical acclaim from fans and critics alike. Keeping that in mind, what does that support mean to you and to the rest of the band’s members?

SK: The Wizards don’t have a record label or corporate sponsors behind them. The group started as small idea to help others in need and have blossomed from there.  Building what has become a national legion of fans along with acclaim from critics across the globe has been very heartwarming for everyone involved. It just goes to show that if you work hard and keep dreams alive, wonderful things can happen.

PP: Which song from The Christmas Dream is your favorite and why?

SK: There are actually two songs that are most important to me. The first is Secrets of the Snow Globe. I wrote that with Sharon’s voice in mind to totally showcase her magnificent vocal range. She absolutely delivers on it and it makes me proud. Also the guitar work that Fred Gorhau provides is nothing short of stellar.

The second song is A Toast to Time. It is a simple reflection on life, the search for happiness and relationships. It closes our show every evening and always draws a wonderful reaction from the audience.

PP: Was it difficult establishing a set list for the show, what with not only the band’s own catalog, but that of the band’s members, some being from Trans Siberian Orchestra, others from the Irish Tenors and others being from Blue Oyster Cult?

SK: Since the storyline is an original Holiday rock opera defining the set list is relatively easy. We board the Arctic Flyer and journey inside a snow globe in search of the true meaning of Christmas  The story is told through our original compositions.. The story changes a little every year, depending on where the Arctic Flyer journeys but still easy for us to create.

PP:Staying on the note of the set list, can audiences expect to hear mainly music from WOW’s three albums, or perhaps some music from TSO?

SK: There isn’t music from the other mentioned groups in the show other than a small section of one cover song.

PP:What are some of your personal favorite bands/groups?  I know it has to get tiresome to play the same stuff night after night, day after day, so when you’re not on stage, what do you listen to?

SK:  My personal favorite bands of all time are Styx, Queen, ELP , Deep Purple, and Kansas.  Lately I listen to a lot of Nightwish.

 

PP:  What is your personal favorite part of Christmas?

SK:  Christmas at our house has changed over the years as the band and tour have grown. Anyone that follows us knows that our family is very closely knit.  We are always together and truly enjoy it. Spending time relaxing after coming off  the road and just “ being” is my personal favorite part.  As we all know, life is short and it moments like that that mean the most and should be treasured.

Anyone who is interested in coming to the Roanoke Rapids Theatre Dec. 21 to experience Wizards of Winter live can go online to the band’s website wizardsofwinter.com and to rrtlive.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Wizards of Winter Reveals ‘The Christmas Dream’ Track Listing

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Wizards of Winter revealed the track listing this week, for the group’s new album.

The album, The Christmas Dream, features 10 new songs from the band, one of which — ‘Handel’s Torch’ — has already been released as a preview for the album. The song is streaming online through YouTube and through the band’s official website.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

The Christmas Dream tracklisting:
1. Secrets of the Snow Globe
2. Handel’s Torch
3. Gonna Snow
4. Polar Eve
5. Midnight Noel
6.The Four Kings
7. The Happy Song
8. In Plain Sight
9. Christmas Dream (Salzburg Carol)
10. A Toast to Time (Farewell)

Pre-orders are open now for The Christmas Dream are open now.  Audiences who pre-order the album will get an instant grat download of the song ‘Midnight Noel.’

The announcement of the album’s track listing is just some of the band’s news. The band is scheduled to launch its annual holiday tour Nov. 13 in Key West, FL.  The tour is scheduled to run through Dec. 21 in Roanoke Rapids, NC with additional dates to be announced soon.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

THE WIZARDS OF WINTER 2019 Holiday Tour Dates:
11/13 – Key West, FL @ Key West Theatre
11/14 – Melbourne, FL @ Melbourne Auditorium
11/15 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
11/16 – Stuart, FL @ Lyric Theater
11/21 – Pueblo, CO @ Pueblo Memorial Hall
11/22 – Alto, NM @ Spencer Theatre
11/23 – Gilbert, AZ @ Higley PAC
11/24 – Wickenburg, AZ @ Del E. Webb PAC
11/29 – Patchogue, NY @ Patchogue Theatre
11/30 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Paramount Theatre
12/1 – Englewood, NJ @ Bergen PAC
12/5 – Angola, IN @ T. Furth PAC
12/6 – Pontiac, MI @ Flagstar Strand Theatre
12/7 – Johnson Creek, WI @ Gobbler Theatre
12/8 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theatre
12/12 – Wisconsin Rapids, WI @ Wisconsin Rapids PAC
12/13 – Harris, MI @ Island Resort Casino
12/14 – Harris, MI @ Island Resort Casino
12/15 – Wabash, IN @ Honeywell Theatre
12/17 – Canton, OH @ Canton Palace
12/19 – Derry, NH @ Tupelo Music Hall
12/20 – Jim Thorpe, PA @ Penns Peak
12/21 – Roanoke Rapids, NC @ Roanoke Rapids Theatre
+More dates TBA!

More information on The Wizards of Winter’s upcoming tour and new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.thewizardsofwinter.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/TheWizardsofWinter

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Wizards Of Winter Debut New LP’s Lead Single; Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

The Wizards Of Winter are working their magic again.

The band released the first teaser for its forthcoming album The Christmas Dream this week.  The teaser comes in the form of a brief snippet of the album’s lead single ‘Handel’s Torch,’ which is streaming now at the band’s official website.  The song is streaming in its entirety at the band’s official YouTube Channel.

Wizards of Winter founder and keyboardist Scott Kelly discussed the song in a recent interview.

“It is often said that prog-rock music is the classical music of our day,” he said.  “The band thought it would be fun to put a rock spin on one of the great classical tunes associated with Christmas.  ‘Handel’s Torch’ is a nod to the ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’  If you listen closely you will hear several other classic melodies woven through the piece as well.  It is a blast to play and we think it rocks.  We hope our fans think it rocks, too.”

Pre-orders for The Christmas Dream are open now.  The album features 10 new songs from WOW. The track listing will be announced soon.

The debut of its new single is just one of the big announcements that Wizards of Winter made this week.  The band is scheduled to launch its annual holiday tour Nov. 13 in Key West, FL.  The tour is scheduled to run through Dec. 21 in Roanoke Rapids, NC with additional dates to be announced soon.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

THE WIZARDS OF WINTER 2019 Holiday Tour Dates:
11/13 – Key West, FL @ Key West Theatre
11/14 – Melbourne, FL @ Melbourne Auditorium
11/15 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
11/16 – Stuart, FL @ Lyric Theater
11/21 – Pueblo, CO @ Pueblo Memorial Hall
11/22 – Alto, NM @ Spencer Theatre
11/23 – Gilbert, AZ @ Higley PAC
11/24 – Wickenburg, AZ @ Del E. Webb PAC
11/29 – Patchogue, NY @ Patchogue Theatre
11/30 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Paramount Theatre
12/1 – Englewood, NJ @ Bergen PAC
12/5 – Angola, IN @ T. Furth PAC
12/6 – Pontiac, MI @ Flagstar Strand Theatre
12/7 – Johnson Creek, WI @ Gobbler Theatre
12/8 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theatre
12/12 – Wisconsin Rapids, WI @ Wisconsin Rapids PAC
12/13 – Harris, MI @ Island Resort Casino
12/14 – Harris, MI @ Island Resort Casino
12/15 – Wabash, IN @ Honeywell Theatre
12/17 – Canton, OH @ Canton Palace
12/19 – Derry, NH @ Tupelo Music Hall
12/20 – Jim Thorpe, PA @ Penns Peak
12/21 – Roanoke Rapids, NC @ Roanoke Rapids Theatre
+More dates TBA!

More information on The Wizards of Winter’s upcoming tour and new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.thewizardsofwinter.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheWizardsofWinter

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.