SCRANTON — Holiday magic becomes tangible in different ways — parties, decorations, dinners, and gifts — but for families that prefer magic of the musical variety, there’s the holiday-themed progressive rock act The Wizards of Winter.
At 8 p.m. Dec. 3, The Wizards of Winter will perform at Scranton’s The Theater at Lackawanna College. The band started in 2009, but founder and keyboardist Scott Kelly soon began arranging his own holiday-themed compositions. Kelly and The Wizards of Winter eventually grabbed the attention of former Trans-Siberian Orchestra members, including vocalist Guy LeMonnier.
“There’s a lot of Trans-Siberian Orchestra cover bands, and no artist wants to be in a cover band of a band they were already in at another point and time,” LeMonnier said. “But from the very first rehearsal from the very first time meeting them they’re this incredible family. Most importantly, from a business standpoint, they write beautiful music. That automatically attracted me to them.”
LeMonnier, who began touring with The Wizards of Winter in 2013, said the band steps away from the iconic Christmas rock outfit that inspired them more and more with each passing year. The Wizards of Winter pay homage to Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a few covers during their show, but the group now has two studio albums of original material to pull from for its live sets. LeMonnier said the band takes a family-friendly approach to its live show, which is something he feels Trans-Siberian Orchestra has lost through years of increasingly robust production values.
“I don’t want to say the show hasn’t changed, because it has, there are additions to it, but it’s also something that you can count on,” Lemonnier said. “It will always grow every year, but we try to maintain the same core principle. I thing the goal is to create a show people can count on every year the way they do ‘The Nutcracker’ or ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Those shows don’t change, they’re what we come to know and love and are able to constantly bring our families to. In this day and age, there’s not a lot of entertainment out there for families.”
LeMonnier said the music isn’t just made for families, it’s made by a non-traditional family that comes together to tour and perform during the holiday season.
“There’s great love on that stage and I wouldn’t trade these folks for the world,” LeMonnier said. “I’m so happy to be back out with them again.”