A magical journey with Wizards of Winter

 

the-wizards-of-winter-davis-imaging-the-fuze-magazine-70The Wizards Of Winter! … Are NOT a Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) tribute band, they would like you to know. They are a musical group with a common goal. Producing their own original work in the style of the TSO, in a more intimate setting. Yes, you will hear them cover a few TSO songs, but most of their music is their own. Their first show of their 2016 tour took place at the Crouse Hinds Theater in Syracuse.

Upon entry you saw a dimly lit theater that slopes down to lead you to your seat. An eager crowd of about 400 people were in attendance to see the magical performance. First you were greeted with their story teller/narrator, Tony Gaynor – a former member of the TSO. He was known by many as the original voice for the TSO. He tells a tale of Christmas and how it affects us all in one way or another. While painting a vivid picture of this adventure aboard the Arctic Flyer (the imaginary craft to shuttle us around this magical adventure world) we experienced a variety of emotions through the music. Happy and optimistic like the song “Just Believe,” and a very heavy sense of self-loathing and regret in the song “Ebenezer” – emphasizing the importance of finding the magic and meaning of Christmas.

The performance they did of their original work “Waken to the Sound” made me want to get my tree up that night. The song was a beautiful composition of instrumentals and voices, with a tasteful twist of electric guitar. “March of the Metal Soldiers” is not only a fund raising effort for the wounded warrior project, but simply a wonderful melodic production of rock and Christmas music mixed. With the chorus in Latin, it adds an eerie serious tone to the song.

As the night played on – Guy LeMonnier – a former member of the TSO, brought a seriously great performance with his killer voice. As he sang “The Spirit of Christmas” I had goosebumps. He is also on tour with the group for 2016. They also played “Flight of the Snow Angels” a fantastic mix of flute; strings and rock grind of the electric guitar. Lead flutist Sharon Kelly performed some amazing shows of flexibility during several of her flute solos, and with violinist Jen Hamilton.

There was an interactive number with the audience by Mary Daniels. She told us all about what “Mrs. Clause” was up to as she handed out smiles and candy canes. Then the Arctic Flyer leaves the North Pole and travels to the Winter Queens domain. A cover of the TSO “Queen of the Winter Night” was a unique heavy piece that leaves one feeling fearless and ready for action! It’s a powerful song with attitude. The songs play on with a serious three guitar solo session. The very entertaining T.W. Durfy, Fred Gorhau, and Greg Smith all seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves while they played.

After the final words were spoken from Tony thanking the audience for coming, he quickly maneuvered an encore with great gusto! After all Thanksgiving was the next day, and the nasty weather had come. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in the encore was so well sung I believe everyone would agree that no one wanted the show to end. The Wizards of Winter look forward to more amazing performances and more adventures as the season goes on!

 

 

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Jessica Putvin / The Fuze Magazine
Joshua Davis / Davis Imaging / The Fuze Magazine  

 

 

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