Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wizards of Winter

By Christopher Silva

The day was Sunday, December thirteenth and the location the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The event that I and my uncles have shown up for is a group called The Wizards of Winter. This group is comprised of some original members, while certain musicians are from a group called Trans Siberian Orchestra.

“This 11-man ensemble blends their heavy metal, progressive rock vibe with the heartwarming sounds of the season,” says a quote on the venue’s website to promote the group’s show. We had entered ten minutes late, so the show had already started as we were walking in. Standing in the lobby as we got our drinks, the lights were low and we could hear the band already performing behind the big wooden doors. From the back, the music was booming through the playhouse, which appeared as if at max could possibly fit three hundred people.

As we neared our seats, which were third row center, it was clear that these musicians were ready to put on a great show. As I stated earlier, some of these musicians were from the group Trans Siberian Orchestra; some of the songs they covered were: “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo,” “Mad Russian,” “Christmas in the Air,” “Old City Bar,” and “Queen of the Winter Night.” They also performed songs from their own rock opera "Tales Beneath A Northern Star." The sound in the playhouse was amazing and as the music played everyone stayed silent as they watched and listened.

To go with their music, they prepared parts to be spoken by narrators in between songs. This concept worked so well that the audience felt as if we were transported to the setting of the story that was being told. Only a couple of weeks before Christmas, in this show the spirit of the holiday was there. The music was great and left everyone in an excessively good mood. However, it was not just all Christmas music; they also decided to do a few covers of well known songs.

The first song they covered was Joe Cocker’s rendition of the Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The second song that they covered was “Kashmir” by Led Zepplin and the final song they covered was “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. This selection of cover songs showed us not only a taste of what inspires their music, but possibly where this group got its start from. They had a great stage presence, often engaging with the whole audience, not just the front rows. They accomplished this by occasionally going through the aisles continuing to perform their music. At the end of the show the group, all eleven of them, stayed in the lobby for over an hour so that excited fans could get autographs as well as photos
The show was more than worth the price of admission, which was only thirty five dollars. The show lasted for over an hour and a half and the sound quality was impressive; every note played was clear and distinguishable. While this group might not be known anywhere near as well as the group certain members originate from, the Wizards Of Winter were definitely well practiced and had writing skills to match.

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