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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Celebrities /  Trans-Siberian Orchestra
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Monday, December 8,2014

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

By Liz Sterling
The holidays are happening, for sure! Even if merchandizing started the day after Halloween, there’s really something magical in the air. It’s palpable, and I hope you can feel it. The holidays also mean the year is coming to an end and with that, a new beginning. I love this season because it offers possibilities that can ignite the wonder of a child, the enthusiasm of a student, the wisdom of a teacher, the heartfulness of new lovers and the excitement of anyone who chooses to see life as an adventure. 
Our feature story this month, Trans Siberian Orchestra, illustrates the rare expression and coalescing of vision, passion and creativity. Join me for a few minutes as you glean the transformational power of artistry combined with imagination. Enjoy the journey this December as you uncover the treasure trove of delight that awaits your discovery.
When Paul O'Neill first conceived Trans-Siberian Orchestra, TSO, his goal was as straightforward as it was incredibly ambitious. "The whole idea," he explains, "was to create a progressive rock band that would push the boundaries (of the genre) further than any group before …way, way further."
O'Neill, a New York City native grew up with a wide-ranging world of (rock) musical influences. But O'Neill also soaked up sources such as Broadway musicals, Motown and singer-songwriters such as Jim Croce and Harry Chapin, while authors such as Oscar Wilde and Robert Graves fueled his literary tastes. 
Producing introduced O'Neill to Jon Oliva, Bob Kinkel and Al Pitrelli, as well as reconnecting him with legendary studio engineer Dave Wittman, who all became key original collaborators in O'Neill's grand vision, Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
"I wanted to take the very best of all the forms of music I grew up on and merge them into a new style," O'Neill says. "Basically I was building on the work of everybody I worshipped: the rock opera parts from bands like the Who; the marriage of classical and rock from bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Queen; the over-the-top light show from bands like Pink Floyd... I always wanted to do a full rock opera with a full progressive band and at least 18 lead singers."
But TSO really cemented its following in concert. The group hit the road in 1999, beginning an annual November-December extravaganza that O'Neill takes pride in being, "as over the top as we can make it. We have, two stages with pyro, light and lasers on both sides of the arena, as well as in the crowd and the best sound we can find... There's no second-class seats at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show. I want people to walk out of our shows speechless and still not believing what they have seen was possible."
"We spend a lot of time planning," O'Neill confesses with a laugh, "and people are always telling me, 'Paul, stop writing and start recording!' It's working out great, though. I feel lucky that it's gone this long and that we get to do what we love for a living. The arts have incredible power, and with that comes incredible responsibility. Someone once said that if you want to change the world, don't become a politician write a book, write a great song. I believe in that, and that's what Trans-Siberian Orchestra is about."
"I've always believed that music has the power to transport and transform," O'Neill explained. "The original concept of Trans-Siberian Orchestra was how to make music have the most emotional impact. We always try to write melodies that are so infectious they don't need lyrics, and lyrics so poetic that they don't need a melody, but when you combine the two together they create an alloy where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Once those songs are woven together into a tapestry, they create a story which gives each song a third dimension."
"That was so much in the spirit of Trans-Siberian Orchestra," O'Neill explains. "This is a group a constantly morphing group of extremely creative and talented individuals who are always trying to raise the bar of where a band can take its audience sonically, visually and emotionally. With that as our core ideal, the possibilities are endless."
TSO 2014 Winter Tour: The Christmas Attic Tour Announcement!
Dear TSO Fans,
We are thrilled to announce that this year's tour is the live debut of The Christmas Attic! “After kicking off the New Year in front of two million fans at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, followed by our second European tour, the band felt that a perfect way to end the year would be to perform the only rock opera from the trilogy that has never been seen live."
Paul O'Neill (TSO creator, lyricist and composer) of The Christmas Attic tells us, “The narrative begins on Christmas Eve, when a young girl's curiosity leads her to a night of mischief and magic. She decides to sneak up into the attic of her parents' home while she should be asleep, and there discovers a magical doorway to the past in the form of a mysterious trunk filled with ornaments, toys, old records and bundles of handwritten letters. A startling discovery in one of the letters, leads to an unlikely adventure. Some of the songs off The Christmas Attic have never been played live. As I have always said ‘it is fun to write the songs, it is fun to record them, but they are never really completed until we perform them in front of a live arena audience.’” 
The Live Debut of The Christmas Attic, a rock holiday tradition for a new generation will perform at the BB&T Center on December 12th, 4pm and 8pm performances.

 

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