Holiday rock opera ensemble the WIZARDS OF WINTER truly thrived during the yuletide season of 2015, putting smiles on the faces of tens of thousands of performance attendees and amassing the attention of mainstream media – such as Entertainment Weekly and Yahoo Music – with their infectious festive sound.
Aiming to top the success of their 2015 tour, the WIZARDS OF WINTER are announcing even more 2016 holiday tour dates! The ensemble, which features former members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will perform at venues this upcoming November and December in several eastern and central U.S. markets. All confirmed dates are listed further below.
This year’s event promises to bring even bigger production and some new musical surprises. In addition to expanded production, the WIZARDS OF WINTER have expanded their line-up! Joining the Wizards full-time are Ted Nugent bassist/vocalist Greg Smith, former Trans-Siberian Orchestra vocalist Peter Shaw, seasoned vocalist Shawna Mehall and accomplished violinist Jenn Hamilton.
In addition to his time as an official member of Ted Nugent‘s touring band, Greg Smith has also played bass and performed backing vocals for artists such as Billy Joel, Alice Cooper, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Alan Parsons Project, Blue Oyster Cult, Dokken, Vinnie Moore, Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics and many more. Smith was also the principal bassist and provided backing vocals for the Tony Award-winning Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp musical “Movin’ Out” for its entire three-year run on Broadway, in addition to one year on the road.
Smith adds, “I’m very happy to announce that I’ll back with the WIZARDS OF WINTER this time as a member of the band. I look very much forward to playing this challenging and fun music again with these great musicians and singers. I’m also looking forward to once again meeting the wonderful fans of the band new and old. Last year was an amazing musical adventure and I can’t wait to get out on the road and do it all over again! Hope to see you all at the shows!”
Vocalist Peter Shaw is recognized primarily as a touring member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, of which he was a part of for four years. Shaw recently released his first solo album entitled More Alive, which can be purchased at www.petershawmusic.com or streamed worldwide via Pandora or Spotify. Peter Shaw is pleased to now lend his vocal talents to the WIZARDS OF WINTER as an official member.
Shaw states, “What a thrill it is to be touring with the WIZARDS OF WINTER. It was during my first audition that I felt I’d fit right in with this wonderful group of talented performers. And as the old saying goes, “gotta love what you do”, well I do. Enjoy the show! Merry Christmas!”
Jenn Hamilton began studying classical piano at a young age, soon picking up the violin with the intention of exploring the rock genre. Met with resistance by her instructors and peers at first, Hamilton began thinking outside the box on her own, eventually becoming a violin instructor and exploring unorthodox options and styles with her students. Hamilton joined a local band soon after, furthering the personal and musical challenge that in turn honed her skills. Hamilton is pleased to join the WIZARDS OF WINTER as violinist and is eager to prove her versatility on tour.
Hamilton states, “Bringing the violin into the rock genre has been a lifelong wish of mine, and I’m both thrilled and humbled that the WIZARDS OF WINTER have let me bring that passion on tour with them this year. The decision to audition for them could be called a bold move for a teacher-by-day, violinist-by-night musician such as myself, but I’m so glad I took that step! I’m incredibly excited and honored to be standing under the lights with such a fun and talented group as we welcome yet another Christmas.”
As the youngest member of the WIZARDS OF WINTER,29-year-old Shawna Mehall is not only a talented vocalist, but a trained dancer and instrumentalist who began performing at just seven-years-old. Mehall further honed her craft by competing nationally in choral and band competitions, and after supporting the band behind-the-scenes for years, was recently invited to join the WIZARDS OF WINTER as an official member by her parents, Wizards bandleaders Scott and Sharon Kelly.
Mehall states, “The WIZARDS OF WINTER have been a huge part of my life since the band’s creation by my parents, Scott and Sharon Kelly and their close friend Steve Ratchen. I consider the band and crew my extended family. I’ve worked behind the scenes since the beginning and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join them on stage this year as a vocalist. It is an honor to share the stage with such talented musicians, as well as my parents, and I am really looking forward to this year’s tour!”
See below for a full listing of dates and please visit each venue’s website for ticketing information.
The WIZARDS OF WINTER Tour Dates:
11/23 – Syracuse, NY @ Crouse Hinds Theater
11/25 – Staten Island, NY @ St. George Theatre
11/26 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
11/27 – Beverly, MA @ Cabot Theatre
12/1 – York, PA @ Strand-Capitol Perf. Arts Center
12/2 – Binghamton, NY @ The Forum Performing Arts Theatre
12/4 – Plymouth, NH @ Flying Monkey Performance Center
12/8 – Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall
12/9 – Pittsburgh, PA (Munhall) @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
12/10 – Collingswood, NJ @ Scottish Rite Auditorium
12/11 – Easton, PA @ State Theater Performing Arts Center
12/15 – Kalamazoo, MI @ State Theatre
12/16 – Waukegan, IL @ Genesee Theater
12/17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Northern Lights Theater (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
12/18 – Turtle Lake, WI @ St. Croix Casino
Music director/keyboardist Scott Kelly states, “The WIZARDS OF WINTER are excited to celebrate the holiday season, and we are once again ready to bring joy, peace and holiday cheer to all. We have many new surprises for our fans on our upcoming tour and look forward to seeing you out there!”