Christmas-themed prog-rock orchestra Wizards of Winter is wrapping up this year’s tour with an 8 p.m. show Saturday at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry.
Band leader and founder Scott Kelly said the show is a journey through space and time, with family-friendly moral messages.
Kelly, a keyboardist, said the group has a dozen members who collectively are former members of bands including Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult and The Irish Tenors.
“It’s a pretty diverse group,” Kelly said.
The show is a holiday rock opera with original songs. The premise is an adventure to various Christmas scenes throughout history, including fictional, non-fictional and religious stories.
“You get on board this mythical vehicle we call the Arctic Flyer,” Kelly said.
The story is inspired by the time-and-space travel of the British science-fiction television show “Dr. Who.”
“I’m a big ‘Dr. Who’ fan,” Kelly said. “The unique thing about him and his story is he has this neat little ship he calls the TARDIS and he can journey to any place and time.”
The Wizards of Winter show, which runs two and a half hours, takes its audience from the birth of Christ in Bethlehem to visit Ebenezer Scrooge in 19th-century London, and from the North Pole to modern-day scenes of homelessness.
“In the end, most of the songs have a bit of a moral tale to them,” Kelly said. “It’s about family and loved ones and friends and helping your brother.”
Kelly formed the group with his wife and a friend, doing cover tunes of traditional Christmas songs as a charity fundraiser for a soup kitchen. One show became two shows, and two shows became 10.
By 2011, Kelly was writing original music and, by 2013, the ensemble had started to gain former members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Today, they still have two of those members; John O. Reilly, who did drums for TSO for 15 years, and Tony Gaynor, who was a TSO narrator/storyteller for 12 years.
Wizards of Winter has written about 40 songs and released two albums so far; the first one was self-titled; the second was called the “Magic of Christmas.” A third album, “The Christmas Dream,” had been written and produced and is set to be released next year.
Kelly places the Wizards somewhere between the high intensity of the TSO (although with less lights and lasers) and the more sedate Mannheim Steamroller.
“We’re just looking forward to coming back and seeing some friends,” Kelly said of the Tupelo show. “We like playing in New Hampshire.”