For many, the advent of the Christmas season conjures images of snow, holiday shopping, sweet treats and dreams of special presents. For others, the days leading up to the holiday season mean something a little different. For these particular music lovers, the Thanksgiving holiday marks the start of another touring season for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Known affectionately as TSO by devoted fans, this mega touring ensemble features two complete musical acts known as TSO East and TSO West. Together, this highly successful act brings the excitement of their music and light show to as many major cities as possible. The beginnings of TSO was the brainchild of three individuals. Two of them, who were brother musicians, played together in a metal band called Savatage. This band wanted to find a new concept that would appeal to a broad audience. With the guidance of band manager and producer, Paul O’Neill, the rudiments of the now popular TSO was in place. The death of guitarist Criss Oliva, who was killed by a drunk driver, slowed the progress but their dream did not die. With the addition of other Savatage members and O’Neill’s talent for finding gifted vocalists and musicians, the stage was set for the debut of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
The group decided to focus mainly on re-creating classical holiday favorites with a heavier metal edge. O’Neill, who had a deep love of Christmas and a knack for storytelling, would weave these two elements together to tell a story about lost and found dreams that are magically fulfilled on the holiest of nights. They have released several top-selling Christmas albums which feature an array of singers and musicians that blend together in a rich and melodic tapestry that captivates young and old alike.
The band has also released several non-holiday albums that again showcase O’Neill’s talent for storytelling and Jon Oliva’s incredible ability to blend story with music. One of the albums focused on what might have happened on the last night Of Beethoven’s life. Aptly named, Beethoven’s Last Night, (BLN) the album spotlights what the composer may have done if he had to choose between saving the soul of a homeless girl and losing his musical legacy or choosing to save his compositions.
Along with the incredible stories and haunting music, TSO works hard to better the lives of others. They donate thousands of dollars every year to support wounded soldiers, ensure music programs remain in school and they strive to keep ticket prices low in order for families to enjoy their concerts together.
While TSO is preparing to embark on their 21st tour, it is with sad hearts. Earlier this year, Paul O’Neill died of complications relating to medication and an existing medical problem. Along with his tragic passing, in July, a beloved bass player was killed in a tractor trailer accident as he was on tour with another band. The loss of these two beloved and talented men will be memorialized during the shows this year. The future of TSO remains unclear at this time. However, their legacy will live on forever in the hearts of their fans.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.