Trans-Siberian Orchestra rings in holiday season

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or TSO, doesn’t just go out with a bang, it comes in with one as well. The rock orchestra, which performed at 8 p.m. Friday in Breslin Center, presented its audience with elaborate onstage fire and an array of laser light shows.

The use of fire is nothing new to TSO, according to TSO music director Derek Wieland.

He said the production employs some of the best technicians of its field to allow for innovative performances.

“As a musician, it gives me the opportunity to work with different people from different walks of life,” Wieland said. “The show effects are all from people at the top of their field.”

While lighting and pyrotechnics might be nothing new to TSO, the show itself was an entirely new performance. Wieland said Friday’s performance of “The Lost Christmas Eve” is the first change in a TSO performance in the past 12 years.

“People have become attached to the band and the show and the music and the story (TSO does) every year, but we’ve found people are really, really excited about (the change),” he said. “We have everything they love about the show, but a newer and bigger experience for everybody.”

The traffic buildup and long waits to get inside Breslin Center suggested Wieland was right — not many were deterred from the TSO performance.

Hospitality business sophomore Carli Redinger said she has attended TSO for the past seven years and wouldn’t have missed Friday’s show for anything — even with the change in repertoire.

“I was expecting the same great show they give every year,” she said. “The show was really good, as usual. They changed the storyline this year, so it was a nice change to hear something different with a few different songs.”

Wieland said the show has become so popular during the years because viewers genuinely enjoy the experience.

He said while it’s typically popular among all ages, the show particularly resonates among college students.

“The form (of the show) is more definitive, and I think that college students (are) particularly receptive and interested in this,” Wieland said. “When you go to our shows, you’re seeing a unique form being developed … successfully. If I was still that age, I would enjoy it now.”

Outside of the atmosphere, Hodges said TSO draws such a crowd because of its history.

Redinger said the performance is versatile enough to interest anyone.

“TSO is so different than any other concert,” she said. “It appeals to a variety of audiences; it has a fun and rocking vibe rather than what you would usually associate with a typical orchestra. They’re running around, playing jokes on each other, dancing for the (whole performance) and really getting involved with the crowd.”

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