The Wizards of Winter was originally formed in the winter of 2009 as a way to give back to their hometown community. The local town's food pantry was in severe financial straits and in response, band leader Scott Kelly was looking to hold a holiday concert event to support the cause. Kelly, multi-talented keyboardist, took it upon himself to create a Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute project, one that featured world-class musicians, to emphasize his deep love for the arena-level prog-rock. He approached his wife, Sharon Kelly (Lead Vocal/ Flutist), and Bassist, Steve Ratchen, regarding the concept, and both liked the idea. With the three of them as a nucleus, they built a team of stellar musicians from seasoned professionals to well-respected locals whose capability for excellence filled the project’s needs. Under the banner Wizards of Winter, the ensemble was able to give back to the community with several performances of holiday music of TSO in late 2010.
As expected, the events were a success and the Wizards were able to help the struggling food bank. But in the process, something else happened. “We did a couple of shows that first year and people wanted to buy our album,” says Kelly. “We didn't have one.” The seed for growth was planted. In 2011 the band embarked on writing their own holiday rock opera, “Tales Beneath a Northern Star”.
What was once a tribute group created solely to call attention to a charity in need has now turned into a musical force of its own design. “For many, Christmas rock music is associated with TSO or even Mannheim Steamroller” says Founder, Scott Kelly. “There is room for something in between the extravagant production of TSO and more reserved presentation of Mannheim,” Kelly continues. “This is where I see the Wizards fit.”