As the holiday season twinkles into life, so does the excitement for one favorite tradition: A live Trans-Siberian Orchestra experience. The TSO is famous for combining the beauty of classical music with the energy of rock, creating a unique holiday concert immersive experience with dynamic light shows and powerful musical arrangements.
We asked three moms, all Macaroni KID publishers, to attend this year's TSO show, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve: The Best of TSO and More! with their families. We asked them to share a few of their favorite pics from the concert, and let us know what they thought of the experience. Spoiler alert: They all had an AMAZING time!
Read on for their favorite parts of the experiences, along with their top mom tips if you're taking kids.
Why she wanted to go: My husband introduced me to TSO almost 12 years ago. We've always wanted to see them live, and we play their Christmas music every year as we decorate our tree! It's our holiday tradition.
Did the show meet your expectations? It was magical to experience! It was totally immersive. It felt like you were INSIDE the music. Even the stage lights were dancing, which was really cool. My 7-year-old loved the surprise snow! It made the experience feel so magical (Mom, LOOK! It's snowing! Inside!). Now he walks around humming their music.
My husband, a guitarist, loved the show. He couldn't stop talking about how talented the musicians are and how people don't realize how incredibly difficult it is to play the way they do.
Top mom tip: If your kids want to stand up and hop up and down — GO FOR IT! This is not a sit-still-and-listen concert. The room gets pretty warm with the pyrotechnics, so dress in layers. The sound is LOUD — bring ear plugs or noise-reducing headphones, especially if your child has sensitive ears.
What the kids want to know: A convo with TSO lead vocalist Kayla Reeves
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Lead Vocalist Kayla Reeves has been part of the TSO family since 2010 when she was just 17 years old. She now has a 7-year-old of her own, Lilly. Kayla answered a few questions submitted to Macaroni KID by kids about her career with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra:
How can I become a musician?
Helen, age 7
Kayla Reeves: Follow your heart, stay in school, and study your craft. You have to learn it like the back of your hand and never lose your passion for it.
My mom said you get to travel a lot and play in different places. Where is your favorite place to perform?
Landon, age 12
Kayla Reeves: We have spent a lot of time in Germany and the UK — those are my favorite spots. I have not made my way to Asia yet, but would like to do so! One year we played at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It was the largest crowd I've ever played for. See highlights from that experience, attended by an estimated 1 million people.
Do you still get nervous playing?
Kayla, age 9
Kayla Reeves: Honestly, Kayla, I do! I always get nervous, and if you don’t, then you’re not doing it right. I always follow a little ritual: I say a little prayer that I can touch one person. If I can touch one person then I've done my job. But that nervousness goes away as soon as I hit that stage. Then, I go into show mode and do what I am supposed to do. But before I walk out there in front of 21,000 people ... yes, I'm very nervous!
Why she wanted to go: I think my first exposure to TSO was of a viral video from 2004 of someone's home Christmas lights set to the song Wizards in Winter. The whole family immediately fell in love with the song and we've been huge fans ever since! We play their album while we set up our Christmas tree each year. My husband and I had seen TSO in concert before and remembered how amazing it was, so the opportunity to take our teenage kids was amazing!
What was your favorite part? The best part is the way they engage with the audience throughout the performance. They don't just get up there and do a playlist. They get everyone waving their arms or clapping or getting on their feet to dance. The storyline was great, but the fact that the concert continued after the story with fan- and performer-favorites was the best. You can really tell how much the musicians love what they do.
Why she wanted to go: I have been a fan of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra since the beginning. C'mon, Christmas and rock music were our jam back in the 90s! The second I hear the first few notes of Christmas Eve /Sarajevo 12/24, the volume immediately gets bumped, and I sing along to a guitar riff. TSO's music gets me instantly excited for the holidays! Seeing them live has been a must-do on my Bucket List.
The emotional connection: Two TSO songs really get me in the feels: Christmas Canon and Promises to Keep (sung by Chloe Lowery). I barely move during those songs, frozen by the beauty and emotion behind them. Watching and hearing them in person was almost too much for my heart to bear!
The BEST part of the night was Christmas Canon! TSO was off the charts. The crowd went wild! To experience that live was a moment that will stick with me FOREVER.
Top mom tip: The show is two and a half hours long with no intermission. Although there is a lot to see and hear, it might be a bit long for the five and under crowd. You know your child best!
The TSO is touring now — find a location near you and get your tickets now!
Photo of Kayla Reeves courtesy of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. All other photos by Christen Reiner, Carla Weiler, Kyrie Collins, and Julie Dikken.