On December 19th, 2019, the new holiday rock opera The Bell Ringer is coming to The Jeanne Wagner Theater. The show features former Trans-Siberian Orchestra members Jody Ashworth and Valerie Vigoda, and delivers a powerful and inspiring experience in the early TSO tradition, combing rock music with poignant storytelling. The Bell Ringer is the debut album from progressive rock band Symphony North, and it relates a story that builds on the ideas of selflessness and self-worth, employing the talents of musicians hailing from as far as Sweden, Spain, Russia, and Turkey. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.
The Bell Ringer composer and producer, Peter Orullian, a Utah native and graduate of the University of Utah, returns to Salt Lake after relocating years ago on the encouragement of Spencer Eccles to follow his music dream. “For many years, I had the good fortune to speak with Mr. Eccles during the Jazz season,” Orullian relates. “He shared with me his love of the arts. And his encouragement made a lasting difference in my life.”
As a storyteller, Orullian is also a published novelist (Tor Books), and has a forthcoming collaboration with #1 New York Times best-selling writer Brandon Sanderson, also a Utah native. As a musician, Orullian has toured internationally, fronting legendary Seattle bands Heir Apparent and Fifth Angel. With a lifelong love of the Holidays, Orullian began in 1987 to conceive a record that would combine his three passions—storytelling, symphonic rock, and Christmas.
“While I wanted to write songs that stood on their own,” says Orullian, “I also wanted the show to have a real narrative arc, start to finish, with characters we could relate to and cheer for as they change, grow and learn that the best gift is the gift you give of yourself.” Years later, in a chance meeting, he received more words of personal encouragement from Paul O’Neill—the late founder and composer of the multi-platinum-selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra—who told Orullian the world needs more Christmas stories and Christmas music, and encouraged him to get his record done.
Featured artists on The Bell Ringer album also include former TSO members Tim Hockenberry (also an America’s Got Talent semi-finalist) and Michael Lanning, as well as Dream Theater members James Labrie and Jordan Rudess (voted by Radar Music Magazine as the Best Keyboardist of All Time).
Tickets to this special charity-based holiday show are available at: Online at Live-at-the-Eccles.com, by phone at 801-355-ARTS and the Rose Wagner Center Box Office (M-F 10a-6p and Sat 10a-2p) 138 W. 300 S., SLC, UT 84101