An annual favorite during Christmastime, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is set to make a stop here in Madison as part of its Winter Tour 2008. The orchestra will perform tonight at the Kohl Center to a sold-out crowd. This dynamic show never fails to captivate its audience and ignite their holiday spirit. Known for their synchronization of music and special effects throughout the show, this is a concert that won’t soon be forgotten.

Formed in 1996, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has continually bridged the gaps between musical genres. Popularized by their Christmas music, this group has created unique versions of traditional holiday favorites people have heard for years. Even the title of their orchestra is based on the same concept of being a uniting force. Named after the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Russia, the orchestra’s progressive rock style has taken classics like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “O Holy Night” among others and given them an entirely new feel. They develop rock albums that focus on emotional appeal. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has also created their own holiday classics with songs such as “Christmas Canon” and “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” which remain popular despite being released in the ’90s. Their song “Wizards in Winter” gained further publicity after being featured in a Miller Lite holiday commercial in 2005.

Their most recent album, The Lost Christmas Eve, was released in 2004, and it’s about time they come out with new material. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s upcoming album is in its last stages of completion, and composers Paul O’Neill, Jon Oliva and composer Robert Kinkel are just working on the final touches. With their Winter Tour 2008 in full swing, their focus is on putting on memorable holiday concerts.

For those who did manage to find tickets to tonight’s event, expect to hear a few songs from the orchestra’s upcoming album Nightcastle. It is expected to be released in the summer of 2009. The first song on the new album, “Night Enchanted,” was released Nov. 24 and it has much of the same feel as their previous material with dramatic lyrics and symphonic metal style. With the new album’s focus still on developing new holiday songs, concert-goers can even look forward to attending next year’s show, which will feature an array of new material, something the orchestra has not been able to do for some time.

The holiday season is an especially exciting time for this group. Year after year, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra puts on a holiday spectacle like no other, and tonight will be no exception.