PORTLAND – The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is bringing its trademark “symphonic rock” to the Cumberland County Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28.

The holiday show features a fusion of hard rock, Broadway, rhythm and blues, and classical music in a blend of original compositions, symphony excerpts and holiday standards.

A portion of each ticket sold will benefit Maine’s Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn.

The orchestra is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” tour this winter. The group – founded in 1996 by Paul O’Neill, who brought in longtime writing partners Robert Kinkel and Jon Oliva – has undergone a rapid evolution since its first seven-show tour in 1999, when it sold out theaters before making its live debut.

The Trans-Siberian showcases timeless classics presented by a touring rock band.

“There’s no question in my mind that if electric guitars and modern keyboards were around in Beethoven’s or Mozart’s time, they’d be using them,” said O’Neill.

In 1995, O’Neill produced and co-wrote “Dead Winter Dead.” A rock opera set during the Bosnian War, it featured an instrumental “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” that joined the melodies of “Carol of the Bells” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” with new music and arrangements.

Their debut recording was the platinum-selling “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” with “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” as its centerpiece. It features vocalists from Broadway, rock and R&B, as well as some of hard rock respected musicians. It was followed by the gold-certified “The Christmas Attic,” the second part of a planned trilogy, in 1998.

The “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” tour has an orchestral string section, a full rock band, several vocalists, a narrator and a light show. The orchestra’s 1999 holiday TV special, “The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve” (co-starring actor Ossie Davis, Broadway star Michael Crawford and pop singer Jewel), was broadcast nationally. Released on DVD last year, it will air on nearly 200 PBS affiliates this holiday season.

Tickets are available at the Cumberland County Civic Center box office. Tickets also available at Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster by phone at (207) 775-3331 and through the box office at (207) 775-3458 and online at www.cc.com. All seats are reserved.

Tickets are $45, $35 and $27.50. For more information, people can visit www.trans-siberian.com.

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