Peter Orullian, of Lynnwood, will premiere “The Bell Ringer,” a Christmas story with original music story performed by his band Symphony North at Everett Historic Theatre on Dec. 15. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Peter Orullian, of Lynnwood, will premiere “The Bell Ringer,” a Christmas story with original music story performed by his band Symphony North at Everett Historic Theatre on Dec. 15. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

‘The Bell Ringer’ combines holiday story with a night of music

Lynnwood’s Peter Orullian’s one-night production shows at the Historic Everett Theatre on Saturday.

“The Bell Ringer,” premiering at a one-day event Saturday in Everett, is a Christmas story Peter Orullian has waited years to tell.

He said he hopes it will inspire people to see the effect they can have in other people’s lives.

Saturday’s production is more than the telling of a story, though. Orullian has worked for more than a year to produce the music that will accompany it.

His music will be played by six string players — two violinists, two violists and two cellists — plus three guitar players, a bass player, drummer, and keyboard player all members of his Symphony North band.

It’s a show that’s a little hard to categorize, but could be called a modern opera, or even a rock opera.

Four former members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra — Tim Hockenberry, Jody Ashworth, Michael Lanning and Val Vigoda — will join Orullian in singing some of the 25 songs in the production.

About 15 of the show’s songs are Orullian’s interpretations of classic Christmas music, including Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” the English carol “If You Haven’t Got A Penny,” and the French song “Pat-a-Pan.”

“It was a chance to put my own stamp on a lot of that,” said Orullian, 49, who lives in Lynnwood.

Between songs, a narrator will explain the story through themed couplets.

“My show is a family show,” Orullian said, without language or content that could give parents pause. A heads up to those with kids — the show lasts just under two hours.

Now about the story. It’s about a drifter, a man Orullian calls “down on his luck” who is returning home after 30 years and who doesn’t believe in Christmas.

He takes a job as a Christmas bell ringer, and encounters people who are homeless, poor and terminally ill. He finds ways to help them.

Although he finds himself outdoors and alone on Christmas Eve, the man feels at peace through the actions he has taken for others. Some of those he has helped later invite him to their home to be warm and spend the holiday with them.

“That idea of giving of yourself is really at the core of what I love about Christmas stories,” Orullian said.

It was an unexpected turn in his own life that led to him complete a story and production he first began to think about while he was still in high school.

Orullian had worked in Microsoft’s Xbox division for 15 years before unexpectedly being laid off last year.

Rather than rush back to job hunting, he said he decided to put that part of his life on hold. He suddenly had the time to pursue the music and storytelling to bring the production of “The Bell Ringer” to the stage.

Until now, his writing projects had to be squeezed around his work life. For about 20 years, he said he often awoke at 3:30 a.m. to write before going to work. He has published six novels, including “The Vault of Heaven.” He hopes to have a book version of “The Bell Ringer” published as well.

Saturday’s production is, for now, a one-time event. He said it will be filmed and has hopes that, with outside backing, it can tour a few weeks each year.

The price of tickets for Saturday’s show will be cut in half for anyone bringing one or more cans of food to the event. The food will be donated to local food banks.

The show’s final song, which will debut at Saturday’s performance, was co-written with Roger Fisher, founding guitarist of the rock group Heart.

Plans call for an encore performance of Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs.

Orullian said the thing he likes best about Christmas stories — and what he tried to incorporate into “The Bell Ringer” — is the theme that the best gift someone gives is the gift of themselves.

“We all have something valuable that someone else needs,” he said. “The most important gift we can give is probably time and concern.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

If you go

What: “The Bell Ringer”

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 15

Where: Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett

Tickets: $26 to $35; halfprice with nonperishable food donations


More online

Want to listen to some songs before you go? Here are links to two of “The Bell Ringers” songs.

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