“I think Valentine’s Day is one of those days that strikes terror in men to be ultra romantic,” says Chemainus tenor Ken Lavigne, who is performing a pre-Valentine’s Day concert this Sunday at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo.
“You can only give so many cards and chocolates. If you want to be creative, don’t give your loved one ‘things’ — give them an experience, like this concert!”
Lavigne is performing a Back… by Popular Demand concert with Pierre Simard and the Vancouver Island Symphony (VIS) Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Port Theatre.
“I’ll be singing a lot of romantic tenor love songs through the ages — love songs with a symphony orchestra — definitely stirring!” he says in a news release. “There will be romance from around the world — French, Italian, German, Scottish … and of course there will be surprises!”
Lavigne, who is described in the release as a “popular charmer, storyteller, songwriter and humourist,” has been working on not doing the same-old, same-old.
“We are crafting the show to use the Vancouver Island Symphony to its greatest ability and to highlight the songs and time of year,” he said. “Pierre is an absolute dream of a conductor. We have such a wonderful time together on stage.”
It’s been a busy year for Lavigne, as he has added to his list of easy-listening recordings with Show Time, released in June.
“It was inspired by the desire to finally record some of my favourite musical theatre ballads,” said Lavigne. “I love these songs, and each one is special to me. Keep Holding On is doing well. The title song was chosen to represent the mission of the Salvation Army and was used to kick off their media campaign for their annual Christmas Kettle drive.”
In 2012, Lavigne returned to shows and opera, performing in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, Fallujah for City Opera Vancouver, and Rattenbury with the Other Guys Theatre Company in Victoria.
“When getting back on stage in my own show, it’s a much more relaxing environment; it’s second nature to me to sing a few songs and spin a few stories,” he says.
Lavigne made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2009. Since then, he has regularly performed with multi-Grammy winner David Foster and has performed for Prince Charles.
Lavigne undertook thorough vocal and music training at the University of Victoria with Susan Young and Alexandra Browning-Moore and at the Victoria Conservatory of Music with Selena James. Further study took him to Wales,where he studied with Stuart Burrows, and to New York for training with Joan Dorneman.
Lavigne performs in classical concerts and operas, as well as independently-produced solo crossover concerts he designs himself, and he was a founding member of the Canadian Tenors.