Whether he’s Playing Favourites like he did last September during a show in Chemainus or switching gears to perform crooner classics, Ken Lavigne makes the magic of his voice work for any occasion. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Lavigne possesses crooner qualities, to be Frank

Island tour starts this week and concludes in Chemainus with two shows May 11

Let Me Be Frank, says Ken Lavigne.

No one’s objecting to the Chemainus tenor performing classics by Frank Sinatra and other crooners, for that matter.

Lavigne’s hometown will be the final stop in a series of seven performances on a Vancouver Island tour. There are two shows at the Chemainus United Church on Saturday, May 11 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

The tour gets going this week, with three shows on back-to-back days: Friday, April 26 at the Church of the Advent in Victoria; April 27 in Port Alberni and April 28 in Campbell River.

The rest of the schedule is May 4 at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre, May 10 at Parksville and concluding in Chemainus.

“Getting the final preparations ready,” said Lavigne. “That’s always exciting. You want to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row well in advance of the show.”

Unfortunately, his new album that features some of the great crooner classics won’t be ready in time for the start of the tour.

“As one of the songs go, ‘That’s Life,’” he quipped.

The album is expected to be ready by the time the tour swings into Chemainus, however.

“I’m so pleased with it,” said Lavigne. “It’s come together really quickly over the last couple of months.

“The album will have the best of the best. Our show is obviously quite a bit longer than an album length.”

Concert-goers will hear classics from Lavigne by Sinatra and branching out to hear other samplings from Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. plus Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble and Nat King Cole selections – even some Andy Williams.

“The music has a timeless appeal, themes of love and romance – all the things that don’t go out of style,” conceded Lavigne.

The talented backing musicians for Lavigne’s shows include: Dave Lieffertz (piano); Casey Ryder (bass); Cyril Ludic (drums); Gene Hardy (tenor sax); Alphonse Fear (trumpet) and Nick LaRiviere (trombone). The pianist for all the other shows outside of Chemainus is Darcy Philips.

It’s a bit of shifting gears from the norm for Lavigne, but he’s loving the music and the vibe it’s going to bring to the audience.

“It’s a lot of fun for me,” he indicated. “I think there’s a crooner tendency in all of us to sing some of these great songs, cut loose and not worry about the constraints you have to put on your voice.”

There’s also a sense of swagger always exhibited by these performers that captures Lavigne’s fancy.

Over his distinguished career, he’s never been content to play it safe. Lavigne moves effortlessly from operatic classics to Christmas tunes to other genres.

The Chemainus shows will serve as fundraisers, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Chemainus United Church that continues to serve an integral place in the community for much more than just church services to include a lecture series on topics such as global warming, earthquake preparedness and more.

“It’s good for them and makes me feel good to give back to the community,” noted Lavigne.

To book tickets online for the Let Me Be Frank tour, visit www.kenlavigne.com or call 1-888-999-1110.

Tickets are $30 in advance at 49th Parallel Grocery or $35 at the door, if any remain available.

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