Christmas has come early for Chemainus-based tenor Ken Lavigne, but then, it often does. As engaging host and captivating performer for one of BC’s most anticipated Christmas shows, Ken has been busy preparing his list of songs, sourcing additional talent and building the resiliency that will be necessary to sustain him through a month of 20 performances across 16 concert halls in BC and Alberta this December. Ken has already opened his gift from Santa – her name is Myrtle and she is a vintage-style microphone that looks straight out of a 1920’s radio show. A fitting tool for this year’s swinging nostalgic take on classic Christmas songs and Carols. “You know when you have a kid and they say can I sleep with my new toy?” Ken says teasingly, “That’s the kind of joy I feel about this microphone”.
Ken started his shining solo career in 2008. Ken has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, toured across North America, released 3 CDs and worked with such musical luminaries as David Foster. But local audiences are most familiar with his Christmas concerts, and Ken is keen to share a taste of this year’s 2nd annual Christmas Musical Roadshow.
An enchanting musical tour through the golden age of radio, the Ken Lavigne Christmas Musical Roadshow will evoke the vaudevillian variety shows of days gone by. “I want this Christmas to feel like were shaking up the champagne bottle and popping the cork,” enthuses Ken. This desire to turn a concert into a celebration has evolved from the earliest days of his Christmas performances, when he had to do much of the production and promotion on his own. “I had to do a mental trick and say to myself ‘This is a party you’re throwing, and you’re just inviting people to come and be part of the fun’. Going into it with that attitude, it becomes more about just having a great time.”
And audiences clearly respond to his intimate, host-with-the-most style, as much as they do to his sweet crooning voice; the show has expanded from a single concert in Victoria to a travelling tour across BC and Alberta. Ken will be joined on stage this year by two other local talents – Alison MacDonald and Daniel James White, who Ken describes as “talented triple threats from the musical theatre world”.
Ken is currently making final tweaks to the show that will entertain all ages with classic carols and familiar popular songs. One of the challenges in building the show, says Ken, is choosing from such an incredibly large repertoire of material. His personal hit list includes O Holy Night, whose beautiful message of hope and peace is breathtakingly showcased by Ken’s honeyed tenor voice. But when it comes to Christmas classics, there is a special place in his heart for Blue Christmas. “Even though it’s about being absent from the ones you love. When I was a kid, we would put on a variety record on Christmas mornings and one of the songs was Elvis singing Blue Christmas. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia but it just brings back so many memories.” Without giving away too much of the program, audiences can also expect some holiday favourites such as Marshmallow World, The Little Drummer Boy, and Deck the Halls. Sadly, the author’s personal favourite, I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas, will not be represented this year. “I considered it, but how would you even get a hippo on stage?” he jokes. “Maybe next year; maybe we can find a pygmy hippo”.
This holiday season, audiences will be able to take a little bit of Ken’s captivating and heartfelt spirit home after the concert is over – he has a new CD titled “Closer Than Ever”. It features some of Ken’s favourite songs that you can enjoy for the whole year. CDs will be available at each performance.
You can celebrate the season with Ken (and Myrtle!) as he tours with the 2nd Annual Christmas Musical Roadshow this December.
All of the Christmas Musical Roadshow tour dates, locations and ticket information can be found on Ken’s On Tour page!