Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Island tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

When it comes to crooners, a number of tenor-voiced singers have made their presence known over the years.

From Michael Buble today, back to Harry Connick Jr. in the 80s and 90s, and back to Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

But the man who set the bar for all of them in that department, post baby boom, was ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.

That’s a big reason why tenor Ken Lavigne is heading out on an Island tour this month with a new concert he calls Let Me Be Frank! Crooner Classics from Sinatra to Buble.

“I think it’s a chance to get in touch with that big, brassy Vegasy sound,” Lavigne said, on his way to record tracks for a studio version of the set that he hopes will be available by the first concert, April 26 at Colwood’s Church of the Advent.

“When you think of the crooner style, you think of Sinatra, just like when you think of operatic tenors you think of Pavarotti,” he said. “(Sinatra is) a high water mark for other people who came along later.”

Lavigne called on his “nerdy history buff” side for a moment and pointed out that in his early days, Sinatra was chasing the Bing Crosby sound, with his breezy, baritonal crooner style. “Sinatra started his career as a tenor, but over the years he started to get down into that baritone range,” he said, adding that years of smoking and drinking affected Sinatra’s voice.

Besides the crooner sound, Lavigne said, “there’s a sense of swagger as well. But Sinatra had his intimate and sensitive side as well. Either way, I’m looking forward to some of the vocal challenges that come along with it.”

Modern-day singers at the top of the ladder have a lot of pressure on them to perform at their peak every night, he noted, but there’s a certain appeal to the simple, pure sound created on record by vocalists like Sinatra.

“I am always astounded when I’m listening to these old recordings at how clean they are and how the artists were able to enunciate,” he said. Often striving to nail their part in one take, he added, “they knew they had to sing to a certain standard.”

Lavigne enjoys revisiting the classics for their interesting chord changes and memorable melodies, but also the sentimentality of theme that modern singers often don’t want to touch. “That’s why this music is still alive, it speaks something genuine.”

The Colwood concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Other shows in the series include Port Alberni (April 27, 7:30 p.m.), Campbell River (April 28, 2 p.m.), Sidney (May 4, 7:30 p.m.), Parksville (May 10, 7:30 p.m.) and Chemainus (May 11, 2 and 7:30 p.m.).

Tickets are available through the individual venues or online through kenlavigne.com, or by phone at 1-888-999-1110.

Live music

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River dock fire spread slowed thanks to security guard

Creosote docks pose challenges for fire fighters

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Safety concerns run Campbell River Minor Baseball out of Nunns Creek Park

Parents say ‘needle and feces sweeps’ have become part of everyday life for the baseball community

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Undersea cables are towed out into position. Photo Baylink Networks.
SRD looks at last-mile agreements for Connected Coast project

District to borrow up to $12 million — pending electoral approval

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry could have lessons for other provinces: lawyer

4 reports concluded the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash linked to organized crime and the drug trade impacted the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

A poignant Pandemic Postcard Project submission has led Lesley Wright and Graham Hughes of Literacy Alberni on a new path toward anti-racism education. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
‘I am not a virus’: How one postcard sparked a Vancouver Island pushback against racism

Literacy Alberni receives $50K in funding to create web-driven system for reporting racism

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read