Musician Ken Lavigne cannot wait to take the stage of the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River on Feb. 7 to perform romantic ballads and love songs with Valentine’s Day approaching.
The show, scheduled to start live-streaming at 7:30 p.m., is Lavigne’s first public performance of 2021. It also signals a small step toward the times before COVID-19 as Lavigne and his accompanying musicians Nico Rhodes (piano), Casey Ryder (bass) and Chloe McConchie (violin) perform on an actual stage rather than some virtual space, devoid of any character.
True, Lavigne and his colleagues will perform in front of empty audience seats, but six high-definition cameras among other equipment promise a personal experience for audiences tuning in to the show, which will be remain accessible for several days after airing. “I’m really, really pleased with all of the efforts and the energy and the attention that they have been able to bring towards it,” Lavigne said. “It’s going to look really, really sharp. And the sound is going to be terrific. That’s the most important thing for me — how is it going to sound?”
The sounds of silence have echoed across provincial theatre stages and music halls for most of the months since the start of the pandemic, pushing public performers and related professions to the economic brink while challenging their sense of identity.
“The economic aspect has been devastating to musicians and all of the tertiary technicians and all of the people who work in the theatres and the arts have felt the impact,” he said. “I don’t necessarily feel hard done by myself. I have enjoyed a wonderful career. But at the same time, it is really hard to try and figure out ‘what do I do next? If I am not performing, what am I?’”
Lavigne last sang to a live audience in January 2020 when he performed a fly-in, fly-out show in Invermere. He had big plans for 2020, only to see them fall part as public health designed to fight the pandemic kicked into effect in March. Lavigne described the months that followed as “dreary” as he tried to readjust – playing far fewer shows and in front of cameras rather than people.
“It is a very different vibe and I haven’t gotten gotten used to it,” he said.
It did allow Lavigne to try out new things.
Audience members previously would ask whether he would give singing lessons, but he didn’t have time to maintain an active coaching studio. This changed with the pandemic.
“I decided, well may be now is the time to hang out my shingle and share the joy and love I have for singing for anyone who would be willing to learn with me,” he said. He has done so in part by sharing his reactions and comments to the work of singers from around the world on his YouTube channel.
Lavigne said it exploded over the past 10 months, going from 400 to nearly 100,000 subscribers.
This sort of engagement is in the line with one of Lavigne’s goals for this year.
“I know that I am going to be working harder to try to build bridges with my fellow musicians, so that we can find a road together to try and continue to do what we love to do and find meaning in it and connect with our audience,” he said. “That is going to be mission for 2021.”
For more information and to purchase tickets to the show visit tidemarktheatre.com.
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