Monday Magazine contributor
Talk about being home for Christmas!
Ken Lavigne’s annual holiday concert ends right where his career began: Victoria. Under the Mistletoe happens Dec. 4 and he is happy to turn the Royal Theatre back into a winter wonderland, complete with what he calls “the world’s largest indoor snowball fight.”
“We have 2,300 snowballs and we unleash them onto the audience,” he says. “They can just help themselves and their neighbours to their heart’s content knowing that it’s all in good fun.”
The Victoria show follows up his Home! For Christmas performances the three previous nights in Nanaimo (Dec. 1), Campbell River (Dec. 2) and Duncan (Dec. 3). This final show of a B.C. and Alberta tour brings in the Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island Symphony, and Nadya Blanchette as his duet partner – Lavigne jokes you can’t do “Baby it’s Cold Outside” solo.
“We’ve got the classics like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and then we have the fun ones: “Let it Snow,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Sleigh Ride.”
Tunes from Sinatra to Bocelli can also be heard during this annual concert. Lavigne doesn’t mind showcasing his pipes with more traditional songs. “I enjoy taking my voice out for a run on some of those songs; the classics, with “O Holy Night” and then songs like “Ave Maria” and “Ding-Dong Merrily on High.”
Lavigne has nothing but praise for conductor Pierre Simard, whom he calls “an incredibly talented conductor and a real force.”
“I really look forward to every time we get to share the stage together, because it’s a partnership,” Lavigne says. “I realize that he relies on me to do my job well, and I rely on him and he does his job so well.”
The pair often trade jokes back and forth from the stage, and Lavigne appreciates having that level of comfort with another performer.
“There are times when you’re in front of an orchestra and you feel like you’re strapped to the front end of a freight train, and you’re just terrified and hoping you can hold on,” he says. “And there are other times when it’s just like a luscious feather bed and you can just get enveloped and it’s like a warm hug. When I’m there with Pierre, I just feel like everything’s going to be okay and I don’t have to worry about a thing. We can just be up there and have fun.”