There’s something special about performing in front of your devoted fans.
Just ask Ken Lavigne.
The talented tenor, who spent his formative years on the Greater Victoria’s West Shore and now calls Chemainus home in the Cowichan Valley, loves playing on the Islands, where his fans know what he brings to the stage.
His upcoming six-concert tour, called “Playing Favourites,” opens Tuesday, Sept. 25 on Salt Spring Island. It features a combination of popular songs that are sprinkled through his various album releases, a handful of his new favourites and even some of Lavigne’s original compositions.
“Over the course of a career you develop a rapport with audiences, and you get to know their favourites. These are the ones you’d want to have on your iPod,” he says of tunes by Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen and David Foster, among others.
But there will be a twist at these concerts.
“I’m going to be doing some of my newfound obsessions,” Lavigne says, revealing that the shows will include a taste of old cowboy medleys by the likes of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins. “I’m a crooner and I love to perform all things in the tenor voice.”
Of the Black Press-sponsored tour, which continues on consecutive nights with performances in Sidney (Sept. 26), Mill Bay, Colwood, Comox and the windup in Chemainus, Lavigne says they’re all places he’s enjoyed success before.
“Reconnecting with my fans is always a good feeling, and let’s face it, a theatre is always a lot more fun when it’s full and you’re going where the people know you and are eager to hear what you bring them.”
He believes that comes from developing a sense of trust with his audiences over the years and he hopes the slight change in material will sit well with them.
Lavigne has worked hard on building that stage rapport, but admits it didn’t come naturally to him at first. In his earliest days performing, he found himself terrified of speaking or telling stories in between songs. He quickly found that concert-goers were hungry to connect in a different way.
“The audience is clamoring to know a little bit about the person behind the voice; knowing more about the person who they’re going to spend the next two hours of their life with,” he says. “It’s about meeting the audience where they’re at and guiding them through this repertoire.”
In general, people are hungering for narrative, he adds. “Sometimes the story’s in the song, sometimes it’s in the story.”
Venues for the upcoming shows are as follows:
Sept. 25 — Artspring, Saltspring Island, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 — Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 — Sylvan United Church, Mill Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 — Church of the Advent, Colwood, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 — Comox United Church, Comox, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Chemainus United Church, Chemainus, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30 in advance online, or $37 plus service charge at the door. To purchase or find more information, visit kenlavigne.com or call 1-888-999-1110.