In pairs and groups of three, Gold Pan residents filtered into the Chuck Mobley theatre, many taking the chance to put on that fancy dress or sport coat that had been languishing in the back of the closet for want of a Capital E event.
When they sat down and the hushed whispers finally faded away, Ken Lavigne gave the audience an event worth dressing up for.
It’s not very often a guy from Vancouver Island gets to perform on the biggest stage in North America, Carnegie Hall, and even less often when a Carnegie Hall-level talent makes it far enough north to sing on our stage, but Lavigne is both and offered Gold Pan residents the rare chance to see a performer of such talents live.
Lavigne is all charm, from his curly blonde hair and blue eyes to a voice that inspires clichés. And when he’s on stage he turns that charm up all the way.
Starting out with Funiculi Funicula, Lavigne wended his way through the classics as made famous by the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Mario Lanza, through to more contemporary music, like Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, including a composition of his own.
The diverse choice of music kept everyone entertained, whether they were devotees of Luciano Pavarotti or tenor neophytes.
Cementing his cross over status, Lavigne even channeled an old aria through Elvis, garnering both laughs and applause.
One of the highlights of the show, Lavigne stepped out from behind the mic to give an a capella rendition of Oh Danny Boy. It used to be singers were contemptuous of microphones and you can see why, with the warmth that is somehow lost in the various electrons, doodads and low-level magic that make a microphone work.
But Lavigne wasn’t just all voice.
Even between songs he was performing, as he told stories both inspirational and comedic, and having made the trip from Vancouver Island to Carnegie Hall, Lavigne had many great stories.
The passion he has for singing shines through not only in his voice but in his stories. Lavigne’s dream becomes infectious as he unveils it. From the starting point of his house on Vancouver Island, Lavigne not only tells the story of how he got to Carnegie Hall in New York, New York, but shared his enthusiasm for the venue and it’s history so well that he imparts his joy at making the jump to the audience.
His stories and inspiration to entertainment, giving the audience a special kick to follow after their dreams, even if they lie in a beautiful concert hall across the continent.
The unenviable job of following Lavigne falls to the Fung-Chiu Duo, a pair of performers that play the piano together.
The duo hit the Chuck Mobley stage Jan. 21.