Tenor Ken Lavigne sings during Saturday's North Island Concert Society event in front of backing musicians (left to right) Simon Millington

Tenor Ken Lavigne sings during Saturday's North Island Concert Society event in front of backing musicians (left to right) Simon Millington

NICS serves vocal buffet

Ken Lavigne, a founding member of the Canadian Tenors, performed last weekend in the third event of the 2013-14 NICS season.

A review by

J.R. Rardon

PORT HARDY—For its annual dinner show, the North Island Concert Society last Saturday served up a substantial buffet line of dishes.

The ham, however, was found only on the stage.

Ken Lavigne, a founding member of the Canadian Tenors, performed in the third event of the 2013-14 NICS season, and proved much more than just another pretty voice.

A purveyor of the increasingly popular genre known as “Classical Crossover”, a mix of operatic arias and contemporary adult pop hits with a vocal emphasis, Lavigne certainly covered the traditional bases.

From the soft-rock ballads Be My Love, Keep Holding On, You Raise Me Up and, Hallelujah to foreign language and operatic standards like Andrea Bocelli’s Dell’more Non Si Sa, the Brazilian Tico Tico no Fubá and O Sole Mio, Lavigne covered the bases.

And he showed a deft touch on heart-tugging Celtic numbers including Loch Lomond and Danny Boy. He was capably backed by the quartet of pianist Angus Kellett, violinist Sarah Tradewell, guitarist Casey Ryder and bassist Simon Millington, who each had turns to shine instrumentally.

Lavigne clearly has the chops. His rich, clean tenor ranged from sweet to powerful, as the situation dictated. But he also brought a sense of humour and fun to the music.

Midway through Pavarotti’s somber and soaring Torna Sorrento, Lavigne interrupted pianist Angus Kellett’s between-verses solo.

“Pavarotti, whenever he performed this song, he sounded just like a prince, he really did,” Lavigne told the audience. “Tonight, I’d like to show you how to sing this song like a king.”

He then stripped off his suit jacket to reveal a reflective gold lamé jacket beneath, and launched into an Elvis Presley-inspired Surrender, complete with hip swivelling and microphone-stand dancing.