Ken Lavigne will be taking the popular expression “go big or go home” one step further next week when he does both at the Royal Theatre.
Fresh from his Great Canadian Songbook tour of B.C. and Ontario with Tiller’s Folly and Yukon folk-roots singer Diyet, the tenor said he couldn’t be happier being home for Christmas.
It’s a luxury that Lavigne, who lives in Chemainus with his wife, Alice, and their three children — Grace, 13, Lucy, 12, and Geordie, 8 — wasn’t able to afford last year because of his busy schedule.
Since he was touring, he couldn’t present a Christmas concert in Victoria, but he’s making up for it big time this year with his I’ll Be Home for Christmas concert Tuesday night.
Lavigne will be accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and guest star Stephanie Greaves in a concert of Yuletide music, from classical pieces to perennial favourites such as White Christmas and Sleigh Ride.
A highlight will be what he describes as “Victoria’s largest snowball fight” at the Royal Theatre, with audience members of all ages invited to participate.
“I’ve done this before. It’s a tremendous highlight and fun for kids and grownups. Seeing a couple who’ve been married 50 years act like they’re eight years old again is great,” he said.
He described his new musical undertaking as both “thrilling and terrifying,” but promises music lovers a show with an “incredible depth of colour and music.”
“There’s going to be a lot of bodies on that stage, and co-ordinating that is a huge effort, but there’s been a lot of goodwill from my musician friends I’m really grateful for.”
As a performer, being backed by a full orchestra is an experience unlike any other, Lavigne said.
“It’s kind of like you’re surfing with this enormous wave at your back, or you’re strapped to the front end of a freight train, propelled by this great power behind you.
“When it goes well, the hairs on your neck stand on end, and there’s no greater thrill than doing this kind of show.”
Some of the seasonal hits audiences can expect include It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Away in a Manger, O Come All Ye Faithful and Santa Baby.
Lavigne and Greaves, with whom he sang for years at the Naden Band’s annual Navy Christmas concerts in support of the Salvation Army toy drive, will partner on several tunes, including The Prayer.
Another bonus, said Lavigne, will be when his daughters join him onstage for a musical number.