Ken Lavigne is coming home for B.C. Day.
Following recent performances in South Korea and San Francisco, the Canadian tenor and former Colwood resident returns to the West Shore to launch the B.C. Day Celebration Performing Arts Festival, not far from the neighbourhood where he grew up.
“I couldn’t have planned it better … It’s my old stomping grounds so I am always welcoming opportunities to go back and revisit those locations and perform here,” he said. “Generally, the summer festivals are not part of my regular touring year. I’m usually on the other end in the audience watching the other performances, but I have to admit I get a little jealous. I wanted to be a part of it too and I am honoured to be invited.”
The former Sangster elementary student performs his first concert here since 2012, anchoring the Church of the Advent concert Aug. 2 in Colwood, supported by special guests the Cool Beans Trio.
The free portion of the festival happens B.C. Day (Aug. 4) with live performances at Westhills Stadium throughout the day.
“It’s just a super opportunity to have a small venue to enjoy Ken’s music and learn about new emerging artists in our community with respect to B.C. Day,” said Laura Davis, a board member on the West Shore Arts Council. “There is just so many different types of music as well as dance and theatre. It’s an opportunity to experience many different facets of the performing arts.”
A partnership between the West Shore Arts Council and Westhills, the free portion of the festival includes performances by the Four Seasons Musical Theatre Company, trumpet player Miguelito Valdes, musician Karly Summers, Po-Co the clown and Maureen Washington & Band. Eighteen different performers take the stage between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. alongside vendors, artisans, children’s events and community group kiosks.
In recent months, Davis said, local municipalities have acknowledged the need for a regional performance arts centre. The holiday festival shows the West Shore has the artists to embrace such a project, she added. “Most of the artists are from the West Shore and we try to design (events) around our residents.”
Lavigne, whose parents still live in Colwood, looks forward to performing and is already planning a special treat for audience members who take in the show.
“I am naturally honoured to be a part of this event and I always enjoy planning a little surprise – something unexpected within the concert – and enjoy seeing the look of surprise,” he said. “I am looking forward to offering something new to my audience that come out to the show.”
The concert starts at 7 p.m. at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave. Tickets are $25, available in advance at the church, Tom Lee Music, Westside Instaprint and Coast Collective.