The Blues Songs of Christmas show, with Big Hank and the Kingpins, will visit Knox United Church in Parksville on Dec. 11. (Submitted photo)

The Blues Songs of Christmas show, with Big Hank and the Kingpins, will visit Knox United Church in Parksville on Dec. 11. (Submitted photo)

Christmas Blues show will play Knox United Church on Dec. 11

Big Hank and the Kingpins will play a mix of classic tunes and originals

The sound of Christmas blues will fill Knox United Church (345 Pym St.) in Parksville on Dec. 11.

The Blues Songs of Christmas show will include tunes by BB King, Louis Jordan, Eric Clapton and Big Joe Turner, played by the Kingpins and led by veteran bluesman Big Hank Leonhardt.

“It’s a wonderful show, it’s got two hours of Christmas music and a mix of ballads and pretty high-energy, up tempo stuff,” Leonhardt said. “A mix of rhythm and blues and swing. It covers all the bases.”

This will be the 12th season performing the Christmas show for Leonhardt, who does vocals for the band. He will be joined by Steve Cross on the guitar, Steve Ranta on keyboards, Mick Woodhouse on bass, Andy Graffiti on percussion and Paul Wainwright on the saxophone.

“We all know each other so well. Mick and myself and Steve have the harmonies down pretty pat for singing, so it’s a good mix,” Leonhardt said.

The band has brought a variety of classic blues styles, rhythm and blues and soul on tours from Vancouver Island to the snowbound prairies of Alberta. Tunes from the books of Big Joe Turner, Charles Brown, Etta James and Louis Jordan will also find their way into the set list.

READ MORE: Christmas play announced by ECHO Players in Qualicum Beach

Favourites of Leonhardt include the classics ‘Santa Claus, Santa Claus’ by Louis Jordan, ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’ by Charles Brown, as well as a few original pieces.

Leonhardt, originally from Stettler, Alta., got started in the Edmonton bar and cabaret circuit. After some time playing with Top 40 bands in the U.S., he returned home to Canada and played with bands such as the Edmonton-based Hot Cottage and Victoria’s Uncle Wiggly’s Hot Shoes Blues Band.

“Twenty-five, 30 years ago I had this idea of wanting to do a show of Christmas blues tunes,” he said. “I’d heard a bunch of them and I did some research and started to find more of them and realized what a great body of Christmas music there is and you don’t really hear a lot of it.”

His band mates at the time weren’t interested in learning all that music just for the Christmas season of a few weeks, but a dozen years ago he convinced his band and the Christmas Blues show got its start. Leonhardt moved to the West Coast a few years later and has been doing the show every since.

“I’m 75 years old, I feel like I’m a kid up there still,” he said. “It’s so rewarding to make music and a lot of the guys I’ve played with over the years, it’s amazing how many of them are still playing.”

The show starts at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and be purchased online, and at Parksville retailers Fireside Books and Close to You Boutique.

All current provincial health orders will be followed.

@kevinf_1988_
kevin.forsyth@pqbnews.com

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