The sounds of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and more will kick off the first Tea Dance of the year at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville on Jan. 11.
The afternoon music and tea series is halfway through its inaugural season with no signs of slowing down.
The next performance in the series is the seven-piece group Ralph Barrat & the Sinatra Dance Band, based out of the Comox Valley.
The series is organized by Parksville local Rob Peterson. He also happens to be a member of the Ralph Barrat band, which is also known as Ralph Barrat and the Sharp Sevens. The group has been playing together for eight years.
“It’s a seven-piece band – very well rehearsed. We have a three-piece horn section. We play songs of the Sinatra/Bobby Darin era, and we also play some more contemporary stuff. But the bulk of what we do is that era. Ralph’s vocal is very reminiscent of Buble and Sinatra,” said Peterson.
He’s particularly excited about the three-piece horn section, which features a saxophone, trumpet and trombone.
One of the members also plays clarinet and flute.
Other instruments are bass, keyboard, drums and of course Barrat’s vocals.
“The talent level in the group is really really strong,” said Peterson.
Peterson is no stranger to wearing both the hats of producer and performer, as his other band The Georgia Strait Big Band has been featured in the series and will be playing again on Saturday, Feb 8.
The afternoon series gives big-band lovers an opportunity to hear favourite tunes performed at a high calibre of musicianship without having to drive at night.
“The people who really really love the music, they’re not going out at night, in the dark of night. The timing of such is that afternoons, they get home before it’s dark,” said Peterson.
Lovers of the Sinatra era will hear familiar classics by Ol’ Blue Eyes and other artists of the era such as New York, New York, My Way, Mustang Sally, Mack the Knife, Moon River and more.
“We are all very good friends in music and totally enjoy each others company. To us, the songs never get old. One of the joys of performance is watching audience reaction, especially to the classics such as New York-New York, Mack The Knife and others,” said Peterson.
The show kicks off at 2 p.m. and features two sets of music. There is concert seating as well as space to dance.
In between acts, the venue will offer a tea service, with all proceeds going towards ovarian cancer research.
Tickets are $20/person or $30/couple.