Palm Court to take final Duncan bow

Fans of the Palm Court Orchestra will see the end of an era in the Cowichan Valley on Sunday, Oct. 23

Fans of the Palm Court Orchestra will see the end of an era in the Cowichan Valley on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2:30 p.m. as the orchestra plays its last Valley concert.

Dwindling audiences in the Valley are forcing the orchestra to stop playing here and concentrate on presenting shows in Oak Bay and Sidney, where the group always sells out.

It was 30 years ago that Charles Job, then a teacher at Tansor Elementary School, but a former professional musician and a devotee of light orchestral music, decided to follow his dream, to conduct a Palm Court-style orchestra.

According to friend, Jean Davis, it was a magical time.

“With the encouragement of many of the school staff, Charles took the plunge and hired very talented professional symphony musicians, not an easy task when you are an unknown conductor! This ‘one only’ concert was held in the then Cowichan Theatre with more than 500 in the audience. The support and positive reviews gave Charles the momentum to keep going for the next 30 years, with three concerts a season both in the Cowichan Valley and in Victoria,” she said.

This final Cowichan show presents selections from The American Song Book.

The musicians will pay tribute to the great music of Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and Sarah Vaughan in arrangements in the style of Robert Farnon, Nelson Riddle, Paul Weston and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, in the Palm Court’s show at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre.

Vocalist Barbara Blair will be featured, along with Karel Roessingh on piano and Joey Smith on guitar.

Palm Court Light Orchestra programs concentrate on the nostalgic music of the Edwardian Era, the syncopated dance music of the Roaring Twenties, Broadway favourites, and the sentimental ballads of the Second World War.

For this show, Blair will sing such George Gershwin songs as ‘But Not For Me’, ‘I’ve Got a Crush On You’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’.

The orchestra will perform other instrumental favourites, including ‘California Here I Come’, ‘Carolina in the Morning’, ‘Ain’t She Sweet’, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and ‘Laura’ together with selections from Cole Porter’s Night and Day.

It’ll be a bittersweet day for Job, who still lives in the Cowichan Valley, so, if you’ve ever enjoyed the Palm Court Orchestra, why not go to the theatre and hear them one last time in our community?

Tickets are $35 for adults. Call the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529 to reserve.