Dane Warren says in order to get in the mood to sing like Frank Sinatra, it helps to dress the part.
“It all starts with the tux,” he said. “You’ve got to get the cuff links and the bow tie and the crisp white shirt.”
The Vancouver-based singer is currently touring Vancouver Island with the new production, Christmas with Sinatra. He describes it as a combination of the crooner’s best-known work with his renditions of Christmas songs like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Silent Night and Walking in a Winter Wonderland. The show comes to the Port Theatre on Friday, Dec. 14.
Warren’s band is heavy on Island content – he noted that bandleader and bassist Rick Kilburn lives in Qualicum Beach, keyboardist James Darling and drummer Graham Villette are both Nanaimoites and horn player Roy Styffe is based in Victoria.
“I basically wanted to choose the best and it just happened that you guys on the Island have some of the best musicians out there,” Warren said.
Warren said he grew up listening to the classic mid-century crooners’ renditions of Christmas carols, but the singer’s interest in Sinatra blossomed when he watched his performances in old films. These days Warren travels with a portable record player and spins Sinatra albums in his dressing room before shows. He said it helps him capture the ease and coolness of Sinatra before he strides onstage
“You can’t jump out reeling and go onstage and do Frank Sinatra because that’s not what it was about. It’s not a rock concert, you have to get into this mode of relaxation because he was the king of cool, man. No one was cooler than him,” Warren said. “So it’s wild because you get so jazzed up and you’re so rearing to go because you can hear the crowd and the music’s starting and you’re about to go out and walk out. But as much as you want to just run out there and you’re aching to go, you’ve got to play it cool.”
WHAT’S ON … Christmas with Sinatra takes place at the Port Theatre on Friday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $44 for adults, $35.50 for seniors, $24 for students and $17.75 for children under 13.