Founder and conductor of the Palm Court Light Orchestra Charles Job. (Steven Heywood/News staff file)

Palm Court Light Orchestra gears up for 31st season

Even though he’s lived in Canada for decades, there is a bit of an English accent left in Charles Job’s voice. The cultural crossover does not end there.

The founder and conductor of the Palm Court Light Orchestra has been reviving light orchestral music for 31 years, and his heritage is key part of the orchestra’s soul. Job started as a viola player, but after an accident left him unable to play, he began conducting amateur musical theatre productions. In the early 1980s, he began to rediscover the music from his childhood that he would hear in flower parks not unlike Beacon Hill Park, and that’s when the Palm Court Light Orchestra began.

“Lots of music is not live in the sense of human beings actually sitting down and playing at that moment, without amplification. It’s a rare thing.” That passion for live music keeps him going.

Job said that the type of music he programs, primarily written in the first half of the 20th century, was reserved for the wealthy during the colonial era of “palm trees and wicker furniture,” but that it became popular with the people after it was put on the radio.

The season starts Oct. 5 with a concert entitled “Grand Hotel”, featuring Edwardian favourites like The Teddybear’s Picnic, The Grasshoppers Dance, and In the Shade of the Palms, which is the sort of music once played at the Empress Hotel. Job is excited about this season’s Valentine’s concert, entitled My Funny Valentine after the famous song by Rodgers and Hart, sung by guest soloist Rebecca Hass, a mezzo-soprano. She will also perform songs by Jerome Kern, Edward Elgar and Camille Saint-Saens.

“Everybody remembers Rodgers and Hammerstein but Rodgers and Hart were before that,” said Job. “And Lorenz Hart made some great songs.”

The season will end on Apr. 5-6 with April Showers featuring the music of Al Jolson and selections from early Broadway musicals like Jule Styne’s 1963 Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand.

Job never imagined the venture would last 31 seasons, but he cautioned that fundraising remains a challenge.

“We’ve had wonderful support from people. Last year we were close to $20,000 in personal donations. We’re the envy of many people in the arts. Where we haven’t done that well is from government. We tend not to get chosen for project grants.”

“Part of our thing is to keep this sort of music alive for a while longer.”

The Palm Court Light Orchestra will play at the Mary Winspear Centre at 2 p.m. on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High School on Oct 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Just Posted

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read