Dal Richards in an extraordinary valentine’s show

Band leader Dal Richards knows how to celebrate Valentine’s with a special slate of romance, jazz, swing, and old classics

The Dal Richards Orchestra takes the stage at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Saturday

The Dal Richards Orchestra takes the stage at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Saturday

Band leader Dal Richards knows how to celebrate Valentine’s with a special slate of romance, jazz, swing, and old classics in a special concert at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

The Dal Richards Orchestra will fill the HUB International Theatre with their perfect harmonies and favourite swing tunes on February 14 at 7:30 p.m. With the talented band backing him up, Dal brings out the most romantic song of eras past for a Valentine’s Day like no other.

No one knows romantic music like Dal – who has a gorgeous selection of Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and more picked out to celebrate the most romantic day of the year.

Dal has been a pillar of Vancouver’s music scene for 70 years. He got his start in high school bands, and with a healthy helping of talent and determination hosted wildly popular dances and concerts at “The Roof” in Vancouver. At the grand old age of 97, he’s entertained audiences at the PNE for more than seventy consecutive years – and he’s still going strong and sharing his love of all things musical to those around him.

“I love playing these shows, and I absolutely look forward to it every time,” Dal says. “And once the curtain goes up, it’s that old story about the old horse that still gets out of the barn. I still get up there and have a good time!”

Dal brings back the glory days of dance and rock and roll with a brilliant line-up of tunes from all decades – ranging from Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” to Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail.”

The band has a list of about 70 songs picked out, and they’ll try and fit 20 or so into the concert. Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Bruce Springsteen all make appearances on the list – a wide and hugely varied selection of music from the last seven decades!

“We’ll probably open with ‘In the Mood,’” Dal says. “It’s was a popular opening number all those years ago, a good opening number, and it still is. People love it to start – it sets the tempo for the whole evening.”

His wife Muriel fondly describes the concert as a throwback to the good old days when Valentine’s Day saw Dal play in ballrooms as part of the romantic celebrations.

“It’s funny about Valentine’s day, because it used to be that Dal had a dinner and dance every Valentine’s day – he’d be booked into some big hotel,” she says fondly. “But now not as many places do dances, so it’s a bit of a different idea to do a concert that night – and we’re really looking forward to it!”

Dal says he’s especially excited to return to this side of the Valley – to a town that he has decades of history with.

“We used to play pretty regularly in Chilliwack in the 40s,” he fondly recalls. “We’d come out every year for the Cherry Carnival, I think it was called. That was a lot of years ago! So we have a long history with this city.”

“And Dal used to go see the Jazz Festival all the time,” Muriel adds. “There’s just a lot of great young talent out in Chilliwack! We were hoping Bria Skonberg might be in town – she’s a lovely musician who used to sing with Dal, and we’d love to see her again.”

Dal has collected accolades from all over for his soulful singing and superb saxophone skills. He’s a member of the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame, was appointed to the Order of Canada, and holds the keys to the City of Vancouver.  All of his accomplishments reflect his giant heart and his passion for his home province – and he’ll be bringing both to the stage this Valentine’s day with his trademark pizzazz.

“You know, a few years ago I thought 95 was a pretty old number,” says the now 97-year-old. “But I don’t feel that way any longer because I don’t feel any different. I’m still blowing my horn. I’m still rehearsing. And I’m always looking forward to it.”

“If you find something you like doing in life, pursue it with your heart,” Dal counsels. “That’s what I’ve done with music. I found it was my love, so it enveloped my life totally.”

This Valentine’s Day marks a concert extraordinaire for all ages with the best of jazz, dance, and rock and roll from one of the most experienced musicians in Vancouver. This matchless concert with the Dal Richards Orchestra will be filled to the brim with heart, soul, and passion – just what the doctor ordered for a romantic holiday you’ll remember for years to come.

The Dal Richards Orchestra takes to the stage at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 14 at 7:30pm. Call the Centre Box Office at 604-391-SHOW (7469) or visit chilliwackculturalcentre.ca to reserve your seats: tickets are $35 for students, $37 for seniors, and $40 for adults.