Barbara Blair will be the featured artist at the upcoming Palm Court Light Orchestra on Oct. 14 at the Mary Winspear Centre.

Barbara Blair plays tribute to The American Song Book

Celebrating its 30th season, the Palm Court Light Orchestra welcomes special guest performer Barbara Blair to the stage this week

Celebrating its 30th season, the Palm Court Light Orchestra welcomes special guest performer Barbara Blair to the stage this week.

“Most of these people you’d see in the orchestra you’d also see in the symphony,” said Blair, adding that the quality of playing is great.

Accompanied by Karel Roessingh on piano, her program comes from

The American Song Book which includes Gershwin and Rodgers & Hart.

“The exciting part of it for me is that it wasn’t until last year that some of the Nelson Riddle arrangements that he did for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the (George and Ira) Gershwin Song Book became available,” she said.

Blair was raised in a musical family; her parents owned a music store and filled her childhood with music. She joined her first jazz group as a teen.

In 1990 she toured with her band, which paid tribute to Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, the Gershwin’s and the like.

Blair would travel to theatres and often combine her shows with education and residency programs in small towns.

Looking back at her long, musical career, Blair said it’s hard to pick just one great moment.

“I felt very honoured to be named an American Masterpieces Artist … that was a big deal,” she said.

Blair will also perform a duet as part of her guest appearance this week with musician Joey Smith who will play guitar. He and Blair will perform Rodgers & Hart’s It Never Entered My Mind.

Blair isn’t touring like she used to, but still performs at house concerts and Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, along with the Jazz Vespers when she can. She continues to teach, which is her second love.

“I try to spend as much time as I can teaching other people what I’ve spent all my life learning.”

The Palm Court Light Orchestra performance is Oct. 14 at the Mary Winspear Centre. For tickets call 250-656-0275.