The face of Vancouver music for over 60 years has passed.
Beloved bandleader and legendary Vancouver musician Dal Richards will always be the city’s “King of Swing.” He energized venues big and small and taught several generations the joy of music.
The first time I heard Dal Richards and his Orchestra was during a B.C. Lions football game at Empire Stadium in 1964.
The way the band swung the Lions fight song after a home team touchdown made a huge impression on this almost twelve year old kid.
After that, I forgot about football and became fixated on the band. Dal and his group rocked the house!
Dal would rock various venues from across the region over a 60+ year career that included long standing gigs at the PNE, Hotel Vancouver and the Jazz Festival.
Audiences loved Dal. He got them to dance, And he made them listen and appreciate the great classics of the 30s, 40s, and 50s all the while flashing a big smile and engaging them with wit and humour.
Dal was generous; he mentored young musicians in his orchestra and also provided an annual scholarship to students participating in the Jazz Festival’s TD High School Jazz Intensive.
It seemed at 97 that Dal would go on forever. But the music stopped just shy of the New Year. Right now, though, I’ll bet he’s setting up on a stage on the other side readying the Orchestra for “Moonlight Serenade.” Dal, on behalf of all your fans and everyone at Coastal Jazz—Keep Swinging Maestro and Happy New Year!
- John Orysik,
Media Director and Coastal Jazz Co-Founder