from Victoria BC
Crystal Blue was a popular local band in Victoria from 1975 to 1987. What started as a trio with Don Hall (vocals, accordion, sax, flute), Diane Crowther (vocals, organ, synthesizer) and Dave Masini (drummer extraordinaire) morphed into a duo by 1979. With this change, the band's role of drummer was provided by an electronic programmable drum machine (with the capability to play Wipeout, including the drum solo section)!
Crystal Blue's first gig was a Woodward's Christmas party, held at St. Joseph's hall off Burnside Road. Bookings became plentiful at Legions, for weddings, in lounges, at the 800 Wing and for private parties. Crystal Blue was also the house band at the Uplands golf course clubhouse for several years.
A number of gigs were booked away from Victoria including Salmon Arm, Nanaimo, Duncan, Sayward, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Campbell River, Courtenay and Comox. One of the more memorable gigs (brushing shoulders with a much more famous band) took place in Duncan when the duo opened for the Rhythm Pals. Another memory, also from Duncan, entailed being at the mercy of a hotel fire with the band equipment trapped inside. The most inspirational gig, however, took place in the Discovery Islands. Don and Diane were flown by float plane to Dent Island Lodge; the equipment, including a Mini Moog synthesizer, tall Leslie speaker and B200 keyboard (electronic version of the B3), made the journey from Campbell River via tugboat for the week-long gig spanning the July 1st weekend in 1980.
The duo went their separate ways in 1987; Don continuing to live up island and teach band grades 6-12 in the Nanaimo School District; Diane leaving her School District music teaching career (grades K-5 Kodaly) to pursue a career in the field of occupational health and safety, while continuing to play the piano and compose music (she has well over 60 compositions to her credit as of 2016).
Don now plays a Roland FR8x (A synthesizer in the accordion format) and plays a lot of solo gigs in the Lower Vancouver Island area. He retired from teaching in the Duncan School District in 2017, and lives with his wife in Duncan, and is a "Snowbird" for a number of months each year.