Sunwing founder and Chairman Colin Hunter has developed a second career at a Crooner, specializing in songs from the American Songbook and made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin. While he usually performs with a quartet anchored by pianist Joe Sealy, Colin particularly enjoys those occasions when he performs with a 16-piece big band in a larger venue. He recently performed to a sold-out house at The Rialto, accompanied by the energetic Montreal All City Big Band.
Dr. Trevor Payne, Founder and Artistic Director of the Montreal Jubilation Choir invited Colin to perform some Christmas songs at the choir’s annual show at Place des Arts in Montreal and again in Quebec City. Both performances were sold-out and the combination of Colin and the choir was a hit with the audiences in both cities.
Sam Char, who is responsible for the Quebec market for Sunwing and their associated companies; Signature Vacations and SellOffVacations.com, sees Colin as a unique ambassador for the company. “In a very positive way, Colin Hunter the Crooner is a trademark for Sunwing. Instead of having the company’s Chairman out making speeches, Colin is entertaining our customers, travel agents and other suppliers. It’s a very effective branding opportunity for us.”
Continuing, Sam notes; “Colin has built a solid following in Montreal and Quebec City; and he’ll be performing in Quebec about once a month in 2014.” The Montreal International Jazz Festival has booked a date for Colin on their own L’Astral stage at their Maison du Jazz. He’s rightfully proud of this solid endorsement of his interpretations; coming from the world’s largest jazz festival.
Although he doesn’t have formal music training, Colin has always enjoyed singing. “When we launched the airline in 2005, someone suggested that I record Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” to play on our aircraft. When I was making the arrangements to hire musicians and book studio time, the pianist suggested that I prepare more songs, saying that with a four hour minimum rate, I might as well take advantage of having the musicians and studio time. We prepared 15 songs, and we were able to record 11 of them, and “Come Fly With Me” became my first cd. It was a significant day for me – because it was 35 years to the date that I had arrived in Canada to seek what I hoped would be a successful future.”
Colin did indeed earn his success in Canada, and retired after a very rewarding career in the travel business. However, he came out of retirement in 2005 to start Sunwing. “In the first year we did $15 million in sales, and last year we did over $1.5 billion. We now employ 1,700 people and in addition to owning our own airline and travel companies, we have expanded to purchase our own resorts. It’s a logical extension of our business development in the travel industry.”
“We started by managing a resort in Cuba, and then expanded to purchase, renovate and reopen resorts in other sun destinations. We now have 7,000 rooms in resorts that we own in Jamaica, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and in January 2014 we’ll be opening Memories (formerly Breezes) in The Bahamas. We’ll have direct service from Montreal to Freeport.”
Colin’s son Stephen is the company’s President and CEO, having worked alongside his father since he was seventeen. “We have a solid management team with people like Sam here in Quebec, and we’re in good shape for many years to come. We believe that our best ambassadors are satisfied customers.”
For more information about Colin Hunter’s recordings,
please visit his website: www.colinhunter.ca