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 An Army of Elvi Will Rock Out to Benefit Vetshouse

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Jaming With Elvis

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PostSubject: An Army of Elvi Will Rock Out to Benefit Vetshouse   Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:53 am

August 18, 2008
By Eric Feber

The Virginian-Pilot

Next week's fundraiser for Vetshouse will feature Jerry Lee Lewis, Patsy Cline and an army of Elvi.

Sponsored by the regional Touched by Elvis Fan Club, Friday's benefit at the VWF Post 4809 in Norfolk, VA will be produced and directed by Chesapeake resident Jim Smith, a popular Elvis tribute artist in his own right.

Vetshouse is a nonprofit group that operates transition houses in the region for military veterans down on their luck. Generally, vets stay at one of the houses run by the organization for up to a year where they receive re-education and rehabilitation to enable them to re-enter society.

Smith, a former Marine, has performed all over the region, at the Beach's annual "Viva Elvis" festival and at various fundraisers throughout Hampton Roads, including those for the American Cancer Society. Last year, he earned the right to compete as the only representative from Virginia at the first official Graceland- sanctioned international Elvis tribute competition in Memphis.

Smith has assembled an evening full of classic Elvis rock 'n' roll and country acts taken from the club's membership.

The club annually supports Vetshouse, thanks to Presley's own veteran status and his lifelong devotion to charitable causes, said Judy Perry, spokesperson for the Touched By Elvis Fan Club.

"It's our eighth annual benefit to remember and honor Elvis and to assist local homeless military veterans," Perry said. "The tribute show will be performed by professional Elvis tribute artists and will celebrate the highlights of his 1968 'Comeback Special' and 1973 'Aloha from Hawaii' television broadcasts."

Smith said the three-hour event will kick off with Newport News resident Frank Clark doing his take on Jerry Lee Lewis' rocking hits with a few Elvis tunes sprinkled in for good measure.

"He's a very energetic performer who specializes in rock oldies of the '50s and '60s," Smith said. "He'll be followed by Holly Parker, a Virginia Beach resident who specializes in Patsy Cline, with the outfits, the songs and everything."

Parker's Cline cavalcade will give way to Joe Searles' rockabilly. Noted for his take on Roy Orbison, the Virginia Beach rock 'n' roller will perform songs from Presley's early raw, rocking period.

Searles will be followed by a parade of Presleys to feature three Virginia Beach residents - Mike Ratcliffe, Rick Spruill and Ron Parker - all performing songs, each in appropriate costume, from the King's "Comeback Special" and "Aloha from Hawaii" pioneering television programs.

The "Comeback..." show was broadcast on NBC on Dec. 3, 1968, while the "Aloha..." program, a cancer fundraising benefit, aired in 1973.

"He was the first entertainer to have such a program broadcast around the world," Smith explained. "Funny enough, it was broadcast all around the world, except for the U.S., in January 1973. It eventually aired here months later in April."

Ratcliffe will perform a portion of the "Comeback Special" in leather outfit; Spruill will do the first half of the "Aloha" show with such songs as "CC Rider,""Johnny B. Goode" and "Blue Suede Shoes;" and Parker, also Holly's husband, is slated to do the latter half of the Hawaiian showcase.

"Ron's got such a great voice," Smith said. "It's a nice, smooth and powerful voice, perfect for these songs."

Rather than take the stage himself, Smith said he will be behind the scenes taking care of the instrumental backing tapes, the sound and the lighting.

"If time allows I may do something," he said. "But I'd rather have the time set aside for the other performers and for our special guests and dignitaries. But, generally, I'll just be running around taking care of things."

But, never one to say never, Smith did confess he'll show up ready to take the stage if needed and offer his take on Presley's 1968 television special. If not, he'll be content to let the other Elvi have their swivels in the spotlight.

"As long as we have a successful fundraiser for Vetshouse, that's all I care about," Smith said. "In fact, that's all anyone in the fan club cares about, but we'll have a good time helping out.

Good rockin' for vets

What/who Eighth annual Touched By Elvis Fan Club benefit for Vetshouse, produced and directed by Jim Smith and featuring local entertainers Frank Clark, Holly Parker, Joe Searles, Mike Ratcliffe, Rick Spruill and Ron Parker

When 8 to 11 p.m. Friday .

Where VFW Post 4809, 5728 Bartee St., Norfolk, VA (off Military Highway between the Lone Star Steakhouse and Toys R Us)

Admission $5 at the door or a donation of nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies or toiletries, all to benefit the residents of Vetshouse

More info Call 757-545-1988 Good rockin' for vets

What/who 8th annual Touched By Elvis Fan Club benefit for Vetshouse, produced and directed by Jim Smith and featuring local entertainers Frank Clark, Holly Parker, Joe Searles, Mike Ratcliffe, Rick Spruill and Ron Parker.

Article Source: http://www.redorbit.com/news/entertainment/1524659/an_army_of_elvi_will_rock_out_to_benefit_vetshouse/
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