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 Elvis impersonators to gather in Manchester, N.H.

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PostSubject: Elvis impersonators to gather in Manchester, N.H.   Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:18 am

Elvis Presley impersonators to gather in Manchester, N.H., for festival
August 30, 2009

By Rosemary Ford
rford@eagletribune.com


Millions couldn't help falling in love with him.

Now, more than 30 years after Elvis Presley's death, The King's legacy lives on, through his music, his fabulous home Graceland and the thousands of tribute artists reenacting highlights from his storied career.

A piece of that legacy comes to Manchester, N.H., next weekend, when the New England Elvis Festival visits the New Hampshire city affectionately and in this case appropriately dubbed Manch-Vegas.

"For the past few years, we've been looking to transplant our festival to a larger, more cosmopolitan stage," said Jason Sherry, president of Adirondack Promotions LLC, the organizer of the show. "Our inaugural event in this market will feature the country's finest tribute artists performing some of Elvis' most beloved songs."

Adirondack has also runs a similar event in Lake George, N.Y., since 2005. According to organizers, this festival is a qualifier for the grand challenge the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest held in Memphis, Tenn., which crowns the King of the Kings and awards a $20,000 prize.

Tribute Artist Adviser Terry Collins estimates there are about 20,000 Elvis tribute artists actively performing at any given time. This competition narrows the field by extending invitations to some of the region's most gifted performers who make a living as Presley.

"People who haven't been to (an Elvis) festival don't know how good these guys are," Collins said.

The Manchester contest is modeled after the Lake George Elvis Festival, featuring 20 of the world's most seasoned Elvis tribute artists vying for the champion's crown and more than $3,500 in prize money.

Included in the mix will be local favorite Mark Stanzler of Manchester, a former chef turned performer.

"Singing was always a passion and hobby for me and gave me an escape from the pressures of working in the restaurant industry," Stanzler said. "During an extremely rare lay off period when the restaurant I was working at was closed for renovations, I decided on a leap of faith to pursue a full-time career (as an Elvis tribute artist)."

Stanzler, along with the other tribute artists, will perform a 15-minute set on both Friday and Saturday and will have his results from both nights tabulated to determine the overall winner.

"I'm really looking forward to the Elvis festival," he said. "These events are usually held far from New Hampshire, so I'm excited to be able to finally perform closer to home."

Collins said judges are looking for style, accuracy, performance prowess (Presley had a four-octave range) and a little something extra.

"There is something you can't buy or study, he's got to have that charisma," Collins said.

Besides the competition, Shawn Klush, 2007's Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition winner, will recreate Elvis' famous "Aloha from Hawaii" concert on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

"I sit there with goosebumps watching this guy," Collins said. "It's like watching Elvis."

The show will open with Pete Paquette doing a tribute to Elvis' early years. Both Paquette and Klush will be backed by the Change of Habit Tribute Band.

Other weekend highlights include an extensive Elvis memorabilia and souvenir sale and a free Sunday morning Gospel concert.

If you go:

What: New England Elvis Festival

When: Friday, Sept. 4 to Sunday, Sept. 6

Where: Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester, N.H.

How: Weekend packages range from $65-$115. Tickets for only Saturday's "Aloha from New England" show start at $35. Tickets for individual performance sets start at $15. For more information, a complete schedule of events and to purchase your tickets, visit www.NewEnglandElvisFestival.com or call 518-681-7452.

Schedule of events

Friday, Sept. 4

5-7:30 p.m.: Round one of competition. Set one features 10 artists performing four songs to recorded music.

7:30-8 p.m.: Intermission/formal opening ceremony

8-10:30 p.m.: Set two, featuring 10 artists backed by a live band.

11 p.m.: After party at J.D.'s Tavern at the Radisson Hotel.

Saturday, Sept. 5

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Round two of the competition. Set one features 10 artists singing four songs backed by a live band. 12:30-1 p.m.: Intermission

1-3 p.m.: Set two, featuring 10 performers singing four songs each backed by recorded music.

8-10:30 p.m.: "Aloha from New England" concert featuring Ultimate Elvis Concert 2007 winner Shawn Klush.

11 p.m.: After party at J.D.'s Tavern at the Radisson Hotel.

Sunday, Sept. 6

10-11:30 a.m.: Free Gospel concert

1-2:30 p.m.: Set one of the final round features five of the 10 finalists singing five songs each, backed by a live band.

2:30-3 p.m.: Intermission

3-4:30 p.m.: Set two, featuring the final 10 finalists, performing five songs with a live band.

4:30-5 p.m.: Intermission

5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Awards ceremony

6:30 p.m.: Wrap part at J.D.'s Tavern at the Radisson Hotel.



Source: http://www.eagletribune.com/pulife/local_story_242010207.html
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