in honour of Elvis's 70th
being billed as the biggest 70th birthday party for the King
north of Memphis -- and Roy LeBlanc is ready to pay royal
Jan. 8, LeBlanc, his band, and the International Symphony
Orchestra will join forces to salute Elvis Presley on what
would have been the late superstar's 70th birthday. The concert
is set for Sarnia's Imperial Theatre.
were planning a 'do' -- a large one," LeBlanc says. He thought
about going to Memphis, where Elvis's "birthday" celebrations
are an annual event and such birthday anniversaries as the
60th or 70th are even bigger than usual.
decided to stay on his London-region home turf. That didn't
keep the St. Thomas performer, who has won major titles on
the Elvis tribute circuit, from making it a big party. Teaming
with the orchestra brings to reality a dream of LeBlanc's
and London keyboard player Dean Harrison, who leads the band.
"(Dean and I) have always thought of getting together the
full orchestra," he says.
it's going to happen. The concert format calls for LeBlanc
and the band to play the first set, including rocking hits
from the 1950s and Presley's movies. Orchestral touches will
help bring the set to a close with highlights taken from Presley's
triumphant return to live performing in 1968, when a live
TV show confirmed the King's raw power after he had spent
years making mostly forgettable movies.
second set celebrates the Las Vegas extravaganzas of the last
years of Presley's career. "We've got some topnotch musicians
to back us up," LeBlanc says. Harrison is writing the arrangements.
"(He has) been working feverishly," LeBlanc smiles. Harrison
says the arrangements should have a life beyond the 70th birthday
in the band -- also "topnotch," LeBlanc says -- are guitarist/vocalist
Doug Varty, bassist Brad Rose and drummer Brian Salt. The
conductor is Mitch Tyler of London. A member of the Canadian
Auto Workers who works at the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant,
LeBlanc often plays at charity events during the 50 Elvis
gigs he plays each year.
one of the many singers paying tribute to Presley, he won
two titles at Collingwood. The second title, in 2001, brought
fairs and casinos calling. "That sort of validated what we
were doing," LeBlanc says. He then claimed a "world championship"
at Vegas in 2003 and has also played gigs in Europe, Memphis,
Atlantic City and the Maritimes.
got some promo stuff and that out to the cruise lines," he
says. It's a market LeBlanc's Elvis tribute has yet to reach.
LeBlanc says there is still much to learn about the music
of the King of Rock & Roll -- to use the Presley estate's
I do find is there is more material than I ever (knew existed)
. . . Elvis had 749 songs or something like that," he says.
The concert is being promoted by LeBlanc and two Sarnia-Lambton
secondary school music teachers who are also involved in booking
A 70th birthday party for The King, featuring Elvis tribute
artist Roy LeBlanc, his band and the International Symphony
Jan. 8, 8 p.m. Where: Sarnia's Imperial Theatre, 168 N. Christina
St. Tickets: $29.95. Call (519) 344-7469 or 1-877-344-7469.
Source: The London Free Press)