'Christmas, Elvis-Style in Bavaria'

A look at the recent Elvis weekend in Bavaria, Germany 2011

Spotlight - By Arjan Deelen


Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? ....

Organised by Markus Henfling, last weekend was the special Elvis Christmas celebration in Bavaria, Germany.

In attendance was Elvis' Imperials along with performers Oliver Steinhoff and Dennis Jale and his band Jam Gang.

The intimate weekend was a sell-out and EIN contributor Arjan Deelen was there to check out the Elvis spirit over this snowy winter's weekend.....

Christmas, Elvis-Style, In Bavaria:

The Elvis Weekend In Bischofsgrün, Germany, DECEMBER 16 – 18, 2011

Hotel Kaiserhalm is located in the small community of Bischofsgrün, in the south of Germany, not far from the Czech border. The area is popular for its ski resorts. Some of the roads have a rather steep incline of about 12%, so no wonder that a lot of trucks were having difficulties navigating these roads, especially now with freezing temperatures. As we arrived at the hotel, the kids were pleased to see that the area was covered in snow.

The hotel reception looked stunning with elaborate Christmas decorations. I think we all felt a buzz of excitement just looking at these decorations. Elvis had always had a special connection with Christmas, so it felt appropriate that an Elvis weekend would take place here.

We were greeted warmly by Markus Henfling, the organizer of this event. Markus was immaculately dressed as always, and I was impressed with the fact that he made the effort to try and welcome each person individually. He told me that the event was sold out, and that 160 fans would be attending. Tired after 7 hours of driving, we went up to our hotel room to unpack. The view from our room was quite simply breath taking. Following an elaborate dinner, Markus informed us that The Imperials were delayed due to weather conditions. He decided that it was best to have them perform on the second night, and not on the first as originally planned. German ETA Oliver Steinhoff would be performing tonight.

We decided to check out the modest Elvis Christmas exhibition, as well as the Elvis Matters shop. I picked up the new MRS The Complete Hayride release as well as the FTD ‘4 Days in ‘56’ book, and was well pleased with both. Particularly the FTD book is a real winner: a nice comeback for the label following the disaster of the ‘Fashion For A King’ book. (see review here)

It was good to see a lot of familiar faces, like Helmut Radermacher, editor of the excellent ‘Golden Boy Elvis’ magazine. I also spotted German actor Uwe Rohde, who was wearing a TCB chain. He later told me that he had received the chain from a dear friend -- Oliver Steinhoff.

I won’t try to hide the fact that I was initially a bit disappointed that we were going to see Oliver instead of The Imperials that night, and the first part of his show did very little to change that viewpoint.

Oliver Steinhoff is an attractive guy with a strong voice, and it was easy to see why especially the female part of the audience loved him. He has a boyish charm and a nice sense of humor, which saved him during his recreation of the ’68 comeback, which at times felt a bit awkward. Oliver bravely tried to recreate the sit-down show, just him and a backing tape… no guitar, no buddies together on stage with him.

He put a lot of effort in it and I guess he made it work, more or less, but I felt a growing sense of restlessness. I wasn’t all that comfortable watching an ETA to begin with, and Oliver’s somewhat clumsy recreations hadn’t impressed me all that much so far.

But then, just as I thought about calling it a night, he made a complete turnaround with the show. Oliver got up, and announced that he was going to do a couple of songs from his favorite Elvis sessions, the Memphis ’69 recordings. And right from the get-go he really got into the groove of this material, sounding far more confident and convincing than he had up to that point. His singing was surprisingly good on songs like ‘Power Of My Love’, ‘True Love Travels On A Gravel Road’, ‘You’ll Think Of Me’ and ‘Wearin’ That Loved On Look’. Oliver was particularly impressive on ‘Long Black Limousine’, which he sang with power and intensity. The standing ovation that he got at the end of the show was well deserved. Both my wife and I liked him. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I’m not into the whole ETA thing at all, but we were both pleasantly surprised by this guy’s voice and stage presence -- especially following his less than promising start.

Around noon the following day, my old buddy Real (Ray) Bouwman arrived from Holland. I’d told him about the weekend the night before, and he decided to come and visit us together with his girlfriend Deidre. Real and I met up with Helmut Radermacher, and discussed all the latest news and releases in the Elvis world. Helmut was not too pleased as he thought MRS had taken some liberties with their latest Hayride release.

We decided to attend the Q&A session with Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood. Joe seemed a bit grumpy initially. Could be the jetlag, could be boredom… These guys have been answering the same old questions for years, so I can’t really blame him. At one point he told the crowd that he wanted to show them his (colorful) socks, since they were far more interesting than this whole Q&A session!! I could certainly sympathize with these guys… what on earth are you going to say about someone with whom you’ve worked with on and off for about 3 years, about 40 years ago? The questions were indeed hardly groundbreaking, and my kids were getting restless, so we decided to go out and have fun in the snow. And I’m glad we did.

Later that evening, Dennis Jale and his band Jam Gang did a show together with The Imperials. I’d seen the Imperials about 10 years ago in Odense, Denmark and they had been excellent then, but there had been some changes in the line-up since that show. Therefore it was good to see (& hear) that they were still just as good, and perhaps even a notch better. Their harmonies were excellent, particularly on ‘Sweet Sweet Spirit’ (a real showstopper) and ‘He Touched Me’.

I gained new admiration for Terry Blackwood, a tremendous singer and showman, and someone who really knows how to connect with a crowd. He sang the gospels with great warmth and sincerity, and yet kept things light with his jokes between songs. Joe Moscheo on the other hand still seemed a bit grumpy at first, but he loosened up considerably as the show went along.

Joe’s deep voice and his bigger-than-life personality were almost as entertaining as Terry. At one point Terry referred to Joe as the "Italian Stallion", which drew a lot of laughter, and they both joked about Terry being just a small blonde kid when ‘That’s The Way It Is’ was filmed.

Not having seen Dennis Jale from Austria before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Dennis is a neat-looking fellow, very ‘showbizz’ and with a light but generally pleasant voice. It’s always hard for any singer to get compared to Elvis, and I have to admit that at times I really wanted Dennis’ voice to be a bit stronger, but c’est la vie… There’s only one Elvis. On the plus side it has to be said that Dennis is a topnotch entertainer who knows all the showbusiness tricks on how to work a crowd, and he has a tremendous band behind him.

These guys were seriously good, and I particularly enjoyed guitarist Goran Mikulec and slapbass player Manfred Chromy. However, it has to be said that their showbiz antics were a little too much at times; Sometimes Goran would be running to the front of the stage to serve up a series of hot ‘metal’ licks, and then Manfred would do the same, throwing himself on the floor to really slap that bass. Sure, it was all good fun and the crowd really lapped it up, but sometimes The Imperials did look a bit lost amidst all these theatrics. As for Dennis, his best moments came with ‘I Believe’ and ‘Stand By Me’, where vocally he reminded me a bit of Ronnie McDowell. He sang both songs with great warmth.

During the show’s finale, ‘Suspicious Minds’, Joe Moscheo really made my daughter’s day by pulling her on stage. Initially she looked a bit petrified but then seemed to enjoy the whole experience, and she stayed there for much of the song. As for my son, he’d fallen asleep in the middle of the show. You can’t win ‘em all, I guess.


The following morning, as we said our goodbyes to The Imperials, Joe once again singled out my daughter Sheila, telling her how beautiful she was with the blonde hair. "I’m a real Italian", he said, as he pointed at his own hair. Then he shook my hand and said: "Hey, I made your daughter a star last night!".

Suddenly it struck me that he reminded me a bit of Tony Soprano of the ‘Sopranos’ television series. He winked at me and went on his way. Quite a character.

(Right;Joe Moscheo & Sheila Deelen - Photo by Angelo/Luxembourg)

The time had now come for us to say our goodbyes to organizer Markus Henfling, who proudly told us that this weekend had raised over 800 Euros for needy children. He said that Elvis had always been a generous man, and had supported a lot of charities, especially those involving children, and Markus wanted to continue that tradition in Elvis’ honor. A tremendous achievement, and a great note to end this very special weekend on.

For more information on the annual Elvis Christmas weekend in Bischofsgrün, please go to: www.elvisweekend.de/1.html For more info on ‘Golden Boy Elvis’, please visit www.goldenboyelvis.de


Spotlight by Arjan Deelen.
-Copyright EIN, December 2011

Click here to comment on this article

All photos by Arjan Deelen unless credited otherwise.

Arjan Deelen is the producer of the 'The Original Elvis Tribute' Tours

For more information you can visit www.elvisnews.dk

Go here for other relevant information:

'The Original Elvis Tribute STRIKES AGAIN! 2011 

'The Original Elvis Tribute 2010'- An Elvis band on Tour: 

Review of the Original Elvis Tribute 2009 Tour

Arjan Deelen's 2009 interview with Duke Bardwell

2009 Michael Jarrett Interview

Elvis Drummer Jerome "Stump" Monroe EIN Interview:

(Right;Arjan Deelen with Terry Blackwood)

EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Elvis Presley, Elvis and Graceland are trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The Elvis Information Network has been running since 1986 and is an EPE officially recognised Elvis fan club.
















Did You Miss These Popular EIN Features
'48 Hours To Memphis' FTD CD Review:
Blue Hawaii - The Movie- EIN special spotlight:
When Roy Orbison met the King
"Kissed By Elvis" Janet Fulton Interview:
'1956, Elvis Presley’s Pivotal Year':
'The Elvis Files Vol. 4' Book Review:
'Young Man with the Big Beat' In-Depth Review:
'Fashion For A King' FTD in-depth Review:
"ReBooked At The International'- in-depth Review:
EIN interviews John Scheinfeld director of  'Fame & Fortune':
EIN Spotlight on Alfred Wertheimer:
Jerry Leiber Interview for EIN:
Elvis Drummer Jerome "Stump" Monroe EIN Interview:
Donnie Sumner Remembers his friend Sherrill Nielsen: 
Lamar Fike EIN Exclusive Interview
'The Final Curtain' Deluxe Box-Set Review:
'Elvis Memphis to Madison 1977' The Gas Station Incident:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 2' Book Review:
Myrna Smith Interview with EIN:
'Elvis In Concert' 1977 TV special; Should it be released officially?
'The Complete Elvis Presley Masters' in-depth Review:
VIVA ELVIS'- The King Butchered! CD review:
'King Creole - The Music' FTD Review:
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'The Complete Masters' and more:
'Boston Garden '71' FTD CD Review:
'Elvis Tattoos' and EIN Spotlight:
RARE Elvis photos Special
The Night John Lennon Met Elvis:
'Elvis On Tour' BluRay Review:
D.J Fontana Interview:
Red West Interview Special: 
SONY/RCA 2010 Future ELVIS CD Release Details:
Linda Thompson - Interview Special:
Remember 'The King' with Music:
ELVIS WEEK 2010, EIN exclusive reports
Elvis in 1969 - Ann Moses & Ray Connolly Interviews:
'Elvis On Tour' cinema FAN REVIEWS:
SHOWTIME! - FTD Review - Elvis LIVE Dec 76
Elvis' 1956 Mystery Kisser Found!
'The Elvis Files Vol. 3' Book Review:
'On Stage' 40th Anniversary release in-depth review:
Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight (CD Review)
'The Wonder Of You' FTD Review:
'Blue Hawaii' FTD Soundtrack in-depth Review:
'Off Duty with Private Presley' Book/CD Review:
'Tupelo Welcomes Elvis Presley Home' CD/Book Review:
‘The Return Of A Prodigy’ CD Review:
From Elvis In Memphis (40th Anniversary Legacy Edition):
'I Believe: Gospel Masters' BMG review
'From Elvis To Garth' Bobby Wood & The Memphis Boys;
'IN PERSON’ at The International Hotel' FTD CD review:
Spotlight: Dark Side of the Colonel
Flaming Star - an In-depth look.
Interview: Sonny West
Priscilla Presley Interview with CNN
The '68 Special - 40th Anniversary Celebration:
EIN interview with Ernst Jorgensen
EIN interview with Roger Semon
Review of FTD Book/CD Writing For The King
In depth review of BMG 'Viva Las Vegas'
Lisa Marie Interview
The Night Elvis Reclaimed His Crown 1968
'EIN's Best of Elvis on YouTube'
Elvis and James Brown - Kindred spirits!?
Elvis was NOT a racist
'The Final Curtain' Deluxe Box-Set Review:
'Boston Garden '71' FTD CD Review:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 2' Book Review:
'The Complete Elvis Presley Masters' in-depth Review:
VIVA ELVIS'- The King Butchered! CD review:
'King Creole - The Music' FTD Review:
SHOWTIME! - FTD Review - Elvis LIVE Dec 76
Book: Return of The King Elvis Presley's Great Comeback
Book: Viva Las Vegas (Lichter-Tunzi)
CD: Elvis Presley Electro Cover Compilation
'High Sierra' FTD Review:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 3' Book Review:
'Elvis Coming Home' STAR DVD review:
'On Stage' 40th Anniversary release in-depth review:
'Off Duty with Private Presley' Book/CD Review:
'A Minnesota Moment' FTD in-depth review:
'Jailhouse Rock' EIN in-depth FTD Soundtrack review:
'The Wonder Of You' FTD Review:
Stage: Viva Elvis
DVD: King 'n' Me
Book: The King and Dr. Nick
CD: 50 Australian Top Ten Hits
Book: Elvis My Best Man (George Klein)
Book: Elvis Presley's GOLD Cadillac Tour of Australasia 1968-69
CD: Elvis 75 Good Rockin' Tonight
CD/Book: Tupelo Welcomes Elvis Presley Home
CD/Book: Dayton Reloaded
CD Review: The Memphis Lullaby
Book Review: Baby, Let's Play House
Book: Ancestors of Elvis Aaron Presley 50 Generations (2009 edition)
Book: When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama
DVD: Elvis Love Me Tender The Love Songs
CD: From Elvis In Memphis (40th Anniversary Legacy Edition)
CD: April Fool's Dinner
FTD: Nevada Nights
Flaming Star - the movie an in-depth look.
Blue Hawaii - the movie indepth review
'I Believe: Gospel Masters' BMG review
'IN PERSON’ at The International Hotel' FTD CD review:
Book Review: Teenagers' Hero
Blue Hawaii - indepth movie review
Book: The Gospel Side of Elvis
CD: The American Way Vol. 4 - Sound of the City
Book/FTD: Live In L.A.
CD 'The King' vs 'The Essential Elvis'
Book: E.P in Concert
Book: Elvis The Louisiana Hayride Years 1954-56
CD: The Complete Million Dollar Quartet
CD: Elvis movies
Book: The "Love Me Tender" Years Diary
Book: Elvis at 21 (Wertheimer)
Book: Inside G.I. Blues
Articles / Spotlights
The King and the Burlesque Queen
'Elvis Meets The Beatles':
'A Heart That's True', Remembering Elvis in 2010: 
March 1960 - The Return Of The King:
Viva "VIVA ELVIS!' all the Cirque news
Happy Birthday Elvis!!!
On his 75th birthday, Elvis lives on in hearts of fans:
Elvis and the Coal Mine - a tax fraud!
'Suspicious Minds' - Elvis' Greatest Single?:
Spotlight: Rosella Presley
Film Posters & Lobby Cards - a photo gallery
Elvis; Concert Review 1969: EIN 40th Anniversary special Spotlight:
Elvis' Secret Life!
Elvis or Michael Jackson - who is the bigger star?
Dark Side of the Colonel
Dr. Nick: Medically Irresponsible or Misunderstood?
Flaming Star - an In-depth look.
'From Elvis To Garth' Bobby Wood & The Memphis Boys;
Blue Hawaii - the movie in depth look
In search of Oahu Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii:
Rex Martin talks about Maria & Gladys Davies & Elvis
Tom Petty; How Elvis changed my world
How did Elvis get turned into a Racist?
Elvis in Toledo
Boots Randolph: A Tribute
EP In Concert "downunder" 2006
Elvis in the "gossip" mags - a pictorial review
Elvis In Concert (1977) - should it be released?
The Geraldo Rivera ("20/20") investigations into Elvis' death
The real failure of Elvis' movie career
Is Elvis a religion?
Did You Miss these Popular Interviews?
D.J Fontana Interview - Elvis Week 2010 special: 
Red West Interview:- 2010 Elvis week special
Linda Thompson - Interview Special:
Elvis in 1969 - Ann Moses & Ray Connolly Interviews:
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'On Stage' and Elvis' Legacy in 2010:
Paul Lichter
Dr. Nick talks to EIN
Alanna Nash Interview
The Dangerous World of Elvis Bootlegging; Vic Colonna reveals all!
Rex Martin (Worldwide Elvis News Service Weekly)
Rocky Barra (Strictly Elvis)
Marty Lacker (2008)
Priscilla Presley Interview with CNN
Lisa Marie Interview
Sonny West (Part 2)
Wanda June Hill
Joseph Pirzada
Jeanne LeMay Dumas
Larry Geller
Mac Davis
Roger Semon
Ernst Jorgensen
Kevan Budd (Dec 2006)
Ken Sharp (author: Writing For The King)
Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns)
Ernst Jorgensen (Record Collector)
Graceland cam
Charmaine's Elvis Graphics
EPE's Multimedia Elvis Gallery
Sirius Elvis Satellite Radio
Elvis Radio (ETA's)
Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Only Radio
Sanja's Elvis Week 2007 Photo Gallery