This morning, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, I attended a special media launch in anticipation of the second annual Niagara Falls Elvis Festival that takes place on three consecutive days next weekend, Friday, April 20th to Sunday, April 22nd, at the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls.
The well-organized event this morning, which was attended by all facets of media, began with a reception and meet-and-greet over a continental breakfast. We were then asked to take a seat in the theatre where Tony Busseri, Co-Founder of ARB Productions, welcomed everyone, and introduced a video recording of Niagara Falls Mayor James Diodati proclaiming the month of April 2018 as “Niagara Falls Elvis Festival Month". Following the proclamation, we were treated to dazzling magic acts presented by master magician, Greg Frewin.
In his first feat of magic, Greg drew a picture of a bowling ball on a two dimensional pad of paper, and out of nowhere a bowling ball fell from the pages! In his second act, Greg’s assistant stepped inside a curtained box, and proceeded to remove her shoes, gloves, and dress. Greg handed his assistant a bustier, which we all assumed she would be wearing when the curtains dropped. I gasped, along with those seated behind me, when the curtains fell and ETA Richard Wolfe, dressed in a gold jacket, appeared in place of Greg’s assistant!
Richard, who will be competing next weekend, entertained us with Elvis songs from the 50s. ETA Bruno Nesci, dressed in a blue 70s jumpsuit, and who is also competing in the festival, followed Richard, and sang Elvis concert selections, ending with “Suspicious Minds”. It was a brilliant demonstration of what audiences can look forward to next weekend, and certainly succeeded in creating a media buzz.
The succeeding slideshow presentation was very informative. Of special interest to SIDEBURNS Magazine followers: On Sunday, April 15th, 2018, a free community event will be held at Greg Frewin Theatre from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. Elvis Tribute Artists will be in attendance, and children can look forward to a bouncy castle, slide, and Elvis karoke. Food and beverages will be provided at the family friendly event. This event is made possible from grants from the Province of Ontario and the City of Niagara Falls. Another event ETA fans will enjoy is the panel discussion that takes place on Saturday, April 21st, in the Conference Hall, Greg Frewin Theatre, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.
History and details of the Niagara Falls Elvis Festival were discussed during the presentation. Tony Busseri, and his brother, Frank, an original, and still performing, member of The Four Lads, started ARB Productions twenty-eight years ago. They began producing dinner theatre shows that featured legendary performers and tribute artists. Eleven years ago, after seeing the beauty in the Las Vegas styled setting of the Greg Frewin Theatre, they formed a partnership with Greg Frewin. The success of last year’s Niagara Falls Elvis Festival ensured there would be a second annual festival this April. The winning ETA from the NF Elvis Festival will go to Memphis in August to compete with over 20 ETAs from around the world. ETAS who entered NF Elvis Festival pay their own transportation to the event, and also pay a fee to enter. The NF Elvis Festival is licensed by Elvis Presley Enterprises. This year, Dean Z, a very popular ETA from last year's festival, will appear on Friday, April 20th, in “The DEAN Z Show”. Music accompaniment will be provided by the Hired Hitmen band.
Sixteen competing ETAs on Saturday will be reduced to ten for Sunday’s competition. On Sunday the ten will be reduced to five after judging is completed. In addition to the crowning of an overall winner, a People’s Choice prize will be presented. During a Q&A with Tony, Greg, Richard, and Bruno, a question about song choice was answered. ETAs send their top twenty song choices to Tony prior to the competition. In round one of the competition, each of the sixteen ETAs sings two songs. After an intermission, the competitors sing another two songs. Richard explained that, of course, each ETA hopes that the song that they feel is their signature song is one of the songs they are awarded. From the organizer’s point of view, variety is important, as an audience does not want to hear the same song sung sixteen times.
I was pleased to hear that B&K Enterprises Costume Co. will be represented at the festival, since I posted my interview with Butch Polston on February 17th, 2018. Unfortunately Butch and Kim will not be attending, but I look forward to meeting their representative, Robin Theobald. I am also looking forward to seeing the following performers:
· Dean Z
· Tim E Hendry
· Justin Shandor
· Diogo Light
· Victor J Hanson
· Connor Russo
· Sandy Vine
· Riley Jenkins
· Casino Brothers Band
and the 16 competitors:
· Sylvain Leduc, Valleyfield, Quebec
· Richard Wolfe, Hamilton, Ontario
· Bruno Nesci, Woodbridge, Ontarioc
· Cote Deonath, Ocala, Florida
· Mike Calamusa, Belleville, Ontario
· Eric Evangelista, Bolton, Ontario
· Jeff Gordon, Dallas, Texas
· Marnie Mackintosh, Manitoba, Canada
· Patrick Johnson, Lake View, New York
· Peter Doiron, London, Ontario
· Taylor Rodriguez, Lynchburg, Virgina
· James Gibb, Harrow, Ontario
· Dave Weaver, Arkport, New York
· Norm Ackland, Windsor, Ontario
· Mark Shelton, Newport, Vermont
· Joey Cundari, Brampton, Ontario
and all the fans!
I wish to thank everyone at ARB Productions and Greg Frewin Theatre for making me feel so welcome at today’s media launch. I look forward to seeing you all next weekend. Best regards, Carolyn MacArthur.
http://www.niagarafallselvisfestival.com https://www.facebook.com/niagarafallselvisfestival https://twitter.com/NFallsElvisFest