Elvis tribute concert held at Summit Hill Heritage Center
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Summit Hill Heritage Center volunteers and board members pictured with Elvis impersonator "Johnny M" from front left are President Deb Ranck, treasurer Elenora Clay, performing artist and singer "Johnny M", volunteer Cathy Higgins, Vice President David Wargo and volunteer performer Amy Mitchelli. From back left are board member Lyle Mantz, secretary Andrea Mantz, volunteer Kathryn Wargo holding Katie Wargo, age 3, and volunteer Brandon Mantz.
Frigid temperatures and snow showers outside didn't stop dozens of true Elvis Presley fans from making their way to and celebrating Elvis Presley's 76th birthday during a well-attended tribute concert held on Saturday inside the Summit Hill Heritage Center.
Elvis Presley fans from all over came to watch Elvis impersonator and tribute performer "Johnny M" sing and dance during the first event of the 2011 season held at and organized by the Summit Hill Heritage Center. The concert was held in honor of the King's birthday and to raise needed funds for the Summit Hill Heritage Center.
Johnny Mullins, stage name "Johnny M", from Albrightsville, who donated his performance, has been doing Elvis impersonation performances for more than 29 years. Starting in New York, at age 8, he started out as a child performer and singer performing at various community venues and family functions.
After New York, he entertained hundreds of thousands in Las Vegas, as well as Branson Missouri, Atlantic City N.J., and dozens of other states. He even performed in Jamaica. In 1989, while performing in Memphis Tennessee, Johnny M won the category for Best Voice, with Elvis's wife Priscilla Elvis as one of the judges.
Elvis Aaron Presley, who was born January 8, 1935 and died August 16, 1977, was one of the most famous American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or "the King". He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley moved to Memphis, Tennessee with his family at age 13. He began his career there in 1954 when Sun Records owner Sam Phillips, eager to bring the sound of African American music to a wider audience, saw in Presley the means to realize his ambition. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was one of the originators of rockabilly, an up tempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country and rhythm and blues. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", released in January 1956, was a number one hit. He became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll with a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized
interpretations of songs, many from African American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular-and controversial.
In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender.
Conscripted into military service in 1958, Presley re-launched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work.
He staged few concerts, however, and, guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, after seven years away from the stage, he returned to live performance in a celebrated comeback television special that led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of profitable tours. In 1973, Presley staged the first concert broadcast globally via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii, seen by approximately 1.5 billion viewers. Prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42.
Presley, who's been inducted into four music halls of fame, is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Presley was also nominated for 14 Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Following the concert, fans were encourage to sign scarves and take photos with "Johnny M". David Wargo, Summit Hill Heritage Center Vice President stated, "Despite snow showers and very cold temperatures outside, we had a great turnout. We are really pleased with the show and all the dedicated board members and volunteers that helped put it together. Everyone had a great time."
The Summit Hill Heritage Center is a 501c3 nonprofit service organization whose mission is to enrich the lives and communities of the Panther Valley and surrounding areas through entertainment, educational and social events, with its funds going to maintain and administer the building to support organizations like the food pantry, Boy Scouts and Quilting Guild. All donations and memberships are tax deductible contributions. Upcoming events at the Heritage Center include the Bach and Handel Chorale on May 14 at 3 p.m, flea markets and other events. For more information, call (570) 645-9133 or (570) 645-9160 or visit www.summithillheritagecenter.com