Elvis tribute concert has fan all shook up

2011-02-03T17:09:00Z 2011-02-03T21:45:54Z Elvis tribute concert has fan all shook upCynthia Beaudette Muscatine Journal
February 03, 2011 5:09 pm  • 

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The audience attending the Elvis Presley tribute concert featuring Junior Talley Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Muscatine Eagles Lodge may be getting two shows for the price of one.

One of Presley’s biggest fans, Amanda Laske of Muscatine, plans to shake, rattle and roll to some of her favorite tunes that evening.

Laske was 5 when Presley died in 1977, but The King — and the people who keep his music alive — bring her great joy.

Going to concerts featuring Presley’s music and visiting his home, Graceland, in Memphis, have garnered Laske, 39, a lifetime of memories and memorabilia.

Laske, who has Down syndrome, began attending Elvis tribute concerts in the early 1980s with her older sister, Judy McCann, also of Muscatine.

Laske soon developed a great fondness for the live concerts, and her genuine enthusiasm won the attention of several Elvis impressionists.

“Her favorite song to dance to is “Viva Las Vegas,” said McCann. “She dances in her chair the whole time.”

In 1990, Laske’s unabashed fondness for the impressionists’ music landed Laske and McCann on the national news show, NBC’s “Inside Report.”

The sisters were attending an Elvis convention in Chicago where the show’s producers made Laske the focus of their report.

Laske and her mother, Betty Laske, have a videotape of the news story. They also treasure Amanda Laske’s series of photo albums depicting her adventures on the concert circuit, which also includes popular country vocalists such as George Strait and The Judds.

Along the way, Amanda Laske has collected autographs, photos and 117 scarves from Presley impressionists.

She’s also made some friends; one, Tony Bernard, is a Chicago-based vocalist who includes Presley’s music in his shows. Laske and Bernard met 20 years ago at an Elvis convention and she has attended his shows ever since. Bernard is so appreciative of Laske’s support that he staged a dinner party with her family and friends at the Elms in Muscatine to celebrate her 20 years as a devoted fan.

“I love Bernie,” said Amanda Laske, referring to Bernard, who often sings the Elvis hit, “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” just for her.

Ten years ago, Bernard performed at the wedding of Amanda’s sister, Jane (Laske) Shea, of Bloomington, Ill.

“I’m the baby of the family,” said Laske, who was maid of honor at Shea’s wedding.

The Laske sisters’ father and Betty Laske’s husband, Robert Laske, died in 1996. 

As Amanda Laske looks forward to Talley’s performance, she can catch a glimpse of him on television. He’s the Elvis impersonator who stars in the Jumer’s Casino and Hotel commercials that promote the Rock Island establishment.

The commercial has been uploaded to YouTube, which means Talley and Amanda Laske already have something in common.

In 2008, when Amanda Laske danced on stage in Galesburg, Ill., with Presley impressionist Al Hull and Presley’s original back up quartet, the Jordanaires, it was captured on film and uploaded to YouTube.

Details

Learn more about Elvis impressionist Junior Talley at http://www.juniortalleyaselvis.com/

The show

What: “Illusions of Elvis,” a live dinner show with singer Junior Talley presenting the music of Elvis Presley.

When: Saturday, Feb. 19. Dinner, 5-6:30 p.m.; Show begins at 7 p.m.

Where: Muscatine Eagles Lodge, 2921 Iowa Highway 22.

Tickets: $20, includes dinner and show, can be purchased at the Eagles club after 6 p.m. on Friday nights, or by calling the Eagles Lodge at 264-5633. On other days, call Jeanie Seefeldt at 563-263-3564

Online

Learn more about Elvis impressionist Junior Talley at http://www.juniortalleyaselvis.com/

Copyright 2015 Muscatine Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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