Elvis Week 2013 kicks off on August 10, with a number of festivities planned to honor the late singer in his hometown of Memphis. However, Smithville, Tennessee, will have their own little slice of Elvis, as Presley's back-up touring group of the 1970's - the Stamps Quartet - will be in town as part of a show being called Elvis: Aloha 40.
Elvis: Aloha 40 will be held at the new DeKalb County Community Center on stage in the auditorium with two showings scheduled for Saturday, August 10. A matinee show will be held at 2:30 p.m., with a second show scheduled that evening at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the event are $20 per person in advance, and $25 at the door the day of the show. A fundraiser is being held in conjunction with this show to raise money to purchase a curtain for the stage in the Community Center auditorium. Tickets for the event will go on sale in the coming weeks.
The theme of Elvis Week 2013 celebrates the 40th anniversary of one of the most historic events of the late singer's career, the Aloha From Hawaii television special. The Aloha concert was beamed live via satellite to over one billion people worldwide, making it one of the most watched live television events of all-time, surpassing even the moon landing of 1969. Smithville's Aloha 40 show featuring the Stamps will coincide with the Elvis Week theme and celebrate the peak moment in Presley's latter career.
"DeKalb County is both honored and excited to have a group of this historic stature come be one of the first major acts in our new facility," said County Mayor Mike Foster. "We hope to be able to have more shows like this in the future. That was one of our major goals when we initially opened the new center."
The event is being organized by Smithville native Tim Colwell, who has worked with the Stamps Quartet as part of country singer Ronnie McDowell's touring group. Colwell believes Elvis fans, both near and far, will come to Smithville for the chance to see a part of music history.
"We've traveled to cities big and small and the result is the same -- packed venues -- all to see a show related to Elvis," Colwell said. "Elvis may no longer be with us, but he's still as popular now as he ever was. It shows in the crowds that come to the Elvis shows I have played. People of all ages still love Elvis."
Elvis Week annually coincides with the date of the singer's death, August 16, 1977. Thousands upon thousands of fans from all around the world still flock to the singer's Graceland home in Memphis every August to pay tribute to the son of a Tupelo sharecropper who grew up to be the most popular individual performer of all-time.
The Stamps Quartet backed Elvis on stage and in the studio from November, 1971, until the singer's final show in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26, 1977. The Stamps were set to board a plane for Portland, Maine to open a new tour with Elvis on the evening of August 16, 1977, when they heard the news of his death.
Originally organized in 1969, the Stamps were known as J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet until Sumner's death in 1998. Sumner was noted for long having the lowest recorded bass note, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Long-time Stamps lead vocalist, Ed Enoch, was granted official ownership of the historic Stamps Quartet name in 2003, and the group has continued to tour venues all around the world.
In addition to Elvis Presley, the Stamps, over the years, have also provided back-up vocals for Jerry Lee Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Conway Twitty, just to name a select few. One of their most recent projects was singing back-up with Alan Jackson on his latest Gospel album.
Elvis: Aloha 40 will feature an opening performance by the legendary Stamps Quartet, followed by a full on Elvis tribute show, with the group - as they did for six years with Presley - providing the back-up vocals. Smithville resident, Tom Duggin, will provide the vocals for the Elvis part of the show, backed by Colwell and a local group of musicians known as "TCB." Much like the Presley stage show of the 70's, Elvis: Aloha 40 will feature a brass ensemble on stage as well as female back-up singers, in addition to the core musicians and the Stamps Quartet.
"It's exciting to be part of a show of this caliber, right here in my hometown," added Colwell. "This has always been a dream of mine. I know there are many who love Elvis, the Stamps, and their music, just as much as I do, and that makes it even more special to have it right here in Smithville."
The DeKalb County Community Center on South Congress Boulevard will be the central location for ticket purchases, with other venues to be possibly added. An announcement will be made as soon as tickets are available for purchase.