Tara Markley, 19, is crazier about Elvis Presley and his music today than her grandmother was about the Memphis singer more than 50 years ago when he began revolutionizing popular music.
“She’s worse than I am,” laughs Pat Markley, 70, of Olney, who will be attending Saturday’s “One Night with You” tribute concert at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rockville with her granddaughter.
“It’ll be a chance to hoot and holler, and get some scarves,” says Tara about Elvis’ habit of giving away tokens to fans in the audience, something the tribute artists in the show also will be doing.
“He was enthusiastic, and he danced and got involved with the crowd there was a lot of energy on stage,” says Tara, who, despite a gap of two generations, became hooked on Elvis after listening to her grandmother’s records and watching videos of his performances.
“I get goosebumps at some of the songs,” says Tara about the tribute shows. “It’s a big thrill that it gives you, a rush of excitement.”
Proceeds from a silent auction and raffle, as well as $5 from each ticket sold, will benefit the National Capital Area chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Performing will be tribute artists John W. Fix of Gaithersburg, Joey Trites of Florida, Kavan of Columbus, Ohio, and Mario from London, England.
The four each will be singing songs from different eras in Elvis’ career his rockabilly days in the 1950s, movie days in the 1960s and his return to the stage in the 1970s, prior to the icon’s death of a prescription drug overdose at Graceland, his Memphis home, in 1977.
Songs likely are to run the gamut from “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Peace in the Valley” and “Love Me Tender” to “Blue Hawaii,” “Burning Love” and “Amazing Grace.”
At the end of the show, fans will have a chance to request songs, says Fix’s manager, Mary Miller, 72, of Potomac.
Miller had been making regular summer visits to her aunt in Memphis when she heard Elvis’ first commercial song hit the city airwaves in 1954, unleashing a flood of calls from listeners who wanted to hear more, including Miller, who was a teenager at the time.
“I must have called 100 times that night ‘Please play it again,’” remembers Miller, who saw Elvis in person two years later in Memphis at a screening of his first movie, “Love Me Tender.”
Wearing a fringed suede jacket, Elvis was sitting in the movie theater balcony with his girlfriend, Miller recalls.
“Suddenly my knees went weak, and I couldn’t walk,” says Miller, who is a fan to this day.
After seeing John W. Fix on stage during a 2000 Elvis tribute show in New Jersey, Miller asked if he would perform in Maryland at a Red Cross benefit, leading to a series of local “Salute to the King” concerts in the years since. There, Fix would serve as emcee and performer along with other Elvis tribute artists.
“He had a beautiful voice and a great range,” says Fix, 44, who remembers people saying he resembled Elvis as far back as kindergarten.
“There was a picture of me in kindergarten with my lip up,” Fix says.
Fix, who records for Comstock Records, says he admires Elvis’ music, but also the man for trying to treat people well and for respecting his elders.
“He was a rebel with manners,” says Fix, who notes Elvis served as a positive role model for him growing up.
Fix says he enjoys working with Trites, Kavan and Mario, whom he dubs “The Rat Pack, but with Elvis,” with each singer bringing out different stages in Elvis’ musical evolution.
Mario, who declined to share his age, says he first got to know Elvis watching his movies on London television on Saturday mornings. He became an actor and singer and headlines a show in London called “The Elvis Years.”
Mario says although he and his fellow artists have engaged in competitions in the past, for this performance they are working as a team.
“This is not a competition, this is a show,” he says.
Kavan, 24, said the fraternity of tribute artists is like a family and that each member has something different to contribute.
“It’s your perception of Elvis that you’re portraying, and there’s a little bit of yourself in it too,” he says. “I think the audience likes to see multiple guys each depicting a different era in Elvis’ career.”
Also in attendance on Saturday will be Howard and Donna Parzow of Gaithersburg, who grew up dancing to Elvis’ music and appreciate the chance to see a different type of entertainment.
“It’s a fun evening,” Howard says. “There’s nothing in the area you can go to like that.”
Howard, who graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring in 1967, favors Elvis’ early rock and roll from the 1950s, such as “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Jailhouse Rock,” while Donna Parzow prefers his gospel songs.
The Parzows say they’re going with two other couples and looking forward to a night of fun and a night of memories.
“We liked him, and we liked his music,” Howard says. “No one wants to forget Elvis Presley.”