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Elvis tribute artists have burning love for arts school

September 01, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Proceeds from a Sept. 10 and 11 fund-raiser featuring three Elvis Presley tribute artists are going to the planned Barbara Ingram School for the Performing Arts in downtown Hagerstown, organizers said Tuesday.

"I think this is an absolutely wonderful thing, that they are thinking of the School for the Arts," Elizabeth Morgan, superintendent of Washington County Public Schools, said Monday. "The fact that there are arts events that can inspire this kind of thing is just terrific."

In past years the proceeds went to the development of Hagerstown's Arts and Entertainment District, event co-chairman Jay Frantz said Monday.

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"Elvis tribute artists are more than just 'impersonators' and some even find that label demeaning," Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Tuesday. "Most feel that their work is a testimonial of respect and praise, while keeping the memory alive for the man many consider the greatest performer ever."

The event is limited to 1,000 reserved tickets each year, Frantz said. About 750 tickets were sold for the event in 2002 and 2003, he said.

About 150 tickets have been sold for the Sept. 11 performance of three tribute artists in the Center Parking Lot in downtown Hagerstown, Frantz said.

Frantz said he suspects people are waiting to buy tickets for the rain-or-shine event until they know what the weather will be like. The storm that occurred during the Western Maryland Blues Fest may be affecting ticket sales, he said.

Tickets are $25 for reserved seating. There also are $15 and $10 tickets available for seats farther back from the stage.

Tickets also are on sale for a "Meet The Guys" party on Sept. 10, at which people can meet the tribute artists. Tickets for the Friday night event are $15 at the door, $12 in advance.

While five tribute artists performed at the event last year, this year only three are scheduled, Frantz said. Organizers decided to pare down the number of entertainers so the event would not run too long, he said.

While the event is on Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the show will go on, Frantz said.

"We felt it was still appropriate because Presley is very patriotic in a lot of the things he did," Frantz said. "While it is a day of remembrance, it is also a day of celebration," he said.

Frantz said people can get more information about the events by calling the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, one of the event's sponsors, at 301-739-2015 or by going to www.hagerstown.org on the Web.

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