April 11, 1972. That was the day Linville resident Phyllis Mongold went to the then-Roanoke Civic Center to see Elvis Presley perform.
Despite being elbow-to-elbow with thousands in the crowd, Mongold said it was the time of her life because she had loved his voice since she first heard his music over the radio.
Gib Maynard is an award-winning Presley tribute artist who returns to the Valley this month to present different eras of the King at a fundraiser dinner.
When Mongold read that Maynard was performing at last year’s fundraiser, she immediately bought tickets. This year, she reserved one table for the first night and two for the second because she has a burning love for Maynard’s rendition.
“The sound, his gestures — and they’re not really put on. It’s more natural. His is more like Elvis. He looks like Elvis. I just thought all of it was wonderful,” Mongold said.
A voice full of soul and a belly full of jelly, Presley was an icon of the 20th century whose style and personality earned him the crown of rock ‘n’ roll.
“He was larger than life in everything he did from his outfits to his shows and personality, yet he still had what we would call a Southern charm,” Maynard said.
On Nov. 10 and 11, Leidos presents Memories of Elvis, a two-night celebration of “the King” at Bluestone Vineyard to benefit Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness.
Fans of Presley can enjoy the music and share a big hunk o’ love with Boulder Crest, the nation’s first privately funded retreat for military and veteran wellness and post-traumatic growth. Based in Bluemont along the Blue Ridge Mountains, the nonprofit serves approximately 700 veterans and first responders each year for free, according to its website.
Mary Miller, a promoter of the event, is among many in the Valley who remain swooned by Presley’s style and sound.
“There’s no one like Elvis. There will never be another person like Elvis, but they keep his memory alive,” Miller said.
While a lifelong fan of Presley, it was never Maynard’s plan to keep his memory alive professionally. Maynard’s musical roots began similarly to Presley, in the Deep South and in the heart of his church. Maynard’s career paying tribute to the King began per request of a friend three years ago, and since he has placed top five at the Nashville Elvis Festival, which draws international tribute artists and is sanctioned by Graceland.
Nov. 10 is a celebration of Presley’s gospel style. Say aloha on Nov. 11, because the evening is dedicated to the Hawaiian era of Presley.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is served 30 minutes later. The show starts at 7 p.m. and will last 2½ hours. Kimble Swanson is a local emcee that will keep the sounds flowing both nights. Dinner will be a classic Memphis barbecue affair on Nov. 10, and Nov. 11’s menu will be Hawaiian to match the theme, both catered by Dayton Tavern.
Tickets are $65 in advance, $75 at the door and $100 for VIP reserved seating, followed by a meet-and-greet with Maynard. Each night includes dinner, a silent auction, raffle and door prizes. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling Bluestone at (540) 828-0099 or calling Boulder Crest at (240) 751-7091. Locals can also pick up tickets in advance or day of at the Bluestone Vineyard tasting room.