Featuring acclaimed Elvis impersonators Pete Paquette and Chris Connor, ‘A Tribute to Elvis in Concert’ hits the Memorial Centre stage June 6th.
Accompanied by an incredible 11-piece band, this dynamic duo has been sharing their talents and showmanship across the country, with their impeccable talents making this an essential show for Elvis fans.
“It all started when I was a young boy – I became a fan of Elvis at eight years old,” said Paquette during a recent interview.
“I also come from a musical family so they encouraged my love for Elvis and his music and to do whatever I wanted to do with it.”
Paquette started to perform locally outside of Ottawa where he grew up.
“My dad was performing as well, so he would encourage me to sing some songs and do some shows. I became known locally as a ‘young Elvis’ when I was 12,” he added with a laugh. He eventually saw his first Elvis tribute show when he was 15, and that’s also when he learned about competitions.
“I participated in my first competition when I was 16 or 17 – literally I had a new direction for myself and I was thoroughly impressed that there were so many festivals in Canada and the United States.”
He would go on to compete in more than 25 competitions within just a few years – he also took home top honours in many of them as well.
“I had a talent for portraying Elvis in the 1950s very well, and it served me well in competitions.”
He even landed in the top 10 in the world in 2009.
“So there were lots of festivals in my early 20s.”
Now 32, he also credits his in-laws with encouraging him to start putting on his own shows.
He began as a solo artist with a band. After several years, he opted to launch a full-fledged entertainment business and began shaping an array of shows featuring lots of gifted artists.
“That’s where we started doing Elvis shows with Chris Connor.
“I’m also doing a show called ‘A Night of Rock and Roll with Pete Paquette’. It’s expanding to different things and I’m working with some of the best.
“Being surrounded by the best has made me a better musician and performer.”
As for taking on Elvis’s persona, Paquette said it was a process of growing into the role over the years.
“I’m trying to embody the persona, and what attracted people to Elvis to begin with,” he explained.
“Whether it’s charm, confidence, great vocals, energy, looking good on stage, people are there to get an experience of what it was like to see Elvis.
“But it’s also important for a person to be themselves while ‘embodied’ in that Elvis appearance.”
As to Elvis’s enduring impact as such a legend, Paquette said he thinks it boils down partly to him being the true American story. “From a poor upbringing to being the biggest superstar on the planet – it’s the American dream. He was also great with his fans, and appreciative. All of those things help to make a career endure.
“He left us with those feelings about him. He was very giving and cared a lot because of his upbringing, and his closeness to his family. These are all traits that people want to include in their lives.”
Paquette, who has toured across Canada with his self-produced show Elvis: The Moments, will set the stage with his explosive energy, recreating a performance of two of the King’s most defining moments of his career from his early rock years to the electrifying 1968 comeback special.
Meanwhile, direct from the United Kingdom, Connor, from the World Famous Elvis Show, has skyrocketed himself to becoming one of the most popular and sought after Elvis tribute artists in the world.
For ticket information, visit www.blackknightinn.ca.