As the temperatures were cooling off outdoors, they were heating up inside the halls of VFW #1146, Cpl Walter F. Bruce Post, as Greg Jaqua’s ‘Elvis’ had the attendees “All Shook Up” at his performance there. From his first song, a rendition of “Good to Me”, through “Amen”, “All Shook Up”, “Teddy Bear”, and “Don’t Be Cruel”, all in the first fifteen minutes, the crowd’s appreciation just kept heating up.
Starting with Louise Denolf remarking, “He’s got a great voice,” with her husband Gary chiming in, “He sounds just like Elvis,” to Ladies Auxiliary President, Joyce Tomaskovic exclaiming, “I love the way he’s working the crowd,” ‘Elvis’ at the Bruce Post was definitely a big hit.
Dee Funke was one of the first ladies to receive one of those infamous scarves. She laughingly said, “I always wanted a part of Elvis.” Dee is a lifetime member of the Post, along with being a member of the DAV. Her friend, Joan Harmon, “came along for the fun and a day out and I’m having a good time.”
When the time came for “Blue Hawaii”, ‘Elvis’ was accompanied by Hula Boy dancers, who were having a ball. As attendees of the event, they wanted to remain anonymous.
Not so for Lucille Dacey, who wanted us to know that, “On some of the hard ones (the songs) he’s excellent. He’s very good.”
Sandy Huffman agreed. “He’s really, really good and this is a good time. He’s the closest thing to ‘Elvis’ that I’ve seen anywhere.” Sandy, who is Sr. Vice Commander of VFW #6756, Cpl Richard W. Menge Post, along with her Mom, Hazel Ruehle, who is Chairman of the Ladies Auxiliary Cancer Program and wants everyone to “Get their tests”, came from across town to get a glimpse of Greg Jaqua. Hazel, too was enjoying herself watching the show, and also exchanging greetings with fellow Auxiliary Members.
Exchanging greetings earlier, Greg Jaqua shared that back in the early 80’s he was asked to join a band to back up ‘Elvis,’ and “I started on my own in 1994. I’ve been working on it since then. I try to get to some contests and conventions to see how others do it (their impression of Elvis) and maybe even pick up some pointers.”
He has successfully done that, as in September Greg went to Porthcawl in Wales to receive the Best International Elvis Award, which was presented by Charles Stone, who was Elvis’s Tour Manager in the 70’s, Jaqua explained. Continuing on, he said, “What could be better? I sing, kiss a lot of women and people pay me to do it! When I get too old to do this any longer, I’ll be playing back up for other ‘Elvis’ guys.”
The back up team for Greg Jaqua as ‘Elvis’ consisted of Janice Ciotti, who is definitely the “all around assistant” that takes excellent care of everything, along with her daughter, Hannah Cotter. According to Greg, “Hannah knows all of the songs, and has since she was really little.” Hannah shared with us, too, that she, of course, likes other guys, which includes Justin Bieber.
One of the other guys who was in attendance was District Sr. Vice Commander, John Bond, along with his wife, Margaret. They, too, had driven across town for the show. During intermission John commented, “The show is great.” Margaret said, “This is the best Elvis show we’ve been to. If you weren’t here, you missed a good show. It was really worth the drive to come over.” They both felt they would attend another of Greg’s show should he come back to the Bruce Post.
John Spens, member of the Jefferson Yacht Club and Harbor Nine, explained his daughter, Margaret, is a member of Bruce Post’s Junior Girls, while her sister Amanda belongs to the Junior Girls at the Fraser Post. In addition, John’s sister, Marilyn Malick is the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Chaplain for the State of Michigan. Commenting on the show, John said, “He was really good and I had a great time.”
“A wonderful time,” was how Sue Lock and friend Greg Williams explained their afternoon. Scott and Carol Craig enthusiastically concurred.
Quartermaster of the Bruce Post, Bernie Jarzombek and wife, Marge, laughed along as ‘Elvis’ draped a scarf around her neck. Bertie Perkins was, too, treated with an official scarf placement, as was Commander Tara Perez. Perez agreed with the crowd that, “He’s really good”, and proved it by dancing to a number of the songs.
With other songs such as, “You Were Always on My Mind”, “One Night With You”, “Little Sister”, “Make the World Go Away”, “Jail House Rock”, “My Way”, “Treat Me Good”, “Suspicious Minds”, and, of course, “Fever”, the crowd was rocking and rolling and dancing and singing. “Awesome show,” exclaimed Jim and Joani Jay.
Joyce Tomaskovic, Ladies Auxiliary President wanted to give credit where credit was due. “Chester Landis did an excellent job on planning the show, staging it on a Sunday afternoon, and doing something different. In addition, all thanks should go to him for proposing the upcoming Halloween party, gathering the interest, and with that, the Ladies Auxiliary will just follow through and perform.”
The live performance included atttendance by one couple, Pam and Ron Wicketts, who had a, “Wonderful Sunday!” This couple also shared their story, which was that they had been married in Las Vegas, in the Elvis Chapel, and had ‘Elvis’ walk Pam down the aisle. Pam laughed as she said, “This is a great way to spend a Sunday.”
Cindy Sedrowski, winner of last month’s “Beachiest” award at the End of Season Beach Party, too, enjoyed the Sunday outing. “He sounds really good” and you could tell by her smile that she was again having a great time.
A great time was also had by Vietnam Veterans Post #9 member, Regan Smith and wife, Anna. As a small segway during intermission, they were glad to hear about the upcoming film “Our Vietnam Generation”, which will premiere at the Fox Theatre on January 28, 2011. This film is produced and directed by nine time Emmy Award winner, Keith Famie, and honors Vietnam veterans for their service to the U.S. It will also feature Michigan Vietnam veterans, including those who have become successful business and community leaders, and those who still are challenged with the scars of war, both physical and and mental.
Physically, as Dick and Brenda Graves were collecting their belongings, and, mentally, as they collected their thoughts to leave the venue, Brenda stopped to say, “It was absolutely fantastic. If I didn’t know it wasn’t the real ‘Elvis’, I would have believed he was here.” Friends Arlene and Art Carrier agreed that they had a “Great time,” with both couples remarking that they would come back for another one of Greg Jaqua’s shows, and bring more friends.
Sharon Carolin, posing with a group of friends for a last picture or two, also said, “I thought he was great and I would come back again, and invite more of my friends, too.”
With that overall synopsis, and a great time had by all, there was only one more thing to say, “Elvis has left the building.”