UPLAND, CA. Fun, entertaining, poignant and touching are the words which come to mind for the third annual Elvispalooza. The show debuted in 2013 as a fundraiser to help raise money to pay off a mortgage suddenly demanded by the City of Upland Community Redevelopment Agency. Now in it’s third year, Kwick Productions and Chris Hernandez and the TCB Flash Band partnered to raise money for another worthy cause.
The Cancer Research Collaboration (CRC) was the organization selected this year to receive the proceeds. Established in 2013 the CRC grew from the efforts of Dr. John Link who, in 1995, founded the Breastlink Medical Group dedicated to advanced breast cancer research and treatment. As the group grew it began to expand research into other types of cancer and evolved into the CRC.
Today, the CRC has a “renewed interest in all types of cancer, ambitions to develop a biospecimen repository and a new focus on building collaborations to foster innovation in research.” Research innovation is a key component providing the means to fight cancer, but also a means to incorporate new technology and give cancer survivors the quality of life they deserve. In 2014 they were granted non-profit status which means they depend upon the donations of individuals, businesses, and fundraisers, like Elvispalooza, to raise money to further their research.
Elvispalooza 2016 kicked off with emcee, John Fisher. Mr. Fisher is a fine entertainer himself, but also a top notch emcee. Emcees seem to be the underappreciated talent of a show because an emcee is there to do a job and fill in the dead air between the entertainment. Mr. Fisher is one of the best. He kept the audience entertained with songs and made us laugh with his great sense of humor when he wore my wife’s appropriately pink colored reading glasses during the raffle. He also showed us his heart during one of the most poignant and touching moments of the fundraiser.
Breast cancer survivors were invited to the stage and asked to sit on the steps. Mr. Fisher personally knew several of the survivors and he choked back tears as he shared his thoughts on cancer. Of course, the moment touched many audience members who were perhaps thinking of loved ones who battled cancer as he spoke. Wearing the Snowflake Jumpsuit, Mr. Fisher sang Memories to each of them. The song inspired hope for new memories for those going through the fight now and fond memories of those who lost their battle. We wiped our tears away thankful for our loved ones and the show continued much like life moves on.
This year’s Elvispalooza invited fans to join the stage and participate in the show. First was Paul, joining Mr. Fisher for an An All Shook Up duet, sort of. He sang the “Uh-huh” part of the lyrics and showed his awesome Elvis swag (video), and showed a bit of skin when he pulled open his shirt to bare his chest. He looked like Clark Kent changing into his Superman tights except he forgot them. It was all in good fun, hilarious, and really set the entertaining mood for the rest of the show.
It only got better from that moment when Pamela wowed us with the way maracas were meant to be shook. Funny how maracas are rarely thought of as a musical instrument, yet, they are indeed an instrument when shook right and to What I’d Say, they’re super entertaining! Inviting some of the audience members on stage to do their thing was a nice touch to the Elvispalooza.
As entertaining as Paul and Pamela were we were there to see the King of Rock & Roll and the Elvispalooza did not disappoint. The show featured seven Elvis Tribute Artists and guest performer, David Lago, who portrayed Elvis Presley’s early years. Returning to California was former resident and local favorite ETA, Joe Bullock, now living in South Carolina. The event also coaxed former TCB Flash Band lead singer, Chris Luna, out of ETA retirement to share his vocal talents for the fundraiser. The rest of the lineup included Ceasar Garcia, Sean Martin, Fernie Ramirez, Raul Conde and emcee, John Fisher.
The ETAs along with Chris Hernandez and the TCB Flash Band, the Grove Theatre, and Kwick Productions, all who donated their time and talent, helped raise over $4,400. A staggering increase since the last fundraiser hosted by the Grove Theatre only raised about 5.86% of that amount last year. The Elvispalooza 2016 fundraiser was a resounding success because of all the faithful Elvis fans and the dedication of the ETAs who continue to keep the music, memory, and legacy of Elvis Presley alive.
Cancer Research Collaboration
1820 East First Street, Suite 310
Santa Ana, CA 92705
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