The poster reads, “Elvis has not left the building … yet,” but unless one marks down Saturday, Aug. 16, it will be too late to catch the king of Elvis tribute artists, Monk Pelly, unless one is willing to travel to Boston, where Pelly will perform as Elvis for the final time.
However, catching Pelly perform as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is not the sole reason to catch one of the premier tribute artists in concert, because the Aug. 16 concert is more than a farewell. It is a fundraiser for the family of Robby Marczan.
Marczan, 24, died this past March when a minivan pulled out in front of him on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven. The operator of the minivan was attempting to turn left onto Lake Bess Road. Marczan was driving his motorcycle with two other companions at the time. While the two companions were barely able to avoid colliding with the minivan, Marczan struck the van on the passenger side. He was wearing a helmet.
Prior to his untimely death, Marczan had been an employee at Elite Detail ’N Tint, in Bartow, which is owned and operated by Pelly. Marczan was a close family friend of Pelly’s sons and often stayed over. Upon occasion, he would help set up when Pelly performed.
“I’m hoping Elvis fans and motorcycle enthusiasts will turn out in force for Robby’s family,” said Pelly. He added that Marczan’s family is doing as well as they can, but it still is a struggle emotionally for them, as it also is for Pelly. “Robby was over at my home almost all the time.” He looked upon Marczan as a part of the Pelly family.
Earlier this year, Pelly, who has been performing as Elvis for 35 years, decided this will be the final year doing so. Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts, he will not be appearing at this year’s slate of Friday Fest events in downtown Bartow, much to the dismay of many, including Pelly himself.
It was not an easy decision to make, said Pelly, but one he felt was necessary. Performing as Elvis requires much effort.
“These shows take a lot of putting together,” he said. Among the factors and decisions are deciding what songs to perform and the order in which they are to appear.
Plus there are the rehearsals. Not having a set band, backup musicians consist of whoever is available. To prepare, Pelly burns CDs, which include what keys to play in, plus chord charts, that he furnishes to the musicians.
“I have to know the show like the back of my hand,” Pelly said.
Then there is also keeping himself physically fit by working out at the gym. It gives him strength and endurance, as well as build lung power.
All these matter, he said, because it’s important to put on the highest quality show possible. Sloppy is not a word in his vocabulary, whether performing as Elvis, or the work he does at his business, Elite Detail ’N Tint. It’s also important in his tribute to Marczan.
About the concert
The concert will be held Saturday, Aug. 16, at Theatre Winter Haven, 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $15, with all proceeds going to the Robby Memorial Fund; donations are also welcome. There is the possibility of a Sunday matinee, but that has yet to be confirmed.
To order, call 863-604-8269. Tickets can also be purchased at Elite Detail ‘N Tint, 195 N. Third Ave., Bartow, 863-533-0681; and Ronnie’s Hair Design, 1382 Sixth St. NW, Winter Haven, 863-294-1970.
More information — including Pelly’s new show in 2015: “A Tribute to Gold” — visit: www.monkpellyelvisshow.com or on facebook: Monk Pelly Elvis Show.
(Aug. 16 is the anniversary of the day Elvis Presley died in 1977 at age 42.)