Fund-raiser channels Elvis for kidsWritten by Michael Punsalan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Elvis donated to so many charities, like the March of Dimes, Boys Club of America, and the Shriners. It was a passion of his. He gave more away than he kept,” said Michelle Rosencrantz, organizer of the Elvis charity concert being held at the Franciscan Center in Sylvania on March 3. “He donated to so many charities, but he never wanted any credit for it. So a lot of people never knew about it.”
Headlining the Sylvania Elvis concert is singer Ronnie McDowell, who scored his first hit with the August 1977 single, “The King is Gone.” Accompanying McDowell is Elvis’s original drummer from 1954-68, D.J. Fontana, gospel legend Donnie Sumner, and local tribute artist Robert Rosencrantz with the Toledo ensemble The Roustabout Show Band.
The event is hosted by the Elvis Presley’s Sweet Sweet Spirit Fan Club, a Toledo organization which seeks to preserve the memory of Elvis’s charitable nature.
“We wanted to carry out his legacy, since he gave to so many,” said Michelle Rosencrantz, president of the fan club. “Elvis cared about helping the needy. He was raised poor, so he would never treat anybody different. He would treat a shoeshine boy as well as he would treat an executive of a big company. We thought, let’s do Elvis’s work for him. Let’s do what he would have wanted us to do.”
As a result, all proceeds of the Elvis concert go to the Little Kids Rock organization, which is dedicated to bringing free musical instruments and music instruction to public school children.
“Elvis’s mom bought him a guitar because she couldn’t afford a bicycle,” Rosencrantz said. “He really wanted a bicycle, but they were very poor. What would’ve happened if she hadn’t bought him that guitar? Little Kids Rock thinks that every child should have a chance to learn to play. Who is that kid out there now, that if somebody didn’t help him, could end up being a legend?”
The fan club’s past charity Elvis concerts have drawn fans from as far away as Scotland. Rosencrantz expects a similar turnout for the March 3 show, especially with the featured celebrity lineup.
“The sound is so phenomenal that people actually think that it’s Elvis,” said Rosencrantz about performers McDowell and Fontana.
“But we’re not saying he’s Elvis,” she laughed. “I mean, there’s only one Elvis.”