Gospel music, which was close to the heart of Elvis Presley, will kindle memories in the audience Sunday, Nov. 3, when Robert Shaw and Lonely Street Productions bring the "How Great Thou Art" tribute concert to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.
"He really believed," Shaw said of Elvis. "He was a spiritual guy. He never abandoned his spirituality" despite the struggles he went through during his life.
One of the King's epithets was, "Gospel music is the purist there is on this earth," Shaw added.
And, he said, people connect to gospel music and "the memories it brings back." Shaw often hears after a performance such comments as, "I'm so glad you sang my mother's favorite song."
Gospel songs have much the same effect as love songs, he said.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $26 and are on sale at the Performing Arts Center box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays by calling 776-2000, or by going online to www.ycpac.com. Tickets will also be available one hour before show time.
Shaw, too, grew up around gospel music, he said. "I always enjoyed it, and it has a wealth of great material to chose from. The arrangements are wonderful."
Besides the 12-piece Lonely Street Band, the tribute concert will include a gospel quartet, the Presidio Boys, who will be the backing vocal group, which is an important part of the sound of this music, Shaw said. "It gives it a whole extra layer. Elvis always had a gospel quartet."
Sets will include traditional melodies such as "Amazing Grace," "Take My Hand," "Precious Lord," and "In the Garden."
The audience can also look forward to hand-clapping, foot-stomping "Joshua Fit the Battle," along with some songs that are not necessarily traditional "but carry the same message," Shaw said. One such melody is "In the Ghetto," which "speaks to helping your fellow man."
Shaw will sing songs Elvis recorded, and the Presidio Boys will add some classic quartet numbers of their own.