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HAC will roll clock back in rock history





Both a fundraising event and an evening with "the King," the Hays Arts Council's 45th anniversary celebration Friday will take participants back to 1968 and the days of Elvis' Comeback Concert.

"We're starting the evening with the '67-68 Elvis and the whole big comeback concert that kick-started Elvis' career and brought him back," said Brenda Meder, Hays Arts Council executive director. "And '68 was the first year of operation for the Hays Arts Council.

"That was also the springboard for the arts in our community in a lot of ways."

The annual meeting of the Hays Arts Council will start at 6:15 p.m. at Fox Pavilion, 1202 Main, followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. The concert is open to the public, with general public seating beginning at 7:10 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.

Local award-winning Elvis tribute artist Frank Werth will perform hits from the concert that re-ignited Elvis' career, followed by a full performance of Elvis' most famous "Aloha from Hawaii" concert.

Werth has performed as an Elvis tribute artist in Memphis (Graceland and the Hard Rock Cafe), Kansas City (Uptown Theatre and Harrrah's Casino), Branson, Mo., and Mesquite, Nev. Together with his backup singers, "The Velvets," featuring his mother, Geralyn Werth, and aunt, Valerie Gabel, he has provided entertainment for many local benefit events.

With more than 600 Elvis hits in his repertoire, Werth is "very adept at what he does and very studied," Meder said.

"He's delved a lot into Elvis' private life and really become familiar with all the good and charitable things that Elvis really did do," she said. "It's really awesome to see the integrity that he brings to what he's doing.

"It's going to be a really cool event."

Performing in tribute to Elvis is a passion not only for Werth, but for his entire family. Ernie Werth, his father, does staging and lighting for the show. His mother, Geralyn Werth, is his manager, makeup artist, hair stylist and back-up singer. Rehearsing approximately three times a week, Werth and "The Velvets" are dedicated to quality performances.

"During the week of a show, we hit it hard," Geralyn Werth said. "We probably put in a good 15 to 20 hours.

"It's a lot of dedication."

In his fourth year as an Elvis tribute artist, Frank Werth takes his role seriously.

"Keeping the memory alive is most important to him, and that's exactly how he represents himself," Geralyn Werth said. "He definitely lets people know that he's Frank Werth with a beautiful family, a wife and three daughters.

"But God blessed him with a talent, and we've been able to help our community in so many ways."