Irv Cass heads to Graceland

Published 7:58 pm Saturday, August 11, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The first ever Elvis Tribute Artist Contest will take place Sunday in Memphis, Tenn. Graceland is expected to have its biggest turnout ever this weekend and next week, as the 30th anniversary of the King's death is Aug. 16.
One Elvis tributer will be doing what he does best when he takes the stage with 25 other finalists in the tribute contest.
Irv Cass, an Elvis tributer for the past 15 years, was chosen after he took first place in one of 25 preliminary contests that took place throughout the United States, Canada and overseas locations like Norway and England.
Cass' next step is performing at the CANNON performing arts center in Memphis, where the top 10 tribute artists will head to the finals on Aug. 17.
"I'm very excited. I will be competing with some of the best tributers in the world. These guys are fantastic. My goal is to place in the top five or six and luck has really been on my side lately," Cass said Friday afternoon.
In 1999, Cass won the Images of the King contest in Memphis and most recently he took first at the Collingwood Elvis Festival in Collingwood, Canada (the largest Elvis festival in the world) and he was one of the first three Elvis entertainers to perform at Graceland.
Above all this, Cass still performs right here in Niles, his hometown, at the Riverfest and Apple Festival.
Cass has also performed from coast to coast in the U.S. and overseas in such locations as the Bahamas, England and Jamaica.
"This is huge for us because in the past Graceland has shied away from what were once called impersonators," Cass said.
Of course, it has been a bit controversial as some people don't agree with tributers.
"Some people really enjoy what we do. They like to relive the days when Elvis was alive and they love his music. It makes it seem as if they are watching him perform again," Cass continued. "But then you have people who just despise what we do. They don't like the idea of somebody impersonating him."
Regardless, Cass is ready to get his famous jumpsuit on and bring back people to the days when The King ruled the airwaves.