ETA Is November 17th
RAVENA – In the Elvis circles, “ETA” does not mean “Estimated Time of Arrival.” It’s a privilege of the highest sort to be called an “ETA,” that is, Elvis Tribute Artist.
Canadian Sylvain Leduc’s ETA for the capital district is Friday, November 17 at 6:30 at the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School on Route 9W in Ravena in a special fundraiser for senior centers in the Ravena and Coxsackie and Rt. 9W corridor.
Sponsored by HEARt Ear Boutique of Glenmont, Ravena, and Coxsackie, tickets are available through eventbrite.com or at the door. Advanced-purchased tickets will be seated first.
Don’t ever say “impersonator” to Montreal’s Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) Sylvain Leduc.
“It’s a full-time job for me,” Leduc says.
The singer hasn’t immersed himself in some sort of strange idolatry. Like other ETA’s, it’s out a profound respect that they put in the hard work that it takes to keep their performances authentic.
“Knowledgeable fans will recognize the real Elvis mannerisms versus what I call the ‘Grasshoppers’ who are constantly hopping around while performing. Elvis wasn’t always like that. When young ETA’s ask me for advice, I tell them to listen to Elvis and be authentic to his music.”
The artist has traveled to Graceland, Tupelo, The Circle G Ranch, and other places where Elvis stayed. Leduc has also become acquainted with Linda Thompson who was Elvis’ girlfriend from 1972-1976.
“Being close to someone like that builds up your Elvis-love and helps me to be authentic which I believe is one of my strong points,” he says. “I come from a good and humble family and so this is not an act; it’s being myself paying tribute to him.”
The surge in the popularity of Elvis amongst the younger generation is not a surprise to Leduc.
“He spans the generations because young people see his charisma through all the attention he’s getting in social media,” he says. “If they do their research, they’ll see he came up from a poor background and maintained his humility throughout his years. They’ll notice his generosity. Who wouldn’t be attracted to a man like that?”
Elvis’ musical prowess, good looks and incredible voice, and blending of blues, country, and gospel propelled him to superstardom. The musical convergence has to be displayed and craftily worked into Leduc’s performances – each of which are customized to the audience.
“I like to mix it up while doing the ‘concert years’ with pop, gospel, spiritual, and when appropriate, holiday,” he says. “When onstage, you can feel what the audience is looking for and so you work to engage them in those expectations and emotions.”
Leduc is well aware that his concerts and shows stir up deep and intimate memories whether that’s in larger weekend venues or in smaller assisted living facilities.
“Their staff in these home-for-adults tell me in advance that the residents can only sit through 30-60 minutes and yet I do a full 90-minute set and they love it to the end and it’s rewarding to see their faces,” he says.
“After the big shows, folks tell me about their memories; about when they first met their spouse, or had their first dance or how it calls to mind a certain time or place in their life,” he says. “The joy that it brings to them and what I do and how it helps them forget what’s going on in the world or in their world is what brings me joy. It’s not a job for me.”