Penticton Herald

Young Elvis still singing


Jaedyn Pilon, the youngest competitor in the 15-year history of the Penticton Elvis Festival, has qualified for today’s final.

The 14-year-old from Edmonton is one of the seven finalists (from a field of 15) in the non-profession­al category. The championsh­ip round goes today at 2 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Pilon, who studies at a performing arts school, grew up in a family that listened to 1960s rock. He originally wanted to form his own Beatles cover band.

“It was hard to find three others with the same commitment and abilities for a Beatles’ band,” he said. “My father had suggested to try Elvis instead because you need only one to be Elvis — and that’s me.”

This year was his first at the Penticton event. In addition to Elvis the multi-instrument­alist also performs on the side as Buddy Holly, Frankie Valli, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Beatles.

On Friday he performed early hits — Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Long Tall Sally and switch tones for Saturday’s competitio­n singing Bossanova Baby and A Little Less Conversati­on.

He’s a fan favourite with the crowds at Okanagan Lake Park, but he also caught the attention of judges.

He was one of two teens in the competitio­n this year; the other being Tyler Cody from Vancouver, making his second appearance at Penticton’s festival.

Other finalists in the non-profession­al category are: Vic DeSousa (Edmonton), Darrell Douglas (Princeton), Stacey Cerniuk (Surrey), Sylvio Fontaine (Whitewood, SK), Dave Greene (Moosehorn, Man.), and Ronnie Peachey (Comox Valley).

The two local competitor­s — Ralph ‘Relvis’ Ramsay and Christophe­r Blaine (last year’s non-profession­al runner-up) — did not qualify for today’s finals.

In the profession­al category, the seven finalists who will compete today are: Roger Anderson (Bonney Lake, WA.), Scott Coon (Monroe, WA.), Tim E. Hendry (London, Ont.), Matt King (London, UK), Kevin Mills (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Steven Sogura (Ravensdale, WA.) and Eli Williams (Vancouver).

The profession­al champion advances to Ultimate Elvis, a tournament of champions, later this summer in Memphis, Tenn.

Today’s events also include the Lions Club pancake breakfast from 7-9 a.m. followed by the popular Elvis gospel music service from 9-11 a.m., hosted by Dennis Walker and Jeff Bodner. Both events are at Okanagan Lake Park.

The gospel show will include an appearance by two of the members of The Sweet Inspiratio­ns, Presley’s back-up singers in the 1970s.

Tickets for the finals range in price from $28.60 to $52.80 (plus applicable service charges) and are available online at ValleyFirs­ or by phone at 1-877-763-2849,

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