Keith Henderson and his band, The Illusions, perform their award-winning Elvis Presley tribute show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dunn Center at N.C. Wesleyan College.

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Keith Henderson and his band, The Illusions, perform their award-winning Elvis Presley tribute show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dunn Center at N.C. Wesleyan College.

Saturday show honors rock pioneer

From Staff Reports

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The King of Rock ’n’ Roll lives on in the hearts of millions of his fans and in the music of Keith Henderson.

Henderson, an Elvis Presley tribute artist, will bring that music this weekend to the Dunn Center at N.C. Wesleyan College. He and his band, The Illusions, will perform their award-winning “Illusions of the King” show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The show’s roots run back more than three decades to shortly after Presley’s death at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977.

“Henderson is a natural on stage, which is not surprising since he’s been doing variations of Elvis music since 1978, a year after Elvis death,” a release says. “Henderson with his band, The Illusions, ... will bring back memories to your heart of Elvis.”

The show offers more than Henderson and the band performing Presley’s music.

“He gives audiences a chance to relive any memories they have of Elvis,” the release says, “and (he) tells stories of Elvis he’s learned through performing with artists who performed with Elvis prior to his death, artists such as The Jordanaires and members of the Stamps Quartet.”

Family ties are part of the reason Henderson performs Presley’s music. Listening and singing along with his late grandmother’s Presley records, he caught the “Elvis bug” when he only was 3, says Henderson’s biography on performance promoter Hilton Concerts’ website. That led Henderson regularly to practice Presley’s singing style. Seeing the rocker’s movies at a drive-in theater, Henderson also began to perform Presley’s stage moves.

Those efforts have paid off. Henderson’s performance earned him the grand prize at the 2002 Tribute to the King competition in Biloxi, Miss. In 1998, 1999 and 2000, he also placed first in the Images of Elvis competition in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“What I try to do is give the illusion of Elvis still on stage and bring back bits and pieces of memories that people have already had or seen on television and regenerate those,” Henderson says in the website bio. “It’s a true tribute to Elvis.”

Again, family ties are woven into the performances. Henderson’s late grandmother sewed, and his mother studded, most of his outfits. His wife, Sarah, handles scheduling of concerts; their daughter, Lauren, sometimes performs on stage with him; and their son, Chad, sometimes helps produce the shows.

As were the times when Presley rose to fame, the show offers family friendly entertainment.

“One thing we take pride in is you can take your great-grandmother, your baby sister or your baby to our show,” Henderson said in the release.

General admission tickets for the show are $28.50. They are available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Friday at the Dunn Center box office, by phone at 985-5197 or at dunncenter.com.