In 1977 while on retreat in Hawaii, USA, Elvis Presley dreamed of rebranding his image and revitalising his concert routine. He would scale back the lush orchestras, the chorus of singers, the Vegas glitz and glamour and refocus on the music that truly moved him – GOSPEL.
On the 40th Anniversary of a dream that just might have changed music history, Andy Stankovich performs the Grammy Award-winning Gospel Music of Elvis Presley, backed by a Full Gospel Choir, Male Quartet (The Shades) and an Inspirational 6-Piece Band (Memphis Show Band).
For one night only, the music that defined and shaped an icon will take centre stage. Timeless classics from ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘In The Ghetto’ to ‘ Where Could I Go But To The Lord’ will fill the stunning surrounds of Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Elvis came to respect the immense power he had to touch and change the lives of others and he felt there was no better medium than inspirational gospel music.
“All I ever wanted was to help people, lift them up, spread some joy”
Come and witness history in the making, as a dream becomes reality.
Elvis has always been a big part of Andy’s life. From as early as the age of seven he clearly remembers singing Elvis classics at family gatherings. Having performed throughout Australia, New Zealand, America and the Pacific, Andy’s ambition has always been to keep the music of Elvis alive and this is evident in the sincere performances he gives.
In 2012 Andy performed in Nashville with The Jordanaires (Elvis’ original backing group). Ray Walker of The Jordanaires was so impressed by Andy’s voice he stated to the audience during the show that “Andy is one of the finest singers we have ever worked with in our lives. “He has the spirit of Elvis about him, Elvis would be proud”. His vocal ability, range, inflections and phrasing capture the true essence of the King’s voice.
In 2015 Andy featured in the short film ‘The King’ directed by Ursula Williams. The film was selected by director and filmmaker Lee Tamahori as a finalist in the International Film Festival. The film premiered at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia before going on to win the Peoples Choice Award for the best short film. The highlight of the film was Andy’s stunning acoustic performance of In The Ghetto backed by a full gospel choir.
THE SHADES QUARTET
The Shades are a quartet based in Auckland comprised of Taka Vuni, Manase Latu, Ipu Laga’aia and Samson Setu, all classical voice students at the University of Auckland. Individually they have been involved with the National Youth Choir or Secondary Schools Choir on international tours, winning major world prizes for choral singing and together they fuse a perfect blend of Tongan and Samoan voices, all peppered with a cheeky sense of humour and a passion for excellence in singing.
MANASE LATU – TENOR
Manase is in his third year of a Bachelor of Classical Voice and at 20 years old, is already the winner of many major awards and scholarships at the University of Auckland including the Graham Allen prize for Musical Theatre and the Iosefa Enari Memorial Award for Creative New Zealand, which recognises a promising Pasifika artist. He was also the most promising under – 21 year old in the New Zealand Aria Competition twice, whilst only a school-boy.
This year he was a semifinalist in the prestigious Lexus Song Quest. He recently toured Europe as a member of the New Zealand National Youth Choir, having found his passion for choral singing whilst at St Kentigern’s School in their award-winning choir Kentoris. He appears regularly as a soloist with choral societies around the country and later this year will sing the tenor solo with Auckland Choral Society in Handel’s Messiah at the Town Hall.
TAKA VUNI – BARITONE
21 years old, Taka is a founding member of Klapa Samoana, a singing group which toured to Croatia.
IPU LAGA’AIA – TENOR
20 years old, and has just returned from performing in Samoa.
SAMSON SETU – BASS
Samson is 22 years old, Samoan and a proud Dilworth old boy. He is the winner of numerous competitions, most recently the Ron Dellow Vocal Recital and a clean sweep of every class at the South Auckland Competitions, giving him automatic entry into the National Competition in October. He was invited to sing as part of the Lexus Song Quest masterclass recently and for the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. He was a finalist in the New Zealand Aria, taking out the prize from the New Zealand opera School. Samson balances his singing with a passion for rugby.
THE GOSPEL CHOIR
A handpicked group of outstanding singers under the direction of the highly respected choir director, Claire Caldwell
THE MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Originally from Sydney, Mark’s recorded and toured with John Farnham, Australian Crawl, James Morrison, Neil Finn, Barry White, Elaine Paige, Joan Rivers, Jimmy Barnes, Lou Rawls, Manhattan Transfer and Sting. Mark brings the show together musically, arranges the music to sound as close to the original Elvis recordings as possible and also provides flute and saxophone accompaniment.
MEMPHIS SHOW BAND
Chet O’Connell – Guitar
Neil Hannan – Bass
Johnny Scott – Drums
David Curtis & Stuart Pearce – Keys