Performing at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

There’s still music being made at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Graceland welcomes student groups from across the globe to tour and even perform at the king’s castle. Some explore Graceland, while others take the tour and perform for guests at the Graceland Plaza. At Graceland, the possibilities are endless. In 2014, student groups from 33 states visited Elvis’ home. Graceland also hosted student groups from Canada, Denmark and Britain. In addition to touring Graceland, students can further explore Elvis’ life in the new Archives Studio, the Automobile Museum and other exhibits. Graceland just opened two new exhibits, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45 and “I Shot Elvis.” The “I Shot Elvis” exhibit even has a perfect place for an #ElvisSelfie, which has been a hit with students. They also love the new iPad tour at Graceland. Graceland offers many educational tools, too. There are activity books, Elvis trivia and scavenger hunts for students to participate in while they learn about the king. Students of all ages are welcome, from grade school through college. Choirs, orchestras and bands are welcome to play in the Graceland Plaza or other outdoor venues for our guests. It’s not a requirement that bands or choirs perform Elvis tunes, but some will often work in an Elvis tune or an Elvis medley. Not many folks can say they’ve performed at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, so this is definitely a special opportunity. Groups that have either toured or performed and toured Graceland in the past year include the Royal Hospital School Band from London, England; Pleasant Grove High School from Texas; Keystone Elementary in Tennessee; New Albany Middle School from Mississippi; Brookline High School from Massachusetts; the Monticello High School Choir from Iowa; Orange County School of Arts from California; and Springs Christian Academy from Manitoba, Canada. Later this spring, Graceland will welcome the Africa University Choir from Zimbabwe, as well as many other groups from across the world. Bring your students to Elvis Presley’s Graceland! Visit Graceland.com for more information on educational tools, student tours, performance opportunities and student dining. And remember, teachers tour for...
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How Great Thou Art: Elvis Presley’s Gospel

There are not many rock ‘n’ roll stars who also created incredible gospel music, but then again, there is only one Elvis Presley. Elvis shook the world with his infectious brand of rock ‘n’ roll, but he also took the world to church with his beautiful, soulful gospel music. Elvis loved traditional sacred music as much as he loved soul, country and rock – maybe even more so. For Elvis, gospel music was the beginning. The first songs he ever sang were gospel songs at church in Tupelo, Mississippi, and he never stopped singing those hymns. He recorded gospel albums, sprinkled a few of his favorite hymns into his rock ‘n’ roll concerts and loved to sing old-time spirituals with his friends. His vast personal record collection included hundreds of vinyl gospel albums by the likes of the Blackwood Brothers, The Stamps Quartet, Mahalia Jackson and The Statesmen Quartet. Elvis’ take on the classic spiritual “How Great Thou Art” – whether recorded in the studio or performed on a stage in front of thousands – was always special and sacred. It was one of his favorites, and his performances are always reverent and powerful. Elvis’ daughter, Lisa, loved to hear her father sing it. The first record of Elvis gospel music, entitled “His Hand in Mine,” was released in 1960. Elvis recorded his second gospel album, also titled “How Great Thou Art,” over four days in 1966. The Jordanaires backed him on the album, but due to a scheduling conflict, the group had to miss part of the recording sessions. The Imperials filled in for them, so Elvis had the pleasure of recording with two of his favorite gospel quartets on the same album. “How Great Thou Art” was produced by Felton Jarvis. Elvis kept Felton on as his producer for the rest of his life. Ever generous, Elvis helped pay for a kidney transplant Felton needed in 1972. “How Great Thou Art” won Elvis the first of his three Grammy wins. His third and final gospel album, “He Touched Me,” also won a Grammy Award. Elvis’ third Grammy Award was also for his gospel music. His live performance of “How Great Thou Art,” included on his “Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis,” won a Grammy Award in 1975. While Elvis was invited to the Grammy Awards each year, he actually never attended. He earned 14 Grammy nominations, and each of his three...
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Did You Know…? Elvis Presley’s Movies

Elvis was a natural performer who ruled on both the stage and the silver screen. Fans love his movies as much as they do his music. In fact, many Elvis Presley movie songs went on to become wildly popular in their own right. This month, we’re asking fans to vote for their favorite Elvis movies in our March Madness-style bracket, Elvis Movie Madness, to determine the fan favorite. We’re in round three – Elite 8 – right now, with a few more rounds of voting to come before the winner is crowned. Which one do you think will win? “Blue Hawaii,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “King Creole”? Or is your bet on a dark horse? Here are some fun Elvis Presley movie facts about each of the 16 films that made it to the Sweet 16 in Elvis Movie Madness – and don’t forget to vote for your favorite!   LOVE ME TENDER “Love Me Tender” was released Nov. 21, 1956, and it was the first Elvis Presley movie to be broadcast on television, on Dec. 11, 1963. The original title was “The Reno Brothers.” When advanced sales for the single “Love Me Tender” passed the million mark, the film’s name was changed. Actor Neville Brand, whose character kills Elvis’ character, was a highly-decorated GI in World War II.  LOVING YOU This is Elvis’ first color motion picture, and the working titles were “Running Wild” and “Lonesome Cowboy.” Elvis’ parents visited him in Hollywood while he was filming, and they were included as extras in a scene seated in the audience in the fourth row. Elvis’ bandmates, DJ Fonanta, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, are also in the film. Elvis dyed his hair black for this film, believing black would show up better on screen instead of naturally brown hair. Elvis continued to dye his hair like this for the rest of his life, stopping only while he was in the Army. JAILHOUSE ROCK For this film, Elvis was assigned Clark Gable’s former dressing room. When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to get to his new home, Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way. He spent his first night in Graceland on June 26, 1957. KING CREOLE Working titles for this film were “Danny” and “Sing, You Sinners.” Elvis stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans...
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New Exhibits at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

To get to know the real Elvis Presley – the man and the legendary entertainer – you have to explore Elvis Presley’s Graceland. In addition to touring the home, fans can discover so much more about Elvis through the many exhibits on site – including two brand new ones that just opened this month. “I Shot Elvis” is a photography exhibit that focuses on the iconic photos of Elvis and the photographers and fans who took them. The exhibit includes artifacts, such as clothing and jewelry, that Elvis wore in the photos. Another new exhibit is “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45. It features artifacts and information on this fan-favorite documentary. Let’s explore these exhibits a little more. “I Shot Elvis” celebrates photographers such as Al Wertheimer, Bob Williams and William Speer, who all captured stunning shots of Elvis. Of course, fans snapped pictures of Elvis any chance they could, and some of those photos are included in the exhibit, too. The exhibit starts with pictures of a young performer and takes guests through his entire career. Elvis’ powerful performances in Las Vegas are highlighted, as are some jumpsuits. A few photos of Elvis at home in Graceland are also included, as are pieces of his personal wardrobe. Elvis was always perfectly dressed. Other pieces in the “I Shot Elvis” exhibit include shoes, belts, hats and scarves. There’s even a “Take a Selfie” with Elvis section of the exhibit at the beginning. Tag your photo #ElvisSelfie, and it could be featured on Graceland.com! Our other new exhibit, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45, celebrates the documentary’s anniversary. The summer of 1970 was such an exciting one for Elvis as he prepared for his Las Vegas performances at the International Hotel (now the Westgate Las Vegas Resorts & Casino). “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” captures Elvis as he prepares for and entertains thousands of fans. It’s a fascinating and unique view into how Elvis worked. “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” was Elvis’ first documentary since the start of his career in 1956. The exhibit features numerous artifacts seen in the film, and from that period of Elvis’ career, including stage costumes, guitars, jumpsuits, contracts, memorabilia and more. Both exhibits will be on display through early 2016. Want to see these two exhibits, as well as Elvis Presley’s Graceland? That’s easy: book your tickets today. We also have hotel packages that include...
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Scouts Rock at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Hundreds of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will descend on Elvis Presley’s Graceland next weekend for a day of fun, learning and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll. Scouts Rock at Graceland is a day for Scouts to discover Elvis, play games, get crafty and learn about music, animals, safety and much more. Scouts from more than 10 states gather at the King’s castle one day each spring, and the next Scouts Rock at Graceland is March 21. Scouts Rock at Graceland includes, of course, a tour of Graceland. Scouts can explore Elvis’ home, as well as the Racquetball Building, Vernon’s business office and the Archives Studio. They can also explore Elvis’ cars in the car museum, as well as three Elvis exhibits. This year they’ll explore a brand-new exhibit, “I Shot Elvis.” It focuses – no pun intended – on famous photos of Elvis and the photographers who took them. There’s even a place to take a selfie with Elvis. This year also marks the first time the Scouts can tour the mansion using iPads. Graceland’s iPad tours launched last fall, and fans love using the iPad to see extra photos and videos as they’re guided through the mansion. Scouts can also take a peek inside the studio at SiriusXM Elvis Radio, located across the street from Graceland. Scouts Rock at Graceland is a busy day. In addition to touring Elvis’ home, they also learn and play games. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office teaches the kids about safety and, and officers can even fingerprint them. Tennessee State Parks officials bring live animals and teach the Scouts about wildlife. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency brings animal pelts, and the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium will be there, too. Memphis’ Playhouse on the Square will be there this year, as will Shelby Farms Park, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Grizzlies,  and the Memphis Archaeological & Geological Society. Putt Putt Golf & Games sets up a putt-putt golf game for the kids to play, and there will be, of course, Elvis-themed karaoke. There’s even a service project included in the day. An arts and crafts station is set up in the car museum. There they’ll create thank-you cards to send to U.S. Troops, via the American Red Cross. This year, they’ll make picture frames out of popsicle sticks, too. Graceland also asks that Scouts bring a non-perishable food item, which will be donated to the...
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