Elvis show to benefit local food pantry

Area residents recently got a preview of an Elvis show coming to town this weekend at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center.
Todd Berry, who is performing as Elvis, spent last week visiting six Auglaize County businesses, to sing for customers and residents as a promotion of his upcoming show Saturday. Some fans followed him through more than half of his stops as he performed at locations that included God’s Storehouse, the Wapakoneta Wine and Cheese Cottage, and Marley’s Downtown in Wapakoneta, and the New Bremen Coffee and Books Store, La Piazza and Elmwood Assisted Living Center in New Bremen.
Spotlight Records plans to give patrons to the show at the Wapakoneta Performance Arts Center a $3 discount if they bring food for God’s Storehouse so Berry and his management wanted to make sure the community was well aware of what they were trying to do.
“We have done this for several shows and we like to give back to the community where we are performing,” Spotlight Records President Jim Bruce said. “We wanted to come here to promote the show and make sure everyone knew how important the food pantries are to the communities.”
Berry sang from the front steps of the pantry as patrons and volunteers gathered around him in chairs set up outside.
“I am thrilled to be doing this at the Performing Arts Center, being able to reach out and touch so many people by taking food donations,” Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center Events Coordinator Pam Egbert said.
“It felt so good to see everyone sitting on the grass and in the chairs, watching them smile and know what a big deal this is for God’s Storehouse.”
God’s Storehouse Chair Carol Berg said there was such excitement to have Berry, who is working to bring donations to the pantry, come out and perform for the people who would benefit.
“Everyone just loved to see Todd singing the Elvis songs at the St. Joe Faith Center,” Berg said. “We have had so many people talking to us about seeing Todd here this week.
“It is great to be doing this with Todd,” she said. “He is such a God-fearing person and we are so thrilled to be working with him on this show. We know he will have a good show that night.”
Cridersville’s Jarid Kohlrieser, who won 2010’s T102 Country Star Playoffs and will open for Berry at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center, joined him in performances at the Wine and Cheese Cottage and Marley’s, with people attending from throughout the tri-county area.
“It is such a good feeling to be able to do a show like this,” Kohlrieser said. “We all know the food pantries are stressed with all the people out of work and to bring in more food to help is an awesome thing.”
Kohlrieser, who has been represented by Access Talent during the past year, said he also is excited about opening for “Elvis” and being able to add a little country to the Elvis show, as well as having an opportunity to give back to his community as a Wapakoneta High School graduate.
Both artists agreed that the day had been a lot of fun.
“I think the neatest show was the show for the residents of Elmwood Assisted Living,” Egbert said. “It was so moving to watch the residents singing with Todd and smiling as they remembered the days of Elvis.
“I was standing at the back of the crowd and a gentleman came up to me and said he wanted to thank me for doing this for the senior center,” she said. “He had been able to see Elvis many years ago and this meant so much to him to remember those days. He had tears in his eyes as he gave me a hug and said thank you again.”
Berry had expressed the desire to come perform a few places before Saturday’s concert to help promote interest.
Wapakoneta High School students also are assisting with the food drive including Kelly Maurer’s classes who collected food at the school on behalf of God’s Storehouse.
“We are so happy to hear the students are involved in this food drive, too,” Bruce said. “Every bit of food we can donate to the food pantry is a God send.”
Saturday’s show features Berry remembering Elvis through song from the beginning of his career to the end of his performing days and has several costume changes, including the jumpsuit many remember from Elvis’s performances in Las Vegas.