Lougheed brings Elvis act to Dover’s Green

Bob Lougheed, of Millsboro, has been doing a popular Elvis Presley tribute show since 2010. He takes his act to Dover’s free Concert on the Green Series Thursday night at 7. (Submitted photo)

Bob Lougheed, of Millsboro, has been doing a popular Elvis Presley tribute show since 2010. He takes his act to Dover’s free Concert on the Green Series Thursday night at 7. (Submitted photo)

Mom would be proud.

In 1977, Bob Lougheed won a talent show while attending Claymont High School.

His talent was impersonating Elvis Presley. His mother rented him a suit and she got the band that backed up the more-experienced Little El at the old Tally Ho restaurant and nightclub in Wilmington to come to the school to back him up.

“She asked them ‘How much to back up my son?’ They said 200 dollars. She gave them five songs I was going to sing and they showed up,” Mr. Lougheed remembered.

“We won 25 bucks, which paid for the suit. For the next two or three weeks, I was a big deal at the school. It was pretty cool and my mother was so proud.”

Thirty years later on his now-late mother’s birthday, Mr. Lougheed was operated on for pancreatic cancer. Doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia gave him a 1 percent chance of recovery.

Despite the odds, he overcame the battle and has been making every day count since — back in the Elvis jumpsuit.

Since 2010, Mr. Lougheed, a 54-year-old resident of Millsboro, has been doing Elvis shows not only in this area but in venues throughout Florida; Branson, Missouri; Chicago; and Jamaica, just to name a few.

He’ll close out Dover’s free Concerts on The Green summer series Thursday night at 7.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyWith the high school performance a distant memory and just occasional moments of singing an Elvis song at a wedding or other family gatherings, Mr. Lougheed had moved down to Sussex County to take life a little easier and work at a car dealership.

He got up and sang an Elvis song at J.D. Shuckers in Long Neck one night in 2010.

A woman who worked at Renaissance Assisted Living in Millsboro happened to be in the restaurant and asked if he would consider singing for a huge Elvis fan on the resident’s 90th birthday. Her birthday happened to coincide with Mr. Presley’s — Jan. 8.

“She asked me how much I charged. I said ‘I don’t do this professionally.’ She said ‘What suit are you going to wear?’

I said I didn’t have a suit. I’m just a guy in a bar,” Mr. Lougheed said.

“I said ‘Don’t pay me. Just buy me a suit.’ So they got one for me for 160 dollars.”

He put together a half-hour show for the woman and Mr. Lougheed said she lit up.

“She never stopped crying and tapping her toes. She smiled for the entire show. This was a woman who didn’t have long to live. In fact, she died two weeks later. And it really did something to me,” he said.

“My brother Earl said ‘Did you see her face?’ And I thought this would be pretty cool to do. The next day my brother bought some professional equipment and that’s how it all started.”

There were officials from other assisted living facilities at that first show who wanted to hire him for their residents.

Three months later, he quit the car dealership and his new career was born.

“I still have that first suit and I’ll take it out and look at it occasionally. It’s not about the suit itself. It’s what it represents.”

What it represents is fulfillment for Mr. Lougheed beyond his wildest dreams.

“I’d say it’s a dream come true. But it’s a dream I never really had,” he said.

Always a huge fan, Mr. Lougheed remembers watching Elvis movies when he was as young as 3 years old. His sister Bev turned him on to the music and he attended Mr. Presley’s last Philadelphia show at the old Spectrum in 1977.

“Elvis has just always made me feel good and I think that shows in what I do. There was only one Elvis and I just want people to enjoy his music whether they are big fans or not,” he said.

While he can be found at bigger area venues such as Dover Downs and Paradise Grill in Long Neck, he says 60 percent of his shows are done raising money for cancer charities and performing at assisted living facilities.

“I’m so blessed and lucky to be able to do those kind of things and give back to the people that helped me through my cancer battle,” he said.

“With the assisted living places, staff members will come up and tell me, ‘You have no idea what you do for these people. It starts three days before they know you are coming. The women get their hair done and all you hear about is Elvis is coming.’ God forbid I don’t show up.

“I could sing the same song over and over each time I go there and I think it would be OK with them. It’s just about giving them a special memory that puts a smile on their face.”

For some of the bigger shows, Mr. Lougheed has his nine-piece Memphis Mafia backing him up. For Thursday’s Concert on The Green, he will do a solo program, which touches on all facets of The King’s career.

He’s also putting together an unplugged show, which focuses on the love songs and movie tunes.

“Beyond the bigger hits, Elvis had this whole catalog of lesser-known songs that are just really good and fun to sing,” Mr. Lougheed said.

Despite the gold suits and larger than life histrionics, Mr. Lougheed said he doesn’t take himself or what he does too seriously.

“I know I may not look the most like Elvis or sound the most like Elvis and I’m certainly not trying to be Elvis. We try to keep it fun and keep it light. But at the same time, we don’t do the typical fat jokes or make fun of him. He was just a man with issues like the rest of us. He was very generous. His foundation still gives money away today, much of it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital,” he said.

And after five years of doing Elvis full-time, he still thinks about his mother.

“She’s up there in Heaven, bugging the heck out of God, saying ‘Look, he’s up on stage.’ And God is saying, ‘I don’t need to watch him. I’ve got the real one right here.’”

‘Eyecons’ Saturday

As we told you last week, an impersonator of a different sort, Christopher Peterson, will cart his cavalcade of female characters to the Schwartz Center for the Arts for a benefit show to help the Dover theater Saturday night at 8.

Tickets are still available for his show “Eyecons,” which has Mr. Peterson, one of North America’s foremost female impersonators, doing live, no lip-sync versions of stars such as Marilyn Monroe Carol Channing, Madonna, Joan Rivers, Tina Turner and Barbra Streisand.

Tickets for the show, presented by We Love the Arts, a group of friends working to help the arts flourish in Central Delaware, are $100 for orchestra seating and $50 for mezzanine and balcony.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and include premium seating, tickets to future events, an invitation to the encore reception following the show and an opportunity to meet Mr. Peterson.

For tickets and sponsorship information, visit www.schwartzcenter.com, call (302) 678-5152 or email TheArts@schwartzcenter.com.

The Schwartz Center is at 226 S. State St., Dover.

Parade is popping

Don’t look now but this year’s Milford Community Parade is fast approaching.

Set for Oct. 21, this year’s theme is “Back 2 the Future.”

This year’s committee is looking for groups and businesses as well as individuals to enter the parade at a chance of winning a trophy.

More than 10 bands are scheduled to appear along with several fire companies. To enter the parade, anyone may go to www.milfordparade.com to download the form or to select the link to register online.

The parade began in the late 1930s and has been going strong ever since.

“This year’s parade will be very special. We have some exciting things in store for those that watch along the route.

‘Back 2 The Future’ celebrates the 1980s and all the fashion, and movies that have become must views for any family night,” said Charles Gray, parade chairman.

Mr. Gray said that the movie trilogy of “Back To The Future” was the inspiration for the theme as it’s celebrating 30 years in 2015.

“Anyone that has watched the movie will remember also that the time clock in the time traveling car was set 30 years ahead and ironically to Oct. 21, 2015,” Mr. Gray said.

Businesses and individuals help sponsor the parade annually. Any size sponsorship is considered and for those that would like to join the $100 campaign, the business or individual will receive a yard sign to display on the lawn or in a window.

“We raise funds to support the logistics of the parade, such as band transportation, portable restrooms, trophies and more. With today’s budgets, if we did not support the schools with assistance for band transportation costs, we would not have the turnout we do annually.,” Mr. Gray said.

“And sponsors also help with special appearances like the Philadelphia String Band appearing this year. The Woodland String Band will march in the parade because we have sponsors. They charge a fee so they can raise money for their costumes and participate in the New Year’s Day Parade in Philadelphia.”

Visit www.milfordparade.com for the 1.7-mile parade route information, detour information, sponsorship information and more. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and arrives downtown by 6:45.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the faith-based drama “War Room,” Owen Wilson in the thriller “No Escape” and Zac Efron in the drama “We Are Your Friends.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Mad Max: Fury Road” and the Jack Black comedy “The D Train.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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