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 Marine City native sings and brings The King to life

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charmainejensenvoisine

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Number of posts : 390
Age : 57
Location : Ajax, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2008-05-23

PostSubject: Marine City native sings and brings The King to life   Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:57 am



July 9, 2008

By Kimberly Scherer
Voice Staff Writer


What started out as an affinity for Elvis' music and singing Elvis songs at karaoke night, has turned into a side career for resident Darrin Hagel.
Hagel, who has been a professional Elvis impersonator for 10 years, said he got into the business at the encouragement of those who enjoyed listening to him sing The King's classics. Hagel also ran the sound for an Elvis impersonator and sang Elvis hits while the impersonator was between sets. From there, he launched his own business, My Tribute to Elvis.

Most recently, the Chesterfield Township resident brought his act home, when he performed Tuesday as part of the Music by the Bay concert series in Brandenburg Park.

"This (was) my first year, and my band, The Burning Love, (played) with me," he said.

While the Elvis gig is a relatively new thing for Hagel, performing isn't. The Marine City native has been performing his entire life, and also spent some time in Los Angeles pursuing an acting career.

"I'm a performer by nature," he said.

Hagel said his love for Elvis' music goes back "as long as I can remember."

It's the arrangement of the music and the keys in which Elvis sang in that attracted him to the performer. His favorite song? "Suspicious Minds."

The authentic sideburns and Elvisesque hair that help him bring home the image of Elvis to his audience, has been a deal breaker for other work.

Hagel still does professional acting work in the Detroit area, appearing in industrial films and commercials. When asked if he is willing to shave off the sideburns for a role, Hagel said he has to say "no" if there's not enough time for them to grow back before his next Elvis gig.

The jumpsuits he performs in are also authentic to what Elvis wore on stage. Hagel said he has plain jumpsuits specially made and then adds the detailing, which is taken right from the designs Elvis wore.

"I've studied many pictures," he said of designs on the jumpsuits. "I think they turn out pretty good."

During the break between sets, which usually consist of about 15 to 17 songs each, Hagel said he changes into another one of his authentic-looking jumpsuits.

Depending on the venue and the availability of the band, Hagel said he puts on two different types of performances. A prerecorded track show, and shows with his live band, The Burning Love. The four-member band has been playing with Hagel for four years.

Prior to forming the band he said the musicians were his friends, and after some cajoling, was able to convince them to play as The Burning Love.

Hagel doesn't go it alone when he performs. In fact, it's a family affair.

His 18-year-old son, Kyle, works the spotlights while his daughter, Kayla, 15, helps out with scarves and water. Wife Patty controls the sound.

He said the mix can be switched up if someone can't make it; everyone knows how to operate each other's job. Of his two children, Hagel said he could see his daughter following in his footsteps as a performer.

"Right now, they enjoy being behind the scenes," he said.

In addition to the festivals, parties and weddings, Hagel also makes the trek to Collingwood, Ontario, for the Elvis Festival. Hagel said it's the largest Elvis festival in North America. He said he's also been to Graceland several times.

While he loves performing at Collingwood, he said he can't choose a favorite out of all the venues he performs for.

"I love the war memorial, and the senior center at Port Huron," he said adding that he likes them all for different reasons.

Hagel recently performed in the Marysville Concert in the Park series. Ann Shaw, parks and rec coordinator for Marysville, said the show was excellent.

"We've already had calls about him," she said of the performance.

Because of inclement weather, Shaw said the concert instead took place in the Marysville High School Auditorium.

"They filled the place up," she said of the audience, adding there were very few seats left open. Shaw said she hopes to book Hagel and The Burning Love again next year.

If you missed his Tuesday night performance, there's still time to catch his act this summer. Hagel will perform next week in St. Clair as part of the city's sesquicentennial celebration.

For more details about Hagel's career, check out his Web site at www.mytributetoelvis.com.

Contact Kimberly Scherer at (586) 716-8100, ext. 251 or kimberly.scherer@voicenews.com.

Source: http://www.voicenews.com/stories/070908/loc_20080709003.shtml
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