Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 18, 1999
'All shook up' - It's Elvis!
By Andrea Vargo
Very few people can say that Elvis put them through college. Terry Warwas of Howard Lake performed as an Elvis impersonator and did just that for himself and Stephanie, his wife.
Terry has been Elvis for about five years now, and doesn't see an end to it for some time.
People still have a fascination and a love for Elvis's music, he said.
He talked about his own excitement discovering songs Elvis recorded that he had never heard before.
It makes it all new, he said.
Elvis recorded a great number of songs, and Terry has learned how to sing about 70 of them for his performances.
"The first time I performed, it almost made me sick," said Terry.
That first time as Elvis was in a talent contest in one of the mining towns in the Grand Rapids area.
"His mom signed him up," said Stephanie.
Fortunately, no one else signed up for the contest. The establishment called Terry and wanted him to do a full show.
"Terry had to learn about 30 songs in three weeks. All of the Elvis songs are short," said Stephanie.
So he had to learn a lot of them to fill enough time for a whole show.
"Our equipment was terrible back then, but we put up a sign that said, "Rent-N-Elvis," and we got 25 bookings right away," she said.
Terry has improved tremendously, Stephanie said. He has learned the moves and the body language, as well as the velvet voice.
"Whenever I do shows, people accuse me of lip-syncing," said Terry.
Stephanie said Terry plays off the crowd. The bigger and more enthusiastic the crowd is, the better he dances and the louder he gets.
He has done close to 700 shows, now.
The first costume Terry had was simple, but the most recent is encrusted with colored stones and gold studs.
Each of those stones and studs was placed by Stephanie. The cost of the costume went over $700.
Terry started singing early in grade school and later joined the school choir.
He attributes his success to a music teacher at Nashwauk High School. The teacher encouraged him and helped him all through high school.
"I know schools tend to cut music (when there is a fiscal crunch), and I wish they would think about that," he said.
Terry said he feels very strongly that music is a valuable part of a students education.
His first local show will be in Mayer Nov. 27 at Bootleggers Bar. He will do about four hours of Elvis, karaoke, and his DJ show.
Terry also performs at birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, banquets, etc.
"I think maybe as long as people are still loving Elvis, I'll do it. If I have to hang him up, I'll keep on singing," said Terry.
If you would like to know more about his show, call either Terry or Stephanie at 320-542-2426.
Should the time come that Terry has to stop doing Elvis, there's always Willie Nelson. Close your eyes, listen, and you are "On the Road Again."
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