TUPELO - Although he may be remembered as the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," Tupelo native Elvis Presley was passionate about southern gospel music, and organizers make sure that love is a part of the yearly festival.
The Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival concluded Sunday with a gospel concert in memory of its native son and his love for sacred music.
A large crowd filled the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary on Sunday afternoon to enjoy the sounds of The Foyer Boyz, The Landmarks and the Stamps Quartet.
The event was sponsored by Renasant Bank of Tupelo.
After a set by Tupelo's Foyer Boyz and The Landmarks of New Albany, the Stamps Quartet entertained the crowd. Originally formed in 1924, the Stamps Quartet was the last gospel band to record with Presley before his death. The quartet, led by J.D. Sumner, recorded and toured with Presley from 1971 until 1977. Ed Enoch is the only member of the group left with ties to Presley.
"We didn't come here to make Elvis a martyr, we are here because Elvis loved the Lord," Enoch said. "I miss Elvis. It seems like many of my friends are gone nowadays, but I'm going to keep on singing until the Lord calls me home."
The group sang many of Presley's personal favourites, Enoch said, as well as gospel songs like "He Touched Me," which Presley recorded.
"We were at Graceland one night and it was very cold and we went and started singing and we must have sang 'He Touched Me' about 20 times," Enoch said.
"We started singing with Elvis in 1971, and we are honoured to have been a part of this celebration in Tupelo. It was a great thing for us to have done," Enoch said.
According to festival Director Debbie Brangenberg, Sunday's concert was a special event for Presely�s fans.
"This was a great event and a wonderful way to close out the weekend," Brangenberg said. "The close friendship between Elvis and Ed Enoch, who was one of Elvis' favorite singers, played a major roll in the concert. Ed shared stories and anecdotes about Elvis and it was a truly special occasion for Elvis fans."
Brangenberg stated the gospel concert would continue to be part of the festival in 2009.
Posted: 12th. June 2008