2016 Senior Youth Division Champion Connor Russo does his encore song Sunday night at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena in Downtown Collingwood Ontario. Featuring co-host Roy Leblanc and the Casino Brother’s Band.
The Collingwood Elvis Festival is the largest of its kind in the world. It has a huge economic impact on the town of Collingwood Ontario as well as the province. It was also the very first and has spawned numerous tribute events worldwide. In fact, I’ve never missed an event since the first one in 1995 at the Vacation Inn with only 35 artists. I clearly remember how this event was frowned upon by so many including Elvis Presley Enterprises.
It is only because of the commitment of the Town of Collingwood, the organizers and volunteers, and the dedication of the Tribute Artists that this phenomenon has grown worldwide and so many can now enjoy the incredible culture, history and music of the greatest entertainer that the world has ever known. It just so happens that one of those talented ETAs (Elvis Tribute Artists) is 11 year old Connor Russo who won the Senior Youth Division in his first year in the division. Congratulations to fellow finalists Jaedyn Pilon and Aaron Gallant for their incredible performances throughout the weekend. I encourage more families and youth to attend these festivals and get exposed to the man and his music that changed pop culture and gave birth to so much of the music that came after.
Senior Youth Grand Champion
Enjoy the classic Shake Rattle and Roll performed on the main stage on Hurontario Street on the free Friday Street Party and don’t forget to bring your lawn chair next year and be prepared to have the time of your life.
Connor is returning to Collingwood for his 7th year and competing for the first time in the Senior Youth Division.Click here for a list of his appearances. Rumour has it that he will be performing a guitar set with his dad at the Storyteller Series at the new Simcoe Street Theatre!
Elvis Presley first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show on September 9th, 1956 and changed music history forever. 60 years later, an 11 year old Elvis Tribute Artist named Connor Russo receives the classic Sullivan intro. Enjoy this compilation of some of Elvis’ greatest songs and performances in this 6 minute tribute performance.
On Saturday April 16th, 2016 at the King Trilogy Festival in Napanee Ontario, Connor played guitar for the first time ever in a live appearance. Special thanks to Matt Cage and Brent Freeman for giving Connor the opportunity to headline the show. Great moment when dad messes up the chords in the second song after Connor gives him the shush to play more quietly during the solo!
On January 8th, what would have been the king’s 81st birthday, Connor headlined along with Matt Cage and John Cigan at an Elvis Birthday Celebration in Port Colbourne, Ontario. Connor kicked off the first half of the show with a great 50’s set. In the second half, Connor performed a fantastic 70’s set in which he performed ‘Big Hunk ‘O Love’ for the first time. He finished off with his signature ‘Suspicious Minds’, bringing the crowd to their feet.
Watch Connor perform ‘Big Hunk ‘O Love’ and a chunk of ‘Suspicious Minds’ in the videos below.
On November 7th of 2015, Connor attended Flaming Star Festival 2015 as a headliner. He performed a phenomenal 50’s set at the Saturday Night Showcase Of Talent alongside fellow ETA’s Tim E Hendry, James Gibb, Matt Cage, and John Cigan. Connor was backed up by the Rudy And The Angels Band.
Watch Connor perform Shake Rattle and Roll, as well as the beginning of Ready Teddy in the video below!
On Friday July 24th, 2015 Connor performed the legendary Elvis Presley classic Hound Dog on the main stage in down town Collingwood in front of thousands of the King’s fans. Once again Master of Ceremonies Memphis Jones did an incredible job sharing his vast knowledge of Elvis and Memphis music history. Enjoy this authentic rendition of Hound Dog from the 1956 Milton Berle Show. No denying who is the greatest entertainer in the history of music!
Connor returned to Lake George NY in May for the 2015 competition. Once again the entire weekend was well organized and fans, entertainers and family had an outstanding experience. From the musicians, the venue, the food and service, the organizers set the standard for how to run and host a professional event. Connor and his family truly enjoyed the warm reception from the fellow competitors and Elvis fans and thank everyone for their support and making our family feel right at home in beautiful Lake George NY. We plan to return the favour as we welcome all of our American friends to our local festival in Collingwood Ontario in July.
On November 16th, 2014 Connor competed at the first ever Flaming Star Competition in Toronto Ontario. It was a fantastic event that was well organized and intimate. The EAS Band did an outstanding job. As always, Connor had a blast spending the weekend with his friends and fellow Elvis Tribute Artists and is already looking forward to next year’s event.
Here is a photo of the 3 winners Tim Hendry, Anthone Carbone and Connor holding dad’s original Flaming Star album.