Northrop's Music on the Plaza concert series continues Wed, Jul 18, with Forever Elvis: Art Kistler and the EP Boulevard Show Band. We asked Art Kistler about his experiences entertaining us as Elvis:
Tell us about yourself and your band. What's your history and how did you decide on Elvis?
More than 22 years ago I started out singing in my church and members of the congregation kept telling me they thought I sounded like Elvis. A Valentine’s Day church social tongue-in-cheek performance was inordinately well received, then came karaoke and one thing led to another. I was going to quit the business about 5 years ago and our guitar player asked if I’d keep it up if I had a live band, and so here we are!
My wife, Jean, has been an integral and essential supporter and without her I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.
We understand you used to work at the University. What are your most memorable experiences?
I was the manager of Parking Maintenance for 23 years, through many a snow storm, the technical evolution, maintenance and many improvements in University parking lots, structures and streets. I moved into project management during the 2 1/2 years I was at the University. I’m proud of having helped a great team within PTS and partnering with Landcare and some awesome vendors to keep around 22,000 stalls accessible, safe and clean.
Discuss your transition into fulltime entertainment and how it has guided your work as an artist.
I thought retirement was going to be relaxing, but I’ve always been very task, goal and productivity-driven (and am a bit of a perfectionist), so my energies have largely been focused on improving and promoting the Elvis Tribute show with the EP Boulevard Show Band. For our theater and cruise ship productions, we incorporate multimedia, seeking to turn the concert into a live music video -- and I do all of the creative and technical production.
What drives you to keep doing what you do?
I love to perform. About 90% of the time, the business requires creating, rehearsing, learning, accounting, investing, advertising, taxes, exercising, politics, promoting, planning, scheduling, insurance, negotiating… all the stuff that comes with running a small business. The 10% of the time I spend on stage makes it all worthwhile. It’s great music, a unique niche, our audiences and our fans are the BEST. We love to be able to take people back to another time and make them smile.