When Thane Dunn thinks about taking his 10th anniversary Elvis Birthday Tour to P.E.I. this month, a warm, happy feeling comes over him.
"I've never felt more excited and more like a 16-year-old before in my life. It's going to be a huge production," says the award-winning Elvis impersonator who is pulling out all the stops for his show at the EastLink Centre in Charlottetown on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.
For starters, Dunn has revamped his eight-piece Cadillac Kings band.
"Three of the performers are ECMA award-winning musicians. They include Danny Roy from the Divorcees and Roger Cormier with the Glamour Puss Blues band as well as John Flannigan who has been playing in tribute bands for the past 20 years. These new members have brought material into the show that I've never heard before.
"Then, to top it off, we have the 17-piece Tony Delgado Orchestra. The practices we've had (with them) have been so moving that there have been times where I've had to go out of the room and cry because it sounds so incredible."
To help him prepare, Dunn has also been taking intensive vocal lessons and practicing each day.
"This has made my voice a lot more powerful. There were songs that we were unable to do, like What Now My Love and It's Over. But I'm singing them now.
"Backed up with the orchestra, the show is going to be magical," says Dunn, who will also perform classic Elvis material including Suspicious Minds, Love Me Tender, Unchained Melody, My Way and more.
The concert is a milestone for the Moncton, N.B., native who has been doing Elvis tribute shows in his home province for 12 years.
"I grew up watching Elvis shows with my mother on television. And I felt this connection or bond. Then, when I was in Grade 6, I sang Heartbreak Hotel in a talent show at Bessborough School in Moncton. There were 40 contestants and I took second place, losing out to a group of clog dancers," says Dunn.
"People told me that I sounded like Elvis Presley. Then, after puberty, people told me I sounded even more like him," says Dunn who went on to win the 2009 World's Largest Elvis Competition and the 2012 International Elvis Gospel Competition.
To add to the excitement of the show, people will have a chance to win a one-of-a-kind prize.
"When Elvis would sing Nothing But a Hound Dog, he would throw out stuffed animals to audience members. I have one of them from the 1972 Elvis Summer Festival, which took place at the Las Vegas Hilton. So that night someone in the audience is going to win it," he says.
Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054