With all due deference to blogging, standing in front of a live audience talking about Elvis is a completely different ball game. That's what I felt while giving a presentation about his religious music in a church the other day. It really made me feel good.
I arrived maybe two hours in advance to set up my equipment (computer, projector and amplifier) and check out the sound. Actually, one of my brothers helped me a lot, and worked as my technician during the lecture. That way, I could concentrate on what I was saying while he was playing the songs and movie clips. My other brother (who's a fan like me) was in the audience giving moral support, as was my father.
With maybe half an hour left before I was to begin, people started to arrive and soon the church was packed to the last seat. And to think I'd been worried no one would turn up. Soon the verger dimmed the lights and I began my lecture called Rock Me Lord.
In all honesty, I've done the presentation once before, but this was the first time in a church. And it was a fantastic feeling being able to present and listen to Elvis' gospel music in its right element. "Do you want to hear one more of the same kind?" I asked after "Run On" and when the audience told me "yes" in no uncertain terms I played "If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side."
The one performance that touched me the most was the live on screen version of "How Great Thou Art" from The 25th Anniversary Concert, featuring footage from April 1972 and sound from March 1974. With the church in darkness and Elvis powerful voice booming out of the loudspeakers placed beneath the screen, it was a majestic experience.
After my presentation, which took about an hour, the priest talked about the Swedish versions of "How Great Thou Art" and "Amazing Grace," that both can be found in the Swedish Church's hymn book. She then led the audience through the songs with the help of the cantor who played the organ. It was a nice way to end an evening about Elvis and his gospel music.
PS: If you want to know what songs I used, you can find the complete list in my post "A Gospel Performance" from June 27, 2009 (telling the story about the first time I did the presentation).