Bits 'n' Pieces: Tribute acts to fete vets

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian features news coordinator

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Fans of Elvis and John Denver can catch two of the best tribute acts at a Nov. 11 show billed as "Veterans Day: An American Tribute."

Former Woodland musician Ted Vigilwill open the show with his John Denver tribute performance. His uncanny resemblance to Denver, as the country boy crooner would say, is "far out."

In 2006, Vigil won first place for his Denver tribute performance in the "Talent Quest" contest in Laughlin, Nev. That led to Vigil touring the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The 48-year-old musician who grew up listening to Denver's music has been performing full time as Denver the past two years. He's worked with different musicians including Steve Weisberg, Denver's lead guitarist from 1973-77. Vigil said Weisberg told many stories about Denver and where they were when they wrote a particular song.

"John Denver's music is about community and peace," Vigil said in a phone interview. "I think the world really needs that right now."

Recently, Vigil completed his second album, "Sing my Songs," featuring 10 original songs and four modernized Denver tunes, produced by Eddie Kilgallon.

Vigil's favorite song, "Blessings in the Skies," has a message about working together to care for the environment and communities. "I think John would approve of the song," Vigil said.

Currently he's writing songs for his next album he plans to record in spring 2013.

Vigil said people who have caught his performance as Denver have told him, "Thank you for keeping John's music alive."

The headliner in the Veterans Day performance is Justin Shandor, 2010 winner of the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis, Tenn. Shandor performs sold-out Elvis tribute shows around the world.

Vigil said of Shandor: "His voice is incredible, his look is amazing and his stage presence is so much like Elvis. Justin is the best in the world."

The concert will honor veterans and benefit five local charities: Martha's Pantry, the YWCA Clark County, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, the Clark County Food Bank and the annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Vancouver Eagles.

Catch Ted Vigil as John Denver and Justin Shandor as Elvis at "Veterans Day: An American Tribute" at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at Hudson's Bay High School, 1201 East Reserve St. Tickets are $22 for veterans, $27 general admission and $32 preferred seating. Save the service charge by purchasing tickets in advance at the Vancouver Eagles Lodge, 107 E. Seventh St.; 360-693-8119 or 360-901-4342. Call 1-888-718-4253 or ShowClix. Tickets also can be purchased at the door.

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.