Elvis tribute sensation Darren Lee brings the singer’s legacy back to Langley

His performance will be at George Preston Recreation Centre on Saturday, Aug. 12

Fans in Langley of Elvis Presley get another chance to see Darren Lee, one of the world’s best Elvis tribute artists, perform at the George Preston Recreation Centre on Saturday, Aug. 12.

Lee, who holds the record for the longest performing “Elvis” in Vegas – with 11 years in the “American Superstars” show at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino – is returning to his Canadian roots and looking forward to wowing young and old alike with his singular tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Lee’s connection to Langley runs deep, first performing in 1995 in Langley when he moved to B.C. He played at the legion multiple times.

He also lived in Langley for two and a half years before moving to Maui, where his twins were born.

Lee’s mother first introduced him to Elvis’ music.

“[My mother] was a heavy inspiration, more so in the fact that she loved Elvis and so his music was all over the house…whenever we’d get driven to school, she would throw eight tracks in and most of them were Elvis,” Lee said. “That’s just where the love of his music developed.”

But his journey as an Elvis tribute artist began in Grade 5, when a Catholic nun taught him to play guitar. By age 14, Lee was singing in lounges, and entered his first Elvis competition — in which he won second place and was encouraged by a fellow Elvis impersonator to audition for an Elvis tour going through Canada.

“I sent the promoter a very bad video and his exact words were, ‘We don’t have anybody else, so you’ll do,’ and I was hired in 1988,” Lee said. “I had the time of my life. I was on the road with seven guys, two other Elvis’s and we played everywhere, drove in the bus and had a blast.”

Nine years later, Lee won the title of top Elvis Tribute Artist in the world at a competition in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the first Canadian to win it.

On a vacation to Maui in 2007, Lee fell in love with the island and knew someday he would do a show there.

In 2012, Lee received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in recognition of his success as a Canadian in America, and the next year he finally got to perform in Maui and raised funds for the island’s food bank.

“Maui was the only place on Earth where being an Elvis Tribute Artist was accepted as a really cool job,” Lee said. “Being an Elvis impersonator in L.A. or Vegas, it’s a joke; but for the people here on Maui, Elvis is still the legend that he was when he left us.”

Now, Lee is taking his performances around the world and hopes to end his career with a tour in Europe.

Cris Schandl, manager of the event, said this show is extra special because Lee’s 12-year-old daughter, Shayla, will be performing alongside her father.

“[She] has only been playing guitar for over a year is total music prodigy and future superstar,” he said.

Schandl said this is a great opportunity to see the Elvis legend with his full band in concert.

The King is Gone event will be at the Bunkhouse Bar at George Preston Rec Centre on Saturday, Aug. 12, located at 20699 42nd Ave.

Doors open at 6, and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase inside the venue.

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