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Masonic convention shakes up fundraising with Elvis impersonator

The Bartow County Masonic Convention invites the public to shake, rattle and roll Saturday with Elvis impersonator Mark Pitt.

“We have one fundraiser we do in the spring of the year, and we wanted to do another fundraiser in the fall of the year. A good friend of mine, Mark Pitt, I thought about him doing a benefit concert for our veterans and our children’s home. He graciously agreed to do that, and I decided to put this concert on for the convention,” said Jim Childress, a member of John W. Akin Lodge No. 537 in Taylorsville and the district deputy to the grand master.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Grand Theatre. Tickets are $20 for orchestra level, $15 for the balcony.

“It’s a 100 percent family show, great entertainment. We have a series of songs where Elvis hands out scarves to all the ladies and throws teddy bears to children,” Childress said. “... Then, of course, after the entertainment he will sign the scarves or the teddy bears. ... You can have pictures made with him free of charge, and it’s just a lot of family fun.”

Pitts has been performing professionally for more than 20 years, including time as a gospel singer before committing to the Elvis Presley Tribute Show full time, according to his website, http://markpittelvis.com.

Through the concert, the Bartow County Masonic Convention, the governing body of the seven Masonic lodges in the county, will assist veterans and the Masonic Home of Georgia, founded in 1904 and now dedicated solely to caring for youth, “As a convention, we do things for our veterans. We do the big veterans appreciation dinner at the Clarence Brown center over there every year on the second Saturday [of November], where we feed veterans and their families, and furnish everything. We have a guest speaker and also entertainment, gospel entertainment there,” Childress said. “Then our children’s home in Macon, we support it. ... We take in children, give them everything they need and pay for everything all the way through college, whatever they want to be. ... It’s a real good environment for them. We have a lot of children we get that are from split homes, or it’s drugs or alcohol-related.”

Community service is a priority for the Masons, who are involved in a number of local projects.

“We have to have some type of fundraiser each year to support all these charities that we do. We do BackPack Buddies. We have the children’s home; we have the veterans,” Childress said. “We support Hickory Log ... We also do stuff at Christmastime for the children at schools. We pick a school and go in and get names of children, and whatever their gift or clothing needs are, then we take care of that. We are very active.

“Just the gratification of being able to help other people, that’s what the Masons are all about. We try to take care of children and widows in the community. We give back to the community about 100 percent of what we do.”

Tickets are available at The Grand Theatre box office, Monday through Friday, 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.; by calling 770-386-7343; or online at http://thegrandtheatre.org.

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