Local youth brings Elvis to the stage

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By Tom Wilmoth

Step aside Justin Bieber, Elvis is still King.

    Taylor Rodriguez enjoys performing. And he’s gathering a following around this area.
    The 13-year-old Forest Middle School student brings the songs of Elvis to the stage and he welcomes the chance to portray the King.
    He’ll be doing just that this Saturday, Sept. 17, at El Cazador Restaurant in Bedford, from 6-9 p.m.
    “Everybody just keeps wanting him back,” said his mother, Donna Rodriguez. “He’s just going around and entertaining and people love it.”
    He’s performed not only at his parents’ restaurant, but also at several restaurants in Lynchburg as well as for several benefits and other special events in the area.
    So why does he love to perform Elvis?
    His aunt, Diane Morcom, got him started.
    “When I was with her—I would always listen to Elvis with her,” Taylor said of his aunt.
    One night he went home and just started singing it on his own. He was about 7 years old then.
    His first performance came a few years later for another of his aunt’s 50th birthday party. Others saw him and started asking him to perform.
    “I like his music,” he said of Elvis. “He was the King of rock-and-roll. A lot of the music today that you hear, it’s not the same as it used to be.”
    His entire room is decorated in Elvis memorabilia.
    “Sometimes I get nervous, but once I start performing I just ignore it and go on,” Taylor said.
    He hasn’t made it to Memphis yet, but he hopes to visit Graceland soon.
    Taylor also performs some Blues Brothers songs.
    “He’s just an entertainer,” Donna said of her son. “We’ve packed the house the last few times he’s (had a concert).”
    There isn’t an admission charge for Saturday’s concert.
    “The older people just enjoy it so much,” Donna said of her son’s music. “He did it just one time and they said ‘When is he coming back?’”
    She said people are surprised at how mature her son is with the music. And with Elvis’ moves.
    “He shakes, rattles and roles,” she said. “We’re very proud of him.”
    Donna and her husband Hector own El Cazador, where Saturday’s concert will be held.
    Taylor has plans to one day try out for the show America’s Got Talent and would like, when he’s older, to become a professional performer.
    He just recently had a new suit made for his concerts.
    “He’s got people calling wanting him to book things for next year,” Donna said of her son. “He just loves it.”
    Anyone wanting more information about the concert may call 540-587-0347.