Lead Singer With Elvis
Abilene High Graduate
Stay Seated at Concert,
Presley Audience Asked
By ALICE Miller
Reporter-News Arts Editor
Kathy Westmoreland, the lead singer with Elvis Presley, is a graduate of Abilene High.
Hundreds of Abilenians and area people will remember the Breese Westmoreland family who lived in Abilene for 11 years, and were much a part of Abilene´s musical and reli-gious life. They owned "Bres-see´s Melody Mart" from 1954 to 1962.
Kathy is the daughter of Breese and Connie Westmore-land.
Westmoreland was director of music at First Methodist Church for many years be-tween 1951, when the family moved to Abilene, and ´62 when they left Abilene to move back to Los Angeles, where he had studied and sung previously.
HE BECAME associated with MGM studios in Holly-wood when he returned to California, and Kathy started to sing with various groups in the entertainment field.
Kathy´s first national ap-pearance was on the Red Skel-ton TV Show with the Jimmy Joyce Singers.
She also toured for one year with the Metropolitan Opera National Company.
She has now been with Elvis Presley for four years, and is known as his "high voice" singer.
A n o t h e r Westmoreland daughter, Melody, who also attended schools in Abilene is with him in the movie, "Elvis on Tour."
No one knows at the time when Elvis and his group will arrive for the Wednesday niht show at Taylor County Colise-um. They´re supposed to be coming from San Antonio.
Probably he will arrive just in time for the concert, says Joe Cooley, coliseum manag-er.
THERE´S BEEN some con-cern about people buying a bunch of tickets and scalping them, but not everybody who bought a block of tickets had that in mind.
Some people were just being nice.
For example, Larry Geron, personnel manager of Auto-mation Industries, went out and stood in line - in the rain - to buy tickets for Automat-ïon employes.
The company figured some employes would want tickets, and so bought 50. Geron put up a list for people to sign if they wanted them. By the time he returned at 11 a.m. on the day of ticket sales, the list was full.
"I SHOULD have bought 200 instead of 50," he said ruefully. Of course, people are paying for their own tickets. But if Geron had not gone out for them, those folks probably wouldn´t have gotten their du-cals.
The same thing was true of Bank of Commerce folks. Pat Wright took the orders and se-cured tickets for that group. So don´t think that everybody who bought blocks of tickets had a big deal in mind. Some were being helpful.
Elvis Presley concert-goers who want to take pictures of the singing star will have to keep one thing in mind Wednesday: they won´t be al-lowed to leave their seats and walk up for a close shot.
Taylor County C o l i s e u m manager Joe Cooley said that´s the rules which were followed in Elvis´ Fort Worth concert and he assumes the same rules will be in effect here for the 8:30 p.m. show Wednesday night.
The Presley organization, like all concert groups, is able to set such rules because it rents the coliseum.
"THE PEOPLE won´t be al-lowed to leave their seats," said Cooley. "People will be maninng every aisle to be sure they don´t."
Of course it also goes with-out saying that it is annoying for people at the concert when a constant stream of photogra-phers walks in front of them. So the rule is not designed to give Elvis´ fans problems, but to help the audience.
Tickets to the show state on the back: The recording, tele-vision or commercial media photography of the show or any portion thereof is strictly prohibited without contractual agreement.
What this means to the av-erage person is: don´t bother to bring your tape recorder
and don´t try to sell any pho-tographs you might take. The price of admission to the con-cert does not give the buyer the right to do much besides listen and see the artist´s per-formance.
MEMBERS OF THE Key City Channel Masters Radio Club will assist with the me-chanics of the Presley show.
About 50 members of the club will park cars, take tick-ets at the door, guide people to their seats, answer ques-tions, and keep assuring Pres-ley fans that there´s no way they can see the famous sing-er privately.
Cooley said that Presley is expected to arrive at the building just in time for the show.
A squad of 16 policemen will be on duty, Cooley said, and Hardin-Simmons students will help with taking tickets.
THE RADIO CLUB mem-bers will carry walkie-talkies said Martin Pryor, president.
They will take care of lost children, lost articles, and watch the cars during the show, he said.
THE ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS
Abilene, Texas, Tuesday, Evening, October 8, 1974
Elvis: A Vision in the Flesh
By Jim Conley
Reporter News Stafff Writer
An hour before, they had been the polite young women of Abilene.
But by time Elvis Pres-ley neared the end of his Wednesday night concert in Taylor County Coliseum, they had become as crazed as the wild Dingo dogs of Australia.
No, not all of the thousands of women at rhe record-break-ing concert lost their minds.
But scores of them were a credit to the theories of Charles Darwin; it was "sur-vival of the fittest" in the area directly in front of the stage as the concert ended at 10:30 p.m.
ELVIS HAD DONE many of his hits from the past, "Love Me Tender," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don´t Be Cruel" - with each tune seeming to add to the frenzied screams of his devot-ed fans, many now in their thirties.
When Elvis would move to-ward the stage after wiping his face with a blue or white sou-venir scarf, the rumble near the stage was felt as well as audible. Pity any men who so much as raised a hand as a scarf floated down to the mob.
Even "Abilene´s finest," who tried to guard the stage with patience and smiles, were no match for the house-wives of Abilene, who realized that this might be their "now-or-never" chance to touch or see the King of Rock ´n´ Roll up close.
By the time Elvis was clos-ing his solid hour of songs with "H a w a i i a n Wedding Song" and "I Can´t Help Fall-ing in Love With You," there was no holding them back.
On the front row one woman stood up and suddenly another woman was in her chair, only the new occupant was on her knees in the seat and facing backwards,
The fans had the look of people who have seen miracles or visions. But their vision was right there in real life, wearing a shining white suit trimmed in blue with metal studs, and sporting a belt buc-kle which would have been the envy of a world championship wrestler.
MANY FANS admitted they could not believe they were really there, that Elvis was really there and that it was all really happening. In short, they were "zonked" by the whole evening.
Elvis´ act was well-paced; his voice seemed to be as good or better than ever, and his backup band was befitting
the King of the Mountain in the music world.
One band member, b a s s player Duke Bardwell, first cousin of Abilenian Mrs. Ber-nard (Joan) Taylor, said El-vis´ musicians are mostly peo-ple who pursue their own pro-fessional careers when not in concert with Elvis. Bardwell, for example, has played with Jose Feliciano and Loggins & Messina, as well as done an album of his own original songs.
AND FORMER Abilenian, Kathy Westmoreland, who is Elvis´ "high voice singer," demonstrated the tone and quality of her superb back-ground vocalizations, which can be heard on several Pres-ley albums.
Now about three months away from his 40th birthday, Elvis looked older, naturally, than he did as the young idol of yesterday. But his fans have grown up with him and many said they thought Elvis looked even better as a "more mature" man.
One thing was obvious; he was the commander of his show, A special look at one guitarist signalled "Inwer your volume" and a certain upward wave of the hand to several female vocalists seemed to in-dicate the he couldn´t hear them well enough.
Another thing noticeable up close was that he had a friend-ly rapport with his on-stage people. He grinned at a mem-ber of the "Sweet Inspira-tions," three beautiful black women, one of whom had a cough Wednesday night. "Are you okay?" he seemed to be asking her.
BARDWELL, the bassist had explained before the con-cert that working with Elvis is sort of like being in a fraterni-ty, with your own gold-color-ed metal credit card (This certifies that DUKE BARD-WELL is a member of the Elvis Presley organization, etc. Signed, Elvis Presley") and a gold medallion on a chain around your neck.
Does the credit card get you in special places? he was asked.
"Oh, it´s like anything else," he said with a laugh. "If they know you, you can get in; if not . . . . "
ELVIS SEEMED to have a sense of humor about himself, too, smiling as he croaked a note once, and laughing when he did all the old raised-eye-brow and pouting-lip expres-sions of days gone by.
It was all over too soon for thousands of fans. When the spotlight went out and the houselights went up, he had left a big crowd with the feel-ing he expressed in one of his songs - "All Shook Up."
A Dream Come True
For one unidentified young fan at Elvis Presley´s Wednesday night concert in Taylor County Coliseum, all her dreams were fulfilled as Elvis knelt down, called her up to him and kissed her, while thousands of other females screamed for equal time from the singing idol of his century. (Staff Photo by Jim Conley)