Gary Raye is a native of East Peoria, Illinois. He has enjoyed singing all his life beginning at the age of four. Gary got completely hooked on performing when he heard his first Elvis Presley record. As a choir member at Central Junior High School at the age of twelve, Gary won a first place medal for singing in a duet. He was very active in singing groups at East Peoria Community High School as well. He was part of the Master Choir, Madrigal group, and Swing Choir group. While performing in these groups, Gary was awarded various medals for both ensemble and solo performances; as well as being chosen for the schools Outstanding Vocal Music Award. Gary's first public appearance was during these high school years at his high school talent show at age sixteen. In college, Gary studied vocal music for two years receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in Vocal Music from Illinois Central College. While there he performed with the college's traveling ensemble, The Chamber Singers, in which he was encouraged to play rhythm guitar to accompany himself on featured solos. Gary has also earned a Bachelors of Science Degree for Business Computer Systems from Bradley University.
After college Gary continued to perform all over Illinois at benefits, civic centers, night clubs, hotels, fairs, schools, private clubs, parties, weddings, etc. He has performed with many different bands and toured with the "Tiny Hill Orchestra". One of Gary's most exciting achievements centers around the International Tribute to Elvis week held every year in Memphis, TN for which he has been a featured performer many times. Highlights include: In 1985 Gary was one of several Elvis entertainers filmed in the documentary film, "Elvii", a film about Elvis impersonators; performing his "Elvis Experience" show nightly at a Memphis hotel in 1987; and becoming a top five finalist in the Bad Bob's Vapors Annual Elvis impersonator contests in 1988 and 1990 out of a total over 90 contestants.
Gary has won various talent contests, including first place in various Country Opry talent shows. He has been asked back often to perform as a special guest at these and other Opry shows which include the New Salem Country Opry, Wagon Wheel Opry, McLean County Country Opry, Bement Country Opry, and others. Gary has appeared on and been interviewed by many radio and television stations. He has also been written about in many books, newspapers, and magazines. He is very proud of the fact that a few of the original songs he has recorded have been played on local radio stations and were received rather well.
Gary is a regular performer at several local nightclubs and has performed at the Par-a-dice Hotel Casino. He has performed for the East Peoria Festival of Lights Parade, performed the National Anthem several times for the Peoria Chiefs and is one of many entertainers who participate in the annual “Yule Like Peoria” Yule Walk. Gary has been featured several times on a local television program entitled, Country Music Showcase hosted by Ray King, which has a format similar to the Nashville Now program. Gary has also performed in several Talent Showcases in Branson, Missouri including a national show held at the Thunderbird Theater. In 2002 & 2003, Gary was a finalist for the ICMA New Male Vocalist Award. In July 2003, he performed at the Star Systems 2003 National Finals held in Myrtle Beach, SC where he won First Place and a High Gold Achievement Award for Senior Vocalists (age 26 and up) and also won Second Place Overall Senior Vocalists (age 13 and up). He also received an Outstanding Overall Performance Award. In March 2004, Gary won the 2004 Horizon Award for Male Entertainer of the Year, Traditional Country at North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI) Awards Competition held in Pigeon Forge, TN. He also recently competed for the 2004 Star Systems National Talent Competition Midwestern Regional contest and won first place and Platinum Achievement Award, the highest Award possible. . In March 2005, Gary showed off his gospel talents at the NACMAI Awards Competition in Pigeon Forge, TN by being named the 2005 New Gospel Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year and by receiving the 2005 New Gospel Horizon Award for Male Entertainer of the Year. As part of the duo ‘Double Shot’, Gary along with entertainer Jason Gordon was named the NACMAI Traditional Country Vocal Duo of the Year.
Gary has recorded six CD’s: “The Elvis Experience”, “By Request: Vol.1”, a self titled Country CD, a Gospel CD titled “Let Us Pray”, a Christmas CD titled “The Wonderful World Of Christmas” and a CD in memory of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks titled “American Glory” from which all proceeds are donated to the American Red Cross. Most recently, Gary recorded a CD with Jason Gordon for their duo act, Double Shot.
Gary is constantly updating his show by adding material and variety to his vocal styles. He performs many high voice or falsetto songs like such artists as; Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Bee Gees, and The Tokens and also does a great Louis Armstrong impression. Although it may be true that more times than not Gary has been accused of lip-syncing when performing, he is a very talented entertainer/vocalist and will keep doing whatever it takes to realize his dream of becoming a solo recording artist.
Gary Raye: CEO
What to Expect
Typical Gig Duration: 15 - 120 minutes
Access to electricity.
Private climate controlled dressing room.
Table for equipment or merchandise.
2006: 250 gigs
2007: 275 gigs
2008: 200 gigs
2009: 277 gigs
2010: 156 gigs
2011: 250 gigs
2012: 267 gigs
2013: 20 gigs (so far)
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Available for Your
Anniversary Party, Bachelorette Party, Bar/Lounge, Casino, Christmas Party, Club/Nightclub, Convention, Corporate Event, Fair, Festival, Hotel, Private Party, Reunion, Wedding Reception
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