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Elvis Run Rocks Reading Advocacy

By Tim State in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 12, 2007 10:46PM

08-2007_Evlis_is_Alive.jpgA mountain of peanut butter and banana sandwiches were waiting for runners as they completed the 10th Annual Elvis Is Alive 5K Fleet Feet race yesterday in Lincoln Park, which benefit Rock for Reading, a non-profit group fighting the trend of illiteracy and working to renew interest in reading.

2007 marks the 30th anniversary of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s passing, and race organizers expanded the post-race concert, adding additional Elvis impressionists. Chicago’s tribute run is the largest in the country, surpassing Memphis’s Elvis Presley International 5K by at least 1,000 participants with over 1,700 runners registered yesterday. Runners wearing Elvis attire lead the race. Hunk-a, Hunk-a, burnin’ love 41-year-old Al Baumgartner of Palatine, Ill., was the fastest Elvis, clocking in at 19:20.

Alice Peacock, Rock for Reading co-founder and singer/song writer performed a post-race concert, opening for Elvis impressionist Doug Church and the Anthony Guitar Street Orchestra.

“What Elvis was, was revolutionary,” said Peacock, who admires him for understanding the power of music. Today, she and her husband Hugh Haller are turning up the volume. “We have the power of music, and we can use it as an awareness building tool. Music does need to be used for good reasons.”

“A population that doesn’t read, doesn’t vote. They don’t support the arts,” said Peacock. “One out of three Chicagoans are functionally illiterate, which means they can’t even read at a third grade level. Being unable to read is the source of so many problems. If you can’t read, you can’t dream of something bigger and something better.”

If Elvis were alive today, we’re certain he’d sing his hit, “I Can Dream,” along with Peacock.

Photo provided by the author.