Gary Raye is a native of East Peoria, Illinois. He has enjoyed singing all his life beginning at the age of 4. 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 fro several years beginning in 1987; and becoming a top five finalist in the Bad Bob's Vapors Annual Elvis impersonator contests in 1988 and 1990.
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.
Gary 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 and also won Second Place Overall Senior Vocalists. 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 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 2005 Traditional Country Vocal Duo of the Year.
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 his vocal impressions, he is a very talented
entertainer/vocalist and will keep doing whatever it takes to realize
his dream of becoming a solo recording artist.
Here are some books Gary Raye is featured in: