Joe Sir on local stage after nine years

—Sir shares Elvis music, faith at Cresco Opera House
CRESCO - Crestwood 1983 graduate Joe Sir will be performing Elvis songs, mixing in tidbits of the King of Rock & Roll’s life, at the Cresco Theatre & Opera House this Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. His last appearance on the local stage was in February 2013. Five months later, he played at A&W/Long John Silver’s.
“I dreamed of being a big rock star since I was six or seven,” Joe said. Music was always a big part of the Sir family. When brother Tim was in eighth grade, he was in a band. “I sat on the drummer’s lap and played Proud Mary.” At the age of six, he was hooked. 
Joe was in the junior high choir. “I remember goofing around with the instructor, imitating Elvis.” When he was 13, he joined Tim’s band, which had morphed into the Sir Brothers Band with Mike and Pat playing as well. “We played at weddings and a variety of places around Cresco, in Iowa and southern Minnesota.
As he grew older, Joe became president of the high school choir. He went on to college for a business major, but his love of music followed him, and he also took music, piano and vocal classes.
When Tim entered the seminary, the band stayed intact, with three brothers and a lead guitar player.
After college, the brothers spread out, but still got together to play music. “About 1991, I decided to go full-time with music. I told my brothers, and they said, ‘Why don’t we all go full-time?’”
They started performing in the Minneapolis area. In 1994, they recorded an album, “Sittin’ on Ready.” The Sir Brothers played fairs, corporate parties and bigger events. 
Then they went to Nashville.
“We had been visiting with different agents and met with a music producer. We made a four-song demo. We learned a lot about the music business, how it works and how complicated and difficult it can be. It was eye-opening . . . not everything we had dreamed of.”
The band was sitting across from a record label representative. She had listened to the demo and liked it. She told them to go back to the hotel and think about it. She ominously said they were likely to lose their marriages and become alcoholics, like so many other music stars.
Joe said, “I realized I might have the wrong dream.” 
They left Nashville. Pat went back to his business.
Mike and Joe played in the band around the Twin Cities and added the Elvis Show. “We’d do a regular show with various music and have an Elvis segment in the middle. People liked it.”
In 1997, the Sir Brothers Band closed that chapter of their lives. “I was at a cross roads. My faith was starting to challenge me. ‘Am I singing for the right reason?’ It could be hard on my family. Maybe I was pursuing music for all the wrong reasons.”
It was a hard decision, but Joe gave up music. “I surrendered it. I asked, ‘If you ever want me to do music again, let me know, Lord.’”
It took God two years to answer. “I was called into ministry with youth. I started doing music with them, and it was joyful again! I started doing music for the Lord.”
Understanding Elvis
In the early 2000s, Joe, his wife, Shannon and children Zach and Samantha, returned to Cresco as a youth pastor. “Shannon has been a huge support when I visit nursing homes. She’ll run the music. She’s my roadie!”
“A friend asked me if I would sing at a fund-raiser for her youth organization in Decorah. I hadn’t made the connection between Elvis and Gospel music until then. As I started to listen to his music, I found that through his love of Gospel music, he was crying out to God. People thought he had everything, but the most important thing to him was God.
Joe has been lucky enough to learn more about Elvis when talking with audience members. “I talked with a lady, who knocked on Elvis’ door at Graceland. He answered and gave her a tour of his home. I even talked with some men he served with in the Army.”
During his Elvis Show, Joe gives the audience a glimpse of The King’s life from 1954-1977. He tells Elvis’ story and allows listeners the chance to experience that history for the very first time, with a positive message. Elvis struggled, but tried to keep God close.
Audience members will learn that although Elvis is known as the King of Rock & Roll, he never won a Grammy for that. He did win three Grammies for his Gospel music. 
In addition, Elvis opened the door for Black writers and musicians. He was even mistaken for a Black singer on the radio when he first started, since he played Black Gospel music.
Rest of the band
Joe’s current band members of Rockabilly Rebels have been together from 5-10 years. Heather Kittleson is on piano and vocals, her daughter Marah is backup vocalist, while son Noah is the drummer. 
Lead guitarist is Paul Gavick and the bass guitar is played by Mike Brueske. Paul Ashwood plays percussion and does background vocals. 
Samantha played in the band for several years, as well.
Ministering through Elvis
Joe has found that Elvis can be a bridge between the past and the present through his music.
While in Minneapolis, Shannon’s sister asked if Joe would sing Elvis karaoke-style at her nursing home. “I’ve continued that.” Some of his favorite memories are playing for dementia patients who perk up when they hear Elvis.
“I’m trying to do music for something bigger than me. If I can bring joy into someone’s life with Elvis, I’m happy.”
Today’s ministry
For several years, Joe has been serving in New Richmond, Wis. “We have been praying for a couple of years and talking about taking the music on the road.” He and Shannon finally did it. 
They sold their home in Wisconsin and purchased an RV. They plan to be flexible and mobile as they care for aging parents, Joe’s mom, Mickie Sir of Cresco, and father-in-law of Arizona.
“I’ll be doing ministry wherever God will open the door,” he said. “I try to carry the message that no matter what is going on in your life, God is there. He will walk with you through what you are going through.”
Tickets available
Tickets are still available for the Oct. 9 concert. They can be purchased for $25 in advance at A&W/LJS, Cresco Bank & Trust, Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce, Cresco City Hall, CUSB Bank, Cresco Theatre and online at tinyurlcom/yzuj8hds.
Tickets will be $30 on the day of the show.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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