Chrastil notches Entertainer of the Year award again

Published: Thursday, 22 February 2018 07:33

Imagine Bill Chrastil stepping on a stage, dressed to the nines in his Elvis regalia as he bursts out in song – not with a song from The King, but from The Boss called “Fire.”

But it’s not Elvis’ voice. It’s not Bruce Springsteen’s either.

It’s Elmer Fudd. Undeniably the voice of one of the most famous Looney Tunes character, the bald-headed hunter and enemy of Bugs Bunny, whose aim is to hunt Bugs and who speaks in an unusual way, replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws.

“I have no idea where that voice came from,” Chrastil said. “It just happened.”

But that part of a Chrastil show is just a morsel of what the performer brings to his audience. Other voices include Elvis, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. It’s that variety of voices along with his high-energy performance that earned him his third straight Male Vocalist of the Year Award and second consecutive Entertainer of the Year Award at the annual Star Awards on Saturday at Casa del Valle RV Park in Alamo.

“That’s just a thrill,” Chrastil said. “I appreciate the Winter Texans who enjoy my singing and my show. Regardless of the award I want to thank them for all the special moments and the way they have treated me and my wife, and for coming to the shows and voting for me.”

Chrastil has been performing full time since 1983 and began his Elvis tributes since he was 16. He has been honored with numerous awards in Branson, Mo., including Best Gospel CD of the Year, Best Vocal Impressionist of the Year and Best Horizon Show of the Year. Chrastil has been inducted into the Nebraska and South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association.

A resident of Lincoln, Neb., Chrastil said his show has evolved over the years and continues to evolve, even 34 years after starting full time.

“It keeps me fresh and, honestly, helps make every show feel like a brand new show,” he said. “Finding different voices, improving on the guitar and the piano have provided me with a variety of options to change up my show and give it a fresh feel. I do it for myself as much as I do for the audience – to give them something new and fresh.”

Some of the voices he hears just come natural, like to those who play instruments without reading music but by “playing by ear.” Some, however, have even surprised Chrastil in their development.

“I was really surprised I could to Willie,” he said. “I never sat down to do Willie. I was just singing along one day to My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and it just came, it evolved.”

Chrastil said he also works out five days a week to remain in shape for his high-energy performances. Swinging those hips like Elvis can wear down anyone.

Chrastil will spend about a month in Florida with his daughter and perform a few shows then he and his wife will return to Nebraska, performing at casinos, fairs, festivals and other shows throughout the summer and fall.

“Then we’ll be back in the Valley,” he said. “We are just so blessed to have made so many friends there. We always can’t wait to return.

Published: Monday, March 07 2016 Written by Kathy Olivarez  Winter Texan Times Newspaper / Mission, Texas
Bill Chrastil, of Lincoln, Nebraska, has been performing for the Winter Texans for three years.  His effort have paid off because Winter Texas voted him 2016 Male Vocalist of the year.  A beautiful voice and a high-energy show that leaves the viewer exhausted from just watching him as he jumps, dances across the stage, gives high kicks and does splits while singing the songs of popular male vocalist.  Bill has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years as a musician, sinrger and songwriter.  He has performed in Branson, where he has received numerous awards including Best Gospel CD of the Year, Best Voice Impressionist, and Best Horizon Show of the Year, He is a member of the Nebraska and South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame and a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association.  This reporter attended one of his shows recently, where he started his show with songs from Johnny Cash, such as “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”  Then he moved on to the popular songs from the past like "Achy Breaky Heart" moving around the stage in constant motion as he performs.  Slowing down a moment with Willie Nelson’s "Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain" and "On the Road Again," he continued with Conway Twitty's "Hello Darling" and "Tight Fittin’ Jeans." Next came Neil Diamond’s "Coming to America" and a Bruce Springstein song sung in the voice of Elmer Fudd.  Add "Sweet Caroline" and Roy Orbison’s "Pretty Woman," and other old favorites for a lively show. He did a guitar instrumental that was totally exceptional; I didn't realize fingers could move that fast. All during the show Bill involves the audience by having them clapping in rhythm or singing parts of the songs with him. And that is just the first half!
In the second half he came back as Elvis wearing a white costume with beaded fringe down the front. His dark hair was styled to resemble Elvis in younger years. He started with romantic songs like "Teddy Bear" and "Can't Help Falling In Love" before moving to the livelier songs like "Heartbreak Hotel," and "All Shook Up." During his performance as Elvis he went out into the audience and selected a woman, and getting down on one knee, he sang to her. Afterwards, he placed an autographed scarf around her neck. Sometimes women don’t wait for him to select them; they walk up to the stage and tuck a tip inside the lacings on the front of his costume, earning the scarf for themselves.
This is a fun show with some humor that keeps the audience swaying, singing and clapping in their seats. Winter Texans definitely should put him high on the list of entertainers to see next season if they missed him this year.

Deb Shaw / President   •  Nebraska Country Music Foundation / Hastings, Nebraska
It is with pride and honor to have Bill in our Hall of Fame. We were fortunate to have Bill share his talent with us this year for our 35th annual Festival. He captures the heart of everyone attending and his multi talented shows are outstanding. He ends his shows with great memories to last forever and we look forward to expanding more memories with Bill next year!

Cathy / Activity Director · The Waterford at Williamsburg Lincoln
You truly out do your self each time you perform for our residents. Your high energy show, your friendly smile, your caring, is like no other and I thank you. They always look forward to next time. 
You are AWESOME!!!
God Bless! We all love you!

Rich W. Bentler / Entertainment Manager, RCGR   •  Riverside Casino and Resort / Riverside, Iowa
You did a perfect job.  Your show really moves.... 
You are one true pro still out there doing this and I for one love what and how you do it.
Thanks again and looking forward to the next one.
Best Regards,
Richard W. Bentler
Entertainment Manager, Riverside Casino and Resort

De Heaton / Executive Director   •  Corning Opera House Cultural Center / Corning, Iowa
Bill Chrastil's high energy performance delighted our audience! Several days later people were still talking about the great Willie Nelson impersonation, his knowledge of so many musicians, and awesome talent on the guitar, piano and vocally. Many patrons requested another show - and it is scheduled! Thanks Bill for bringing smiles to so many people!

Marlene Butterfield   •  Andrews Van Lines / Norfolk, Nebraska
Andrews Van Lines, Inc. had Bil Chrastil perform at our convention banquet. He was absolutely fabulous. Everyone, and our ages were from 20's to 90, loved it. His performance was top rate. His "ELVIS" performance was fantastic, what a show. We have people from DC to California in attendance and we heard nothing but great comments.
Thank you

Judy Magers   •  Emerson, Iowa
Bill did an awesome benefit in Emerson, Iowa Sunday, June 14th for the Mills County Freedom Rock ! Donating his valuable time and superb talent for this event shows his kindness and patriotism for our Veterans and Active Duty Troops! The diverse crowd loved his high energy performance!
Thank you Bill and love from Emerson, Iowa !! The Rock will be painted in August.
We hope folks will drive through and see the finished tribute to our Veterans and Active Duty !!

Joe Fucinaro   •  Anthony's Steakhouse / Omaha, Nebraska
Bill Chrastil has entertained at Anthony's for over twenty years. The key word here is entertained. In observing many groups over the years, I've noticed that some have performed and some have entertained. There are plenty of good musicians and vocalist, but few really know how to make the audience become part of the show. Bill is one of the few that has that ability. His talents as a musician and singer are excellent and very professional, but what really sets him apart from most is his ability to become one with his audience. It is important to make them (The Audience) fell as important as they really are! Bill Chrastil does a great job at this. Also from a management point of view, Bill been very flexible in keeping the needs of the house as the priority. I would give the strongest recommendation to anyone interested in the entertainment that Bill Chrastil has to offer.

Anthony M Falcone  •  Director Cornhusker Marching Band (2002) Lincoln, Nebraska
I cannot adequately convey how fun it was to have you perform with the Cornhusker Band at the Kansas game on November 9.
Your portrayal of Elvis was outstanding and made the show extra special for all of us.

Heather Manion   •  Nebraska State Fair (2003) Lincoln, Nebraska
The Nebraska State Fair was proud to present Bill Chrastil performing in our Open Air Auditorium. His performances included two afternoon shows, and the crowd came out in full force for both. The Audience consisted of both his usual fans as well as those who were first time viewers, sure to become regular fans.
Bill was equally wonderful and entertaining in both his tribute to Elvis, as well as his 1950's rock and roll show. The Elvis costume was brilliant and the variety of songs from his rock and roll performance was superb. I would not hesitate to hire him to perform again. His show is professional and well received.

Chris McCormack   •  MDA Lincoln, Nebraska
Your dedication to our families we serve is inspiring.
What started out as a phone call involving MDA Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, has turned into a lasting friendship. Due to your efforts, we have been able to send children affected by a neuromuscular disease to MDA Summer Camp. You've given many children the great gift of hope. Hope is the fuel for our families and MDA's staff in our quest to eradicate the over 40 neuromuscular diseases we fight at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Without your efforts and other leaders like yourself, MDA's mission would not be possible.

Charlie Radika   •  Hibbing Elks Lodge / Hibbing, Minnesota
We just wanted to drop a note to let you know how much our lodge enjoyed the performance of Bill Chrastil. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed his talent that he displayed in his tributes to some of the greatest performers of Rock N Roll history.
We are looking forward to getting him back for another performance sometime.
Once again thank you

Judy McVey   •  National Cattle Congress (2003) / Waterloo, Iowa
Bill did an excellent job of entertaining the crowd. He worked hard and the crowd was dancing up a storm and really enjoying themselves.
The 50's music represents a very special time for many of us and it also is very popular with the younger generation.
It's music that everyone can dance to and they definitely did on that weekend.
Bill has a good following and we have booked him for a two more weekends. I certainly would recommend him for any other venue.

Karen McCrae   •  Showboat Community Theartre / Hermann, MO
Bill Chrastil is an amazingly talented entertainer!
From song writing his own songs to doing incredible tributes to such famous stars,
as Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty & a very special tribute to Elvis Presley, just to name a few!
His performance of Classic Rock, Country & song of the 50's & 60's are fantastic!
He is such a kind and genuinely nice person!
I can't wait to see his show again in September!

Allen Greenburg   •  Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation / Omaha, NE
Thank you for doing such a terrific job. She absolutely loved it and everyone just thought it was great.
Just what I was hoping for! 

Chris Bristol
  •  Fremont Opera House / Fremont, Nebraska
Bill, Thank you so much for gracing our stage this evening!
Everyone had a toe-tapping good time and we have already had requests to have you back!
It was a great evening and we look forward to hosting you again soon!!

Jack and Char Sorrell   •  Orange Grove Campground, Activity Directors / Kissimmee, FL
Bill, Jack and I want to Thank You so very much for a wonderful performance..
The residents and guest truly enjoyed themselves..
Your personally and Talent are amazing!!! We will be contacting you next season..