Mark Hinson is The King of Christmas at Stanly Industrial Services
Most holiday parties are a time for gathering around an abundance of food, sparkling decorations and smiling family, friends and co-workers you’ve been longing to catch up with. That’s still true at Stanly Industrial Services (SIS), but there, it’s also a time for a little less conversation.
Mark Hinson, a participant at the SIS day program, dresses up and transforms into Elvis Presley at the SIS Christmas party each year, a celebration that has been hosted by Monarch Board Member Jeff Irvin and his family for years.
“He’s the showstopper,” said Tenika Bailey, developmental specialist for Monarch. It’s a performance the people supported and staff alike can’t help falling in love with.
“Mark just loves Elvis. He dresses up for the talent show we have here. Halloween, Christmas or sometimes we’ll just be playing music and he dresses up,” adds Bailey.
It’s become a tradition for Hinson and his family and now at SIS that he’s carried on for years.
“Quite a while, a long time. As long as I can remember,” said Hinson.
That’s probably because Hinson was raised on rock. Hinson said his father introduced him to Elvis, who also dressed as the king. Hinson has since inherited one of his dad’s original costumes.
“I’m a huge fan. I have Elvis decorations in my room and I like his music. My favorite song is ‘All Shook Up’,” said Hinson.
The costume Hinson wears is true to the 1970’s bell-bottomed, white jumpsuits Presley became known for late in his career. Ask any Elvis enthusiast and they’ll tell you, the king of rock n’ roll chose white with elaborate sparkling details to truly catch those bright stage lights and make an eye-popping performance you forgot to remember to forget.
For Hinson, the logic is no different. His costume is complete with a bright red embellished belt and scarf along with strategically placed rhinestones. Skip the blue suede shoes; this look wouldn’t be complete without his white boots.
“My mom helped me put it together,” said Hinson. “We got this belt, and I have the eagle on the back.”
Beyond the jumpsuit, what makes the impersonation genuine is Hinson’s moves. He practices every hand wave, hip shake and lip curl. Dancing and dressing up is just part of the entertainment though. Knowing his performance brings joy to others makes him feel like, well, a big hunk o’ love.
“It’s a lot of fun for me,” said Hinson. “I practice. Sometimes [in front of a mirror]. I don’t get nervous, I have a lot of fun myself. I try to be cool,” Hinson said with a laugh.
For this year’s holiday party at Stanly Industrial Services, Hinson has planned to perform Elvis’ ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’.
“He gets everybody involved,” Bailey said. “His confidence makes everyone feel good. Everyone gives him a standing ovation. They just love it.”
Hinson even takes that compliment the only way the king himself would.
“Thank you, thank you very much.”
Stanly Industrial Services will hold this year’s annual party on Thursday, December 14th.
Photo: Mark Hinson performs an Elvis classic in his 1970’s inspired costume during the 2016 SIS holiday party.