At 79, Bob Tyler may finally be getting his big break.
The Fairview Heights man will sing and play keyboards at a Branson theater this month.
"I'm ecstatic," said Bob, who has been performing in the metro-east for 63 years. "Branson has people coming in from all over the country. It's like a little Las Vegas."
Bob got the invitation from Tony Roi, an Elvis impersonator who produces a show called "Tony Roi's Elvis and More" at the Caravelle Theatre.
Tony is a friend of Bob's girlfriend, Linda Lepold. Bob will be Tony's guest performer on Oct. 30.
"I'm not really nervous," Bob said. "I'm excited. I've been performing so long, I think I could play at the White House."
Bob is a retired Goodyear tire inspector. He began taking piano lessons at 9 and performing in public at 16. His first band was called The Red Hots.
Bob later led the Bob Tyler Trio and Bob Tyler Quartet and played with other bands in nightclubs. He bought a stand-up organ and rhythm machine in the '80s and went solo.
Today, Bob performs 20 to 25 times a month at nursing homes, retirement centers and Moose lodges.
"I've never been on stage," he said. "After all these years in the business, (Branson) is my first opportunity."
Bob's repertoire ranges from "Memories" to "New York, New York," "Stardust" to "Please Release Me," "For the Good Times" to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
He will go to the Caravelle a few hours before show time and rehearse on its keyboard.
"I would like to do an upbeat type of performance rather than a love song or something like that," he said.
Bob is playing for free in Branson, just to gain experience. He has no illusions that the one-time gig will lead to stardom.
"But you never know what it's going to turn into," he said. "It's a four-hour drive, but (Tony) may want me back once a month to fill in for someone. It's just an opportunity. I'd like to get my name in the pot."