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Vegas entertainers to celebrate Fayne’s life Sunday

The man who was an inspirational figure in the Vegas entertainment community for nearly a quarter century will be honored this weekend.

Bill Fayne’s celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. Sunday at The Strat Theater. His son, Jeremy Fayne, is organizing the event. He’s an exec with Adam Steck’s SPI Entertainment company, which books the venue. Clint Holmes and Keith Thompson will perform.

A 30-member choir has been assembled by Vegas jazz great Michelle Johnson and Rob Hyatt of Fifth Avenue vocal ensemble. Jeremy Fayne is prepping to sing, in public (a rarity), and his 12-year-old daughter, Reese, will perform a dance number honoring her granddad.

Fayne died March 29 at age 75 after a battle with cancer. He was Holmes’ music director and best friend for six decades. He arrived in Las Vegas with Holmes to open their show at the Golden Nugget in 1999.

Soon, the show moved to Harrah’s, where Holmes headlined for 6½ years, with Fayne and Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns furnishing the music.

Fayne was commonly aligned with Holmes, personally and professionally. The performers met in 1964, when Fayne and Holmes were freshmen at State University of New York at Fredonia. So strong was the bond that Fayne joked from the stage about going unnoticed.

“When he did his solo shows, he would always do the song ‘Mr. Cellophane,’ from the Broadway show ‘Chicago,’” Jeremy Fayne said. “He had been Clint’s musical director, his right-hand man, and never the man in front unless he was in his own show. It was done with a sense of humor, because it meant so much to him to work with Clint.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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