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Museum commemorates Beatlemania with Suffolk instructor

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By Victoria Greenleaf

Fifty years ago, the Beatles arrived in America for their first-ever U.S. tour. From Sept. 12 to 14, the West End Museum hosted a series of activities and events dedicated to remembering the Beatles’ arrival and concert at the Boston Garden on Sept. 12, 1964.

“The Beatles Invade Boston: 50th Anniversary Celebration,” was the only series of events in the city to honor the arrival of the Fab Four in Beantown. Partially-sponsored by Suffolk University, the weekend festivities played host to many different events, guest speakers, and activities all of which were free to the public.

Suffolk University Instructor David Gallant teaches a course called “The Beatles: Here, There, and Everywhere,” dedicated to  the history and cultural importance of the band.

Suffolk Instructor David Gallant with Chachi Loprete.
(Photos by Victoria Greenleaf)

Gallant gave a lecture on The Beatles’ history as part of a sold-out event on Saturday afternoon.

“What has always sustained interest and affection for the Beatles is the appeal of their music,” said Gallant. “That’s really at the heart of it.”

Chachi Loprete, host of the radio show “Breakfast with the Beatles” on 100.7 WZLX, also played an important part at the West End Museum’s celebration, having had a hand in collecting some Beatles’ notables to make appearances throughout the weekend.

According to Loprete, “The Beatles weren’t just another band. Their music is timeless. With the Beatles, you could be different.”

Loprete has met three of the four Beatles, and has worked on many Beatles’ events and commemorations over the years. He identified seeing the band on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 as a moment that inspired him.

“I watched the Ed Sullivan Show when I was seven, and I wanted to be a drummer,” he said. “The Beatles were a four-headed monster that actually ended up being bigger than Elvis.”

Duane Lucia, curator and president of the West End Museum, is credited as being the one who conceived the idea of the commemorative weekend events, and played a huge part in organizing the sponsors and guests.

Lucia said he is happy with the turnout and the involvement of the community, and recognized the Beatles’ importance in Boston’s history and their importance in the city’s west end. “It was an idea of mine to try and include the Beatles and entertainment into the culture of the museum,” Lucia said.

He also identified one of the biggest guests at the events, Ron Campbell, as being a living part of the Beatles’ history.

Campbell, 74, is the former director of “The Beatles” animated television show from the 1960s, as well as an animator on the movie “Yellow Submarine” (1968). He has also worked on many other television shows, such as “Scooby-Do,” “The Smurfs,” and “Rugrats.”

Campbell has been traveling to events such as the one hosted over the past weekend extensively since his retirement in 2008 to meet fans and showcase his artwork.

According to Campbell, the Beatles were, “As influential as Mozart or Beethoven,” and, “Their music is pure. In 200 years from now, I totally believe that people will still be listening to their music,” he said.

Lucia explained that, although the events over the weekend were extremely popular, there are currently no plans to host another exhibition including the Beatles at the museum in the foreseeable future.

But, as once said by The Beatles themselves, “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

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Museum commemorates Beatlemania with Suffolk instructor