D4 - Friday, July 5, 2013
Around The Villages
Love for the Beatles still strong after 50 years
Beatlemaniacs club meets Fridays to discuss the band, perform their music
ODELL RECREATION CENTER
THE VILLAGES - The Beatles explored their creativity through music, leaving a lasting· impression on society and raising expectations of what music would one day be. Now, every Friday, a group of Villagers gathers at Odell Recreation Center to discuss the legendary band and recreate their music.
"The way we run the club is pretty simple," said Jim Fraser, of the Village of Silver Lake. "I start off the morning researching fun facts about what the Beatles did during the same week many years ago. Perhaps it was a birthday, or a new single was released. Then we start the meetings with the facts I found and when we have a lot of people attend, we are able to have back and forth discussions. Then we will watch a video or movie about them and talk about it."
But the group doesn't just talk about the legendary band. They close each meeting by performing some of their hits. (About an hour's worth of live music.) "We try to focus on one album per month, but we are very open if anyone has a request," Fraser said.
"Fraser, (founder and) leader of the Beatlemaniacs club, said he feels strongly about the way the Beatles changed the world. "The Beatles didn't just change music, they changed society and the way we think of it," he said. "The Beatles allowed us to do a lot of things that we didn't think about. From the way we dress to the way we style our hair, it is as if they gave us permission to be different and be great while exploring everything."
Fraser said one reason the band was great was that there was no one else like them at the time.
"The music they created was a different form of rock 'n' roll, and they were always searching for new sounds and different chords," he said. "In the beginning, people thought it was weird that they didn't haveany form of keyboard sounds in their music (just guitars, bass and drums), but then they were able to prove themselves.'"
"There were only four of them and their innovations in melodies and harmonies and lyrics were well known,'' said George Makrauer, of the Village of Pinellas. "The Beatles were so far from the music we knew, that if you had an open mind, you understood them and fell in love with their music."
The Beatles left an impression on their fans that has lasted for 50 years.
"The Beatles were honestly an inspiration for everyone who enjoyed music," Makrauer said." They changed the way music would be made forever, and at the time I don't think they knew how big of an impact they would end up making."
"They changed the way kids looked at life, they opened up new opportunities and once they came over to the United States, there was a major chain reaction," said RoyBill, of the Village of Buttonwood. "People wanted to look like them and talk like them. The Beatles took the normal sound of music and twisted it. Parents even accepted them and enjoyed listening to them. It's crazy because looking back, no one knew that it would be like this."
Fraser said Villagers really enjoy watching the group recreate the Beatles' music.
"We always get very positive feedback from the Villagers who come and watch us," he said. "I think they like listening to us because it provides a little flashback to their high school years and brings back good memories for them."
The Beatlemaniacs club meets 10:00am-12:00 noon each Friday at the Odell Recreation Center, and is open to anyone who enjoys the Beatles or wants to learn more about them. If you play an instrument, bring it and join in. No fee, no cost, just fun. For information, call Jim Fraser at 272-0724.
C1 - Sunday, August 4, 2013
(Garry Long, Roy Bill, Jim Fraser, George Makrauer, Susan Feinberg, Stuart Feinberg)
Michael Fortuna / Daily Sun
Members of the Beatlemaniacs of The Villages shown with celebration Anniversary cake
(thank you Sue and Stu)
in honor of the club's first anniversary on Aug. 2 at Odell Recreation Center.
Beatlemaniacs celebrate anniversary
The Beatlemaniacs of The Villages celebrated the
first year of its long and winding road Friday at Odell
Recreation Center with cake.
The group's official start date is Aug. 3, so this past
Friday's session was the closest to that anniversary
Since its inception, the group that celebrates all
things John, Paul, George, and Ringo has added about
150 members on the email list.
As a special bonus, Villages resident Bruce Miller,
who had been the drummer for the Mamas and the
Papas, gave a talk to the club, showing photos he had
taken at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh .
The Beatlemaniacs meets 10 a.m.-noon Fridays at
Odell Recreation Center. Residents with a love of the
Beatles are welcome to attend. For information, call
Fraser 'at 272-0724, or visit beatlemaniacsrock.com.
- Michael Fortuna / Daily Sun staff writer
Beatlemaniacs Club Founder
Selected "Villages Volunteer of the Week"
Click Here or on Image Below for Enlargement
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
ODELL RECREATION CENTER
THE VILLAGES - And in the end, yesterday may seem so far away and tomorrow never knows, one thing is for certain: the Beatles will live forever.
The members of the Beatlemaniacs hope to keep the music of John, Paul, George and Ringo alive. ·
"They're special for a lot of people," said Jim Fraser, the group's leader. "They're still the No: l-selling act in entertainment. It's !he longevity, the fact they keep going on. The music they produced is phenomenal."
The group kicked things off at iis weekly gathering Friday morning at Odell Recreation Center by watching the first half of"Help!" the Beatles' second big-screen romp (they'll watch the rest this week).
Later on, some of the residents who brought instruments, from acoustic and electric guitars to electric bass and electronic drums, played a few Beatles tunes.
Fraser created the Beatlemaniacs as a place to enjoy the music and the history behind one of the biggest bands in the history of popular music.
"I wanted it to be all-encompassing," said Fraser, a Village of Silver Lake resident.
Whenever something happens that particular week in Beatles history, Fraser will spotlight that event. They've watched. such programs as the Beatles' first appearance on "!he Ed Sullivan Show," "A Hard Days Night" and the documentary "Anthology."
Some of the musicians will bring to life the Beatles' tunes while others will strum along. On occasion;the band will take requests:
"People call out stuft and we'll give it the old college try," Fraser said.
For Fraser, Feb. 9, 1964, was the day that brought the Beatles into his life.
"I hadn't heard of them prior to that," Fraser said. "(Our family) sat down to watch 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' We had no idea The Beatles were going to begin (the show). That was the coolest thing I had ever seen. They were so different."
Fraser had been playing the snare drum in the marching band, but after seeing The Beatles, he switched to the drum set.·
"Girls were screaming at them," Fraser said. "That was much cooler than what I was doing."
Out of all the music the Beatles released, Fraser is more fond of the band's ea:rlier output.
All their stuff is great, but the earlier period brings back the music of my youth," Fraser said. "The music had changed by 'Sgt. Pepper."
Roy Bill, who lives in the Village of Buttonwood, is the audio-visual guy for the Beatlernaniacs; he's been with the group since its inception last August.
Bill first heard The Beatles' ·"I Want to Hold Your Hand" while in high school.
"Their sound was completely different than anything (being heard at the time)," Bill said. "It was·the rage. Anything they did turned into pure gold."
About a year after discovering the Beatles, Bill learned to play the drums when he saw bands needing guitarists and drummers.
His favorite Beatles album is "Rubber Soul."
It's got all the songs I like," Bill said.
"The Beatles went through a number of changes during their (time)," Bill said.
"They changed the face of popular music. They were the first (British band) to invade the country.
Village of Santiago resident Larry Bowen brought his acoustic guitar to the session. This was his second appearance with the group.
For Bowen, the Beatlemaniacs is one of several musical groups he participates in throughout the week, including bluegrass, swing and folk.
"I get a taste of everything," Bowen said. "I like the looseness'(of the Beatlemaniacs), the willingness to do new things instead of the same thing."
Bowen first caught Beatles fever back in junior high school... three of the band's albums, "Rubber Soul," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Magical Mystery Tour."
"'Sgt. Pepper,' that was a big moment," Bowen said.
One song from that album, "When I'm Sixty-Four," is a favorite of Bowen's to play on the guitar.
"Paul was 16 when he wrote that," Bowen said. "It's just amazing. I respect him more as the years go by. Now he can see 64 from both sides."
All these years later, Bowen is still enjoying the sounds created by The Beatles.
"I like them for their music," Bowen ' said. "It stands the test of time. The music is still being played 50-60 years after they wrote it."