I know I’m dating myself when I admit that I was among the millions of adoring young fans gaping at the TV on a Sunday evening as John, Paul, George, and Ringo made their American début on The Ed Sullivan Show. This weekend, Beatles fans of all ages will have the chance to relive this magical era and at the same time make some magic happen for kids whose parents died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“Concert for the Orphans of 9/11,” featuring Charlottesville’s Beatles tribute band # 9 Dream, takes place at St. Anne’s-Belfield Student Activities Center on May 11.
The concert is a service project of English teacher Tom Palombi’s eighth grade advisory group who, in the weeks after the tragedy, wanted to do something to help the victims. Palombi happens to be the lead singer for # 9 Dream, so he offered the services of his band in support of the kids’ efforts.
The 11 students have planned the entire event and raised all the money needed to promote it. And because the band is donating its services, 100 percent of the proceeds of the concert will benefit the Twin Towers Orphan Fund, a long-term trust fund that offers health benefits and educational support for the hundreds of children who lost one or both parents in the September 11 attacks.
Widely known and admired around town, # 9 Dream is a group of Charlottesville dads who have been playing their favorite Beatles tunes together for the past five years. While they don’t wear Nehru jackets or sport identical hair styles, these committed musicians have created one of the most authentic Beatles sounds since images of the Fab Four decorated the bedroom walls of every pre-teen girl in the country.
In addition to Palombi’s vocals and bass guitar, the band includes Paul Olko on lead guitar, rhythm guitarist Keith Winkler (who also plays a very Lennon-like harmonica), and Bill Jobes on drums. Soundman Doug Campbell is # 9’s off-stage “fifth Beatle” who plays an indispensable role in shaping the exceptionally genuine sound.
In planning the concert, Palombi’s students wanted it to be as accessible as possible for all who want to contribute to this worthy cause. Tickets cost just $5 and are available in advance at Market Street Wine Shops, both Plan 9 locations, C’Ville Coffee, Spencer’s 206, Kroger at Barracks Road, and at the door. Additional donations will be accepted the night of the performance. Refreshments and a commemorative T-shirt will also be available for sale.
“When I close my eyes, I think you are the Beatles,” declared an awestruck young fan once after a # 9 Dream concert. When I close my eyes and think of the generosity of these children who want to help other children, I’m in awe too.
The Concert for the Orphans of 9/11 happens May 11, 7:30-10:30pm at the STAB Student Activities Center on Ivy Road across from Foods of All Nations. For more information, contact Tom Palombi at 973-6104.