While the nation celebrates the most significant of musical anniversaries this month, fans in the Region also have the opportunity to mark The Beatles' 50th anniversary of coming to America in a grand way.
Fab Four tribute band American English will transform the stage of Star Plaza Theatre to Beatles land as the group performs a special Valentine's Day concert Friday in Merrillville.
The show, presented by Lakeshore Public Media, features a celebration of all eras of Beatles' music, from early Fab Four to Abbey Road days.
"This will be our fourth year in a row there," said Eric Michaels, the performer who portrays Paul McCartney in the band. Michaels said Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland audiences, in general, have been loyal admirers and regularly attend American English shows.
Friday's concert, he said, is significant for a number of reasons. First of all, he noted it's a fundraiser for Lakeshore Public Media and ticket sales will assist in supporting The Lakeshore Public Radio 89.1 FM.
"It'll be a great weekend and a fun show," Michaels said. He's thrilled the concert coincides with the dates 50 years ago that the Beatles first hit American soil.
In a recent press release from Lakeshore Public Media about the concert, James A. Muhammad, president and CEO of Lakeshore Public Media, said American English is a great way to remember The Beatles and a huge opportunity for Lakeshore Public Media to rekindle Beatlemania in Northwest Indiana and support our mission of educational programming."
American English performs more than a hundred dates every year and gets a great deal of repeat audience members to join in their Mop Top celebration.
"It's an accomplishment to celebrate 50 anything. And it comes once in a lifetime. It's a hallmark of the strength of The Beatles," Michaels said, about the fact their music continues to live on and interest in them never wanes. Michaels said portraying McCartney in American English is an honor.
The band, he said, respects the Beatles' music, talents and personalities and always strives to do justice to them.
Michaels believes the public's continued attraction to The Beatles comes down to the music first and foremost.
"You've got to love the music. You never get tired of it," he said.
American English' concert will be a multi-phase show. Their first set will chronicle "The Ed Sullivan Show" songs and also feature some of the songs from "A Hard Day's Night," Michaels said.
"It's also the 50th anniversary of the release of 'A Hard Day's Night," he added.
Other Beatles' musical periods American English will deliver in the two-hour concert are the Sgt. Pepper's era, Abbey Road and Let It Be days.
Michaels praised area fans and Midwest fans, overall, for their support and for "getting" what they do.
"We would be nothing without them. They keep us working," he said. "We love the people of the Midwest.'
American English has been paying tribute to The Fab Four for two decades now. Michaels said they've had the same lineup in the band for the past five years.
Interest in The Beatles surely spans the generations and Michaels and his bandmates even see that at American English shows. "It's being handed down from grandparents and parents to kids."
The performer said American English strives to give "a good history" of The Beatles' music. He encourages fans at the shows "to take it all in" and enjoy.