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Wooden Box Theater honors the Beatles

DeKALB – The Wooden Box Theater’s fourth-annual Beatles Nite at the Ellwood House Visitor Center wasn’t just about the Fab Four.

The event Saturday included such diverse performances as “Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite,” a 1597 song by English composer John Dowland; a jazz version of “Fever” by Peggy Lee; original folk songs; and freestyle rap by a local hip-hop group.

“It’s nice getting to see all different types of music,” said Doug Feltz, a headline performer. “Even if it’s not your specific style or what you like to listen to, you got to appreciate it and appreciate the work that goes into it.”

To be sure, many Beatles covers were performed during the show. Musicians even played two versions of “Norwegian Wood,” almost back-to-back – one in classical style accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a Chinese stringed instrument called a pipa. The other was belted by Feltz, a grunge rock crooner, while he pounded out the music on an amplified acoustic guitar with a delay effect.

Feltz, who says that he’s a mix between Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, also sang “Dear Prudence” and “I’m a Loser,” a cover of “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden and some original tunes.

He said that Beatles music is part of his usual repertoire.

“Most of the Beatles songs you can play on an acoustic guitar with just yourself, I can do,” he said.

Daniel Sherrill, the event producer, said the idea for Beatles Nite originally came about on a whim when he was emceeing a show at the House Café several years ago and a performer was taking a long time to get ready.

“I was running out of things to say, so I said, ‘Guess, what? March, we’re going to do, uhh … the Beatles,’ ” he said. “ … Then I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be an annual Beatles night.’ ”

Besides the music acts during Beatles Nite, there also were poetry readings, modeling sessions with Beatles music playing in the background, hand-made clothing and jewelry for sale and a display of Beatles merchandise.

Gladys Sanchez performed two of her poems, titled “Little Girl” and “Contagious Disease.” The latter was about the harmful effects of racism.

Sanchez, who also was one of the models appearing throughout the show, said that she bought all of the clothes she wore at Goodwill in order to promote thriftiness, as well as personal expression. She explained her personal style as notably unfashionable in the traditional sense, at least according to popular style magazines like Vogue.

“You wear what you wear,” she said, “and you rock it.”

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