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Beatles Band Tribute

Moondogs light up the stage for charity

story By John Rogers

The Moondogs are continuing their tradition of performing a Beatles Album concert for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) at the Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington. In the fall of 2016 Wilmington musician Mark Loudermilk and several friends formed a band to learn an entire Beatles album. The sole purpose of the band would be to raise money for JDRF. Both Mark and his youngest daughter Amelia were diagnosed at age 10 with type 1 diabetes. The concerts would be managed by a non-profit organization FAB4JDRF.

The first concert was presented in September 2017 where the band performed Rubber Soul, raising $14.4K. Local musician John Rogers attended the 1st show. John says “the show just blew me away, these guys really went for it, performing the whole album just as it was recorded. I thought this would be a very cool gig.” Little did he know what was to come…

Fast forward to Spring 2018, where two members (1 vocalist and 1 guitarist) of the Moondogs left the band. John Toppings, lead vocalist in the band, recommended John Rogers replace the two missing bandmates. Next, the concert had to be postponed from the usual September date due to hurricane Florence. The Moondogs pulled together and performed virtually the entire White Album in February 2019. Many local musicians from the Wilmington, Leland, and Southport area were included as the show had horns, strings, and a youth choir for the finale. The well attended event was a smash and raised $19k for JDRF.

It was decided to schedule future shows in February. The third show: “Double Feature, The Beatles Go to The Movies” is now planned for February 7th. The band will present “A Hard Days Night,” and “Help” plus several B-sides that were released during the era. Rogers said these performances are special for several reasons: the material is loaded with amazing vocal harmonies that they have worked extremely hard to present faithfully, plus there are no “effects” or complex arrangements to hide behind. In addition, Rogers looks forward to the fact many of the 1960s era “Beatle” guitars from his collection will be in the show this year. This charity means a lot to John because he has several friends with either type 2 diabetes and/or have children with type 1. The band has high hopes they can attract more Beatles fans and raise even more money for JDRF with the 2020 performance.

The lineup this year is John Toppings (lead vocals), Mark Loudermilk (guitar and vocals), John Rogers (guitar and vocals), John Parker (guitar), John Iammateo (Drums), Alex Tomlin (Percussion), Art Ricks (bass), and Ethan Graves (keys).

About half of the funds for the charity come from ticket sales, so there has been a substantial effort to reach out to local businesses for support. For information about donations contact John Rogers @ jpr1@rogersconsult.com. Tickets for the concert are available @ www.fab4jdrf.org.

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