The Meherrin River Arts Council welcomes “1964” ... The Tribute on March 21. Over twenty years of researching and performing have made “1964” masters of their craft. They are hailed by critics and fans alike as THE most authentic and endearing Beatles tribute, which has earned them the distinction from Rolling Stone magazine as the “Best Beatles Tribute on Earth.”
“1964” recreates the early ‘60s live Beatles concert with period instruments, clothing, hairstyles, and onstage banter with an accuracy that is unmatched. You’ll enjoy a Beatles show precisely as it was performed 50 years ago. “1964 creates the magic of The Beatles” - Dick Clark
The performers in 1964…The Tribute are:
Mark Benson (John Lennon): Benson was introduced to music playing drums and piano at age eight. At age 17, he started playing guitar. He became fascinated by the different sounds that different guitars made and started servicing, repairing, and building guitars, which he learned how to do at Lay’s guitar Repair in Akron, Ohio.
He made guitars for Eddie Van Halen and Jackson Browne. He sold vintage guitars to The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bad Company, Hall and Oates, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Alvin Lee, Joe Walsh, The Allman Brothers, The Cars, David Lindley, Cheap Trick, and The Doobie Brothers.
Benson played guitar in the local Ohio bands Ashes, Raintree, Coconut, Mr. French, and Bock (with 1964 co-founder, Gary Grimes). In 1984 Benson and Grimes started “1964”…The Tribute. He currently produces all aspects of the show. He produces the “1964” CDs, “All You Need Is Live,” “Nine Hours In November”, “Bootleg Vol. 1,” and “30/50 Celebration”.
Mac Ruffing (Paul McCartney):
Mac Ruffing was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio, and as a young child started listening to his older sisters’ Beatles records. The first album he ever bought was “The Beatles 1962-66,” which is precisely what 1964 The Tribute does, and is still his favorite music.
Ruffing started playing the drums at 15, and at 17 he bought a Kingston violin bass (a Hofner knockoff) at a local music store and unknowingly started his role as “Paul.” He played in several Southern California original, Top 40, and Beatle cover groups, including ‘Help!,’ ‘Imagine,’ ‘The Yanks’ and ‘ATP,’ all while working full time as a land surveyor.
Ruffing, not a natural southpaw, spent the better part of a year training himself to play the bass guitar left-handed, like Paul McCartney. In 1993 he joined the Beatles tribute ‘Beatlemania Live!’ touring the world, which led to his “passing the audition” in 2009 and joining the touring cast of the Beatles show ‘RAIN’ on Broadway and in theaters and Performing Arts centers all over the world.
In 1982 he met 1964 The Tribute co-founders, Benson and Grimes, and over the years subbed on occasion with the band. He joined the group full time in 2013 and has since been performing some of the world’s best music with the world’s best Beatles tribute band.
Tom Work (George Harrison):
Tom Work (George) is a co-founder of “1964” The Tribute and is the act’s first George. Work began playing guitar at the age of 7, and following high school, he studied music at the University of Akron. Since the late 1960s, Work has played and sung in a variety of ensembles. During high school and college, he played the flute, sousaphone, and bassoon in the marching and symphony bands; professionally, Tom has worked in well over a dozen “cover bands,” most notably Dogs ‘n Kids, The Lou Ciriano Combo, My Old School and The Jerry Bruno Orchestra. Tom even sang lead for eight years in a barbershop quartet (believe it or not, it’s true!).
Work also worked in over 20 musical theatre productions, both onstage in leading roles, and behind the scenes as Producer and Music Director. “Performing on stage in a band is really where I belong,” Tom says, “although conducting the pit orchestra, for me, is every bit as exciting—and even more challenging.
Bobby Potter (Ringo Starr):
Potter was born in Indiana. He started taking snare drum lessons in the fifth grade and got his first set of drums in the seventh grade. Later, when The Beatles arrived on the music scene, he made it a personal goal to be like Ringo.
He played in 3 bands through high school – a Tijuana Brass band, a high school pep band, and a top 40 band. He helped form a popular local group that performed in his home town and surrounding area teen clubs. He later moved to Champaign, Illinois and joined a band that played in and around the tri-state area
Wanting to spread his wings, he then set his sights on the west coast and moved to Los Angeles, where he helped form The Finders, then Shake, Rattle N’ Roll, and played the nightclubs there for 10 years. He then moved to Las Vegas and played the Nevada casino circuit. Capitalizing on his experience, he backed such greats as Chris Montez, Billy Swan, Jewel Akens, Al Wilson, J.J. Jackson, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Dell Vikings, 7 show/lounge acts and too many Elvis impersonators to mention.
Still wanting to achieve his personal “Ringo” goal, he joined two Beatle tributes, spending eight years in this endeavor.
His personality shines onstage as he authentically reproduces every beat and moves his head to the music portraying Ringo with precision and style.
This accomplished artist transports the audience to the carefree magical era with his voice when he performs “Boys” and “Act Naturally.”
Meherrin River Arts Council series and individual performance tickets can be purchased through the MRAC box office.
The Concert Series also features Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on April 25. Additional MRAC information is available on their web site located at www.mrac-arts.com or by calling 434-634-6001.
All performances take place at the Emporia Greensville Performing Arts Center in Emporia.