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Wooden Box presents Beatles Nite

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 2:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 11:37 a.m. CDT
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(Doug Oleson – doleson@shawmedi)
Some items of Beatles memorabilia were on display.
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(Doug Oleson – doleson@shawmedi)
Judy Culver (right), introduced her stepdaughter, Daerielle Amber-Culver, to the music of the Beatles when Amber-Culver was 8.
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(Doug Oleson – doleson@shawmedi)
Northern Illinois University graduate students Hong Hong Hui (left) and Rich Thompson play a pipa, a traditional Chinese instrument, and a guitar to the Beatles’ tune “Norweign Wood.”
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(Doug Oleson – doleson@shawmedi)
From left, Sydney Denton of Sycamore, Maya Morris of DeKalb, Callie Zinn of DeKalb and Gladys Sanchez, originally of the Phillippines, modeled in the Beatles Nite fashion show. Sanchez also read two original poems.

DeKALB – When Daerielle Amber-Culver was 8, her stepmother, Judy Culver, introduced her and her siblings to the Beatles.

“It bonded us,” Judy Culver said.

So it was only appropriate that Amber-Culver ended her half-hour musical set Saturday night at the Ellwood House Visitor Center with “Eight Days a Week.”

“She is pretty amazing,” said Culver, who was among the standing-room-only crowd.

Amber-Culver and Nathan Dettman were the first of a half-dozen local musicans who performed at the fourth Beatles Nite hosted by the Wooden Box Theatre. Some sang or played Beatles songs, while others performed original music and Northern Illinois University student Gladys Sanchez recited two original poems. There was also a fashion show, a table of jewelry and tie-dyed shirts, and a display of Beatles memorabilia.

Wooden Box events director Dan Sherrill said he didn’t realize when he started putting the show together last fall that Feb. 9 marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearing on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” He said the annual Beatles tribute began by accident three years ago, when he was on stage and, without conferring with the rest of the group, blurted out that Wooden Box’s next performance would have a Beatles theme.

Sherrill said the performers give the songs a unique spin. Every show is different, he said, so the group can “avoid repeating ourselves. I like things to be more creative than a tribute night.”

“We think the Beatles are a big sensation,” Wooden Box member Jade Cook said.

Both Cook and Sherrill called themselves “partial Beatles fans.”

“They’re not my favorite group,” Sherill said.

Amber-Culver – who is a Beatles fan – opened her set with the Beatles classic “Octopus’s Garden.” An octopus is painted on her guitar case, and she called it her “power animal.”

“It’s intelligent and sensitive,” she said.

Wooden Box’s next show is scheduled for April 12, with a “Charlie’s Angels” theme. The wide-open venues, Sherrill said, gives the audience a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes, giving them more for their $5 admission.

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