Central musicians meet the 'Beatles'

New Hampshire Union Leader
May 11. 2013 1:06AM
The Central Chorus and Concert Band plays "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Beatlemania during a concert at Central High School on Friday in Manchester. (THOMAS ROY/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - When Mathew Capalario found out his bassoon playing would back up a group of professionals covering songs by the Beatles at a concert Friday night at Central High School, he said his jaw dropped and that he emitted a grunt followed by a big "yes."

"I was starstruck," the freshman, and self-described "huge Beatles fan," said shortly before the show. "I was just, uh, speechless."

The show, featuring the touring group Beatlemania Stage Show, paired the group with students from the high school's bands and chorus to raise money for the school's music programs.

"It helps keep music education alive," said Sheri Nocelli, the group's manager and wife of band member Lucien Nocelli, who portrays John Lennon.

For Sheri Nocelli, Friday's concert was a homecoming for the 2003 Central High School graduate whose tiny dog, Mabel, was wearing a "Central Pride" T-shirt. When the band was selecting tour dates, "I said you've got to go to Central," she said.

Lucien Nocelli said part of the group's challenge is to put on a show of the Beatles' music throughout the band's storied career in two hours - hard enough to do itself - while working with different backup musicians at each gig with little rehearsal time.

He said it's a challenge the local kids meet nearly every time.

"They're all very responsive and usually do their homework really well and have the songs rehearsed," he said. "Then when we get here, they pretty much have it done."

Liam Colby, a freshman who plays French horn, said playing with a group of professionals is somewhat daunting, but that he was ready to do his part backing up on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

"These performers are more experienced," he said. "But we've been practicing it for awhile."

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