Help! Classic Beatles benefit concert for Island Grown Initiative

The Daytrippers, from left: Brian Weiland, Shelagh Smilie, Doug Brush, Eric Johnson, Boaz Kirschenbaum, and Charlie Esposito. — Photo by Dan Waters

Love The Beatles music but not the kitschy, wigged-up cover bands? Have we got a concert for you.

The Daytrippers, a home-grown and ad hoc group of veteran Island musicologists will present an orchestrated version of The Beatles music, complete with a sound and light show, Sunday night, Oct. 23, at 7 pm in the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center at the Regional High School.

The 14-performer concert is a fundraiser for Island Grown Schools, a part of Island Grown Initiative with roots in a serendipitous event at the Oak Bluffs School last spring, according to concert maestro and performer Boaz Kirschenbaum.

Mr. Kirschenbaum, the Daytrippers’s publicity maestro, said “Every spring the Oak Bluffs School does a musical. This year, they decided to do a Beatles sing-a-long. We put together a band to accompany and we killed! Not just kids. There was a packed show every night.

“We did some tricky songs and they came out pretty well. A couple of weeks later, Doug [Brush] called and said “Let’s keep it going. We love the music and we’ve been practicing all summer,” he said.

“I thought we were sounding good, so I said, ‘Let’s do a concert, a real show, and let’s do it as a benefit.’ Doug suggested local farming,” he said.

The performance is not designed as a cover band rendition of “A Hard Day’s Night,” but as a driving, evocative concert, a sort of musical travelog through the Fab Four’s musical journey from rock ‘n roll through more complex and socially-aware music reflecting influences, including Eastern philolosophy, on the legendary Liverpool lads. The group did a benefit at Nectar’s this summer as a warmup for Saturday’s concert. “Part of the fun is dissecting the music and figuring out what makes it tick,” Mr. Kirschenbaum said.

Twenty songs from the 1964-1969 recording period will be performed. “We limited it to 20 songs.This is not a bar environment. We want to give the back story on the songs. People like that. Learning what’s under the lyrics.

“The concert will begin with the ‘Ed Sullivan’ days [TV show], ‘Hard Day’s Night’ right through ‘Abbey Road,’ ‘Hey Bulldog’ from the Yellow Submarine film is in there, as well as ‘Ticket to Ride,’ a song that really comes to life when you get the harmonies and sound working together,” he said.

The Daytrippers include Doug Bush and Eric Johnson on guitar and vocals, Mr. Kirschenbaum on bass and vocals, Charlie Esposito on piano, organ and vocals, Brian Weiland on drums and vocals, and Shelagh Smilie on vocals.

Wait, there’s more. For this concert, the DT’s have added a full horn section, including rockin’ Jim Athearn, Mark Campos and Max Maxwell on trombone and tuba and the indefatigable Ed Rodgers on trumpet.

Hold the phones, they’re not done yet. Help! emcees Laurel Redington and Ray Whitaker of radio WMVY will bring on guest musicians Wes Nagy, Jeremy Berlin, Noah Maxner, and Allie Horowitz, woven around a sound and light show created and produced by Steve Zablotny and Bob Brown at the sound board.

“We have high school students as crew and backstage techs. It’s a good learning experience for them.”

Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for seniors (62+); $7 for students; and a $40 family pack admitting five.

“We wanted to make the concert affordable to everyone and early enough so kids can come,” Mr. Kirschenbaum said. “Most of the participants are volunteering or getting next to nothing for their work. We just want to raise money for the local school and local food effort.

“We started this group in June as a lark and an outlet for us. We’re called the Daytrippers because we’re taking a break from our jobs.

“There are no egos involved. This is all based on trust,” he said.

Rock on.

Benefit Concert: The Daytrippers, Oct. 23, 7 pm, M.V. Performing Arts Center, M.V. Regional High School, Oak Bluffs. $7-$15; $40 families. Tickets available at Aboveground Records in Edgartown, Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury, Island Entertainment in Vineyard Haven, at the door, online at

In addition to station WMVY, support comes from the Island Grown Initiative, WCAI radio, Aboveground Records, Fiddlehead Farms, the Living Local Harvest Festival, Tisbury Printer, and Z Studio.

The evening features a raffle with special items, including the Beatles Anthology DVD box set and rare Beatles European DVDs. More information is available at