Let It Be. Hey Jude. Yesterday. These songs, and many more like them, are the soundtrack of our lives. Just mentioning them conjures memories, takes us back to a different time, and we can’t help but sing along.
For the last five years, Valparaiso’s iconic Memorial Opera House has celebrated this timeless music with their signature MegaBeatles concert, featuring a collaboration of two of the Region’s most popular bands: The Crawpuppies and Chris and Lou.
Chad Clifford, lead singer for The Crawpuppies, refers to the music of the Beatles as the “gold standard.“
“A lot of music that followed was based on this music,” Clifford said. “It exists in a sort of ‘sweet spot’ with so much good music that came before and inspired them, and then so much good music that came after and was inspired by the Beatles. It’s positive music, written in a way that people of all ages can relate to, which is becoming rare.”
Clifford loves the history behind playing at Memorial Opera House.
“Being a ‘Valpo guy,’ I think about my great-great-great-grandfather, who came here around the time of the Civil War. If he went to any shows, he would have been in the audience in this theater. I think that’s pretty cool, when you think about all the people who have played on the stage here, and all the people who have been in the audience. It’s just… awesome.”
“We love playing here,” said Aaron Hedges, bass player for The Crawpuppies. “This is a serious production for us. We’ve got some very cool media, including a light show, that we incorporate into the show. And the acoustics here are just great.”
“This is something that we work hard on. Seeing it sort of culminate here is just something that’s really spectacular,” Hedges said.
This year’s show, which started the 2019 season for venue, focused on the "Abbey Road" album, which the band played in its entirety. The evening began with Chris and Lou playing some of the Beatles’ older hits before The Crawpuppies took the stage. After a brief intermission, the bands combined to form local powerhouse, the Mega Beatles, drawing people to start singing and dancing in the aisles.
Martin Hughes and John Hanley, co-owners of Authentic Irish Tours of Valparaiso were at the venue to enjoy the show and promote their upcoming special group tour, the Beatles Forever Tour 2019.
“I’m a big fan of The Crawpuppies,” Hughes said. “I used to manage TJ Maloney’s in Merrillville, and we would book these bands. I got to know Chad pretty well. Chris and Lou, too.”
Hughes says that he appreciates what he calls the rawness of the MegaBeatles.
“It’s the sheer passion they have in their love of the Beatles. Great musicians, great singers. They really bring something different to this music.”
Jerry Lodovisi of Valparaiso said he would have a hard time choosing a favorite Beatles song.
“Really, there isn’t one,” Lodovisi said. “I’m a huge Beatles fan. It’s great to see everybody come together to enjoy the show.”
“This is our fifth year with the MegaBeatles show,” said Scot MacDonald, Executive Director of Memorial Opera House. "It’s been a sell-out event every year and it’s just a great way for us to kick-start our year.”
MacDonald said the renovation of the venue, which is celebrating its 125th year, has been tremendous, with amazing community response.
“It’s just overwhelming. We’ve seen so much love and support. This community has been overwhelmingly positive. Programs like our Limelights program continues to grow and we couldn’t be more excited.”
“We’re really thrilled for the upcoming season. From Shrek the Musical to La Cage aux Folles, the regional premier of Mama Mia and more. We’ll have something for the entire family,” MacDonald said. “We’re over the moon. This is shaping up to be our biggest season yet.”
For more information about Memorial Opera House, including where you can purchase tickets to one of your favorite upcoming shows, check them out online at www.memorialoperahouse.com