It’s been 50 years since the Beatles first stepped foot on American soil, and the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill recreated the experience Saturday at its British-themed fundraiser.
More than 300 guests turned out for the event at the Richmond Hill City Center, which included dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment provided by Beatles tribute band BritishMania.
The Rotary Club raised more than $17,000 from sponsorships, ticket sales and auction bids at the fundraiser. President-elect Larry Barker said proceeds will benefit both local and international causes.
“Most of the money we raised will benefit a water project in Haiti and Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world,” he said.
Locally, Rotary supports the Richmond Hill High School band and a number of charitable organizations.
“We’re very involved in the community, and we want to give back. We’re not just a club that meets for lunch once a week. We live here, we work here and we play here,” said Linda Barker, co-chair of the event’s auction committee and Larry Barker’s wife.
After dinner, BritishMania brought guests to their feet with renditions of some of the Beatles’ biggest hits, like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The New Jersey-based group has been performing at home and abroad for nearly 10 years.
“BritishMania is probably the best Beatles tribute band around,” said Larry Barker. “Everything this group does is original. Original instruments, original chords, original notes. In order to get the Beatles sound, you need to do it the same way they did.”
The audience seemed to agree, as the dance floor filled quickly. Roy Barber, who lives in the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, England, and attended many of their performances in his youth, was especially impressed with BritishMania.
“They’re absolutely fantastic. Great band. They do the Beatles proud.”
The live and silent auctions also proved successful as items provided by local businesses quickly racked up the dollar signs. Items up for bid included a Hugo Boss suit and several hunting and vacation packages.
Rotary Club past president Bill Eberlein said he was pleased with the outcome of the evening.
“The food was excellent as always. The band was great. Everyone had a great time. I think this is the best fundraiser we’ve had yet. Larry Barker did a great job.”
The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill has held a themed fundraising event every year since it was founded in 1995. Last year, the club raised more than $16,000 with its Viva Las Vegas-themed fundraiser.