The Beatles played their final full concert 45 years ago at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. But tonight at Higgins Hall at North Yarmouth Academy, The Beatles will play their final concert one more time.

These Beatles are not The Beatles, of John-Paul-George-and-Ringo fame, but a band of North Yarmouth Academy buddies who, for five years, have been thrilling their school peers by presenting the music of the real Beatles as faithfully as possible.

Because of graduation, the group is breaking up. Tonight’s show will be their last, and it is sure to include piercing shrieks from excited girls.

The group includes NYA students Jerry Murray, 18, of South Freeport; Elliot Daniels, 18, of Yarmouth; Jake Susla, 17, of Freeport; and Robert Miller, 17, of Portland.

Each year since they got together, they’ve been learning different songs by the Beatles, one album at a time. They started with early pop hits such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Twist and Shout,” and progressed to the more complicated music from the albums “Revolver,” “Rubber Soul” and “The Beatles,” popularly known as the White Album.

Tonight’s show will be a mix of songs from different periods of The Beatles’ career. Last week, they were rehearsing “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “In My Life.”

The real Beatles made their music over an eight-year period, from 1962 to 1970. The NYA Beatles have been together for five years.

Their affection for the Beatles started in middle school, when fine arts chairman Ian Ramsey detected this particular group of boys had the talent and the interest to pull off a Beatles band. In addition to good musicianship, the lads displayed advanced singing abilities and natural harmonies.

He never intended to create a Beatles tribute band. There are plenty of those out there already. Instead, he wanted to use the music of The Beatles as a way to teach the students about musicianship, songwriting and collaboration.

“The Beatles are the reason I’m teaching music,” Ramsey said. “There’s no better way to learn about music. It’s very high-level, very complicated. As these guys have progressed in terms of their talents, they’ve been able to take on the more complicated songs. They’ve gone to school on The Beatles. It’s been a lot of fun to watch them grow. They’ve become Beatles nerds.”

They have indeed.

“The first music I ever listened to, or even remember, was The Beatles,” said Daniels, who sings and plays guitar, bass and piano in the group. “I was so influenced by The Beatles, I sang with a British accent.”

Because the guys all trade off instruments regularly, they don’t assume the roles of the real Beatles. But generally, Daniels sings the Paul McCartney songs and Murray sings the John Lennon songs. As the drummer, Miller sort of assumes the Ringo Starr roles, which leaves Susla to take on George Harrison.

Murray, Daniels and Miller are all graduating this year, leaving Susla alone.

“Next year, Jake can do the Concert for Bangladesh,” Murray said, referencing Harrison’s post-Beatles, 1971 charity concert at Madison Square Garden.

But for tonight, it’s the Beatles in all their glory.

When they last performed “Hey Jude,” they had the whole auditorium singing along. A bunch of students joined them on stage for an arm-in-arm, show-closing “na-na-na-na” chorus.

Daniels is looking forward to experiencing that rush one more time.

“It’s so much fun to see everyone up and having fun,” he said.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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