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Beatles friends to discuss group's first U.S. visit to kick off anniversary week

Singer Donovan, who'll be among the panelists for "It Was 50 Years Ago Today .."
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

New York's 92Y and the Fest for Beatles Fans announced Jan. 10 that a panel of Beatles pals and associates, including singers Donovan, Peter Asher and Billy J. Kramer, will share intimate memories and anecdotes of the Beatles' first U.S. visit at an event titled "It Was 50 Years Ago Today ..." on the eve of the weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in New York.

The panel discussion, to take place Feb. 6 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, will feature singer-songwriter Donovan, singer Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon, singer Billy J. Kramer, Vince Calandra, who substituted for George Harrison during rehearsals for “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Freda Kelly, secretary of the Beatles Official Fan Club and subject of the documentary “Good Ol' Freda” giving their thoughts. The discussion will be moderated by Beatles scholar Martin Lewis.

The event will be a conversation with some of the Beatles' closest friends and colleagues, who will reflect on the anniversary and on the half-century of the Beatles' enduring popularity. Presented in partnership with the Fest for Beatles Fans, which is hosting its 120th convention in New York City on the anniversary weekend of February 7-9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, it serves as a preview for the three-day-long fan convention.

Tickets for the panel discussion, which start at $29, are on sale at the venue website. Tickets for the Fest for Beatles Fans, which also includes DJ Cousin Brucie, Chad & Jeremy, Ringo All-Starr Mark Rivera, the Birds of Paradox, Mark Hudson, the Smithereens, the Nutopians, photographers Mark Shanahan, Bob Gruen and Allen Tannenbaum, and a host of authors, among them Bruce Spizer, Larry Kane, Mark Lewisohn, Jude Southerland Kessler, David Bedford, Jere Hester, Chuck Gunderson, Al Sussman, Robert Rodriguez, Vivek Tiwary and Judith Kirsten, are available at the Fest website.

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