The Cyrkle will take the Fountain Park stage on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. (Photo submitted)
The Cyrkle will take the Fountain Park stage on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. (Photo submitted)
VAN WERT – Those that love 60s music, stories from the past, and have an interest in hearing tales from a band that toured with The Beatles will find the perfect entertainment during Friday’s Fountain Park concert in the park when The Cyrkle takes the stage.

Original member Don Dannemann said that the mix of music and stories keeps the crowd entertained and wanting more.

“The stories that go along with the songs, make it way more interesting than just getting up and playing the songs,” said Dannemann. “No matter how good you are, if you get up and just play songs, it gets a little ho-hum after awhile. The stories keep the interest going.”

The band will tell stories about their tour with The Beatles, how they met Paul McCartney, how they technically opened for The Beatles one night, how they got their name, and more.

The Cyrkle got their start as a group of guys who enjoyed playing music together while enrolled in Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. In those days, the band was known as The Rhondells.

“We were discovered by a New York divorce attorney named Nat Weiss,” said Dannemann. “Nat Weiss was a good friend of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. They got together to form a management company in the United States. Nat saw us performing before we were The Cyrkle.”

Years later, Dannemann took Weiss up on an offer to get in touch with them, and the band, still known as The Rhondells at the time, signed to Columbia Records.

“Here we were; we’re now Columbia Record artists, and we’re in the process of starting to record,” said Dannemann. “During one of the sessions, Brian, who was in town, came up and says, ‘Oh Don, by the way, here,’ and he hands me his business card. I’m looking at the card, and I see it says Brain Epstein on one side, and he turns it over and on the other side, scribbled, I see writing.”

Dannemann couldn’t quite make out the writing until Epstein said that it read, “The Cyrkle.” Dannemann explained that when The Beatles heard the band’s name was The Rhondells and that they were looking to change the name, John came up with “The Cyrkle,” with the unique spelling, and wrote it on the card for Epstein to present to them.

Thus, The Cyrkle was named by John Lennon, himself.

For Dannemann personally, music was something he was always interested in, but in college, he obtained a degree in industrial engineering with the thought that after graduation, he would work for his father who was a sheet metal manufacturer.

“I was always interested in music, but I never thought it would necessarily be a career,” said Dannemann. “Whenever I had the chance I always got involved in music.”

Dannemann recalled when he got a transistor radio and heard “Story Untold” by the Nutmegs, which was his first big introduction into rock n roll.

“It was sort of like a fish living in a bowl finally found the ocean,” said Dannemann. “It was mind-blowing, and I still remember listening to that radio and missing my favorite television programs of that evening.”

Even after The Cyrkle broke up in 1968, Dannemann found a way to stay in music. He had a commercial production company which did music and audio work for advertising agencies.

While The Cyrkle had several songs chart on the top 100, their most famous by far is “Red Rubber Ball,” which Friday’s audience can expect to hear. However, the band will also be playing lesser-known Cyrkle songs, as well as other songs from the 60s era.

“We found that people on The Cyrkle Facebook page began requesting some of the other stuff,” said Dannemann. “Many of the other songs that we do, obviously we’re a 60s band, so we play other songs of that general era.”

Dannemann said that the difference between playing other songs as a cover band and what The Cyrkle does is that the songs they play have a meaning behind them personally. For instance, one of the songs the group performs is “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles. “Paperback Writer” was the song that kept “Red Rubber Ball” out of the number one spot on the charts.

“It was really thrilling to play on the tour [with The Beatles],” said Dannemann. “The vibes – especially the first concert, it was the most incredible electric vibes that I’ve ever experienced. You saw girls jumping out of their seat and people crying; it was just so, so exciting.”

“The bottom line of this whole thing, I am thrilled after all of these years to find out the effect I’ve had as a part in this venture, that I really had an effect on thousands and thousands of people’s lives, and I now get to hear about a few of them,” said Dannemann of playing in The Cyrkle. “That part is just awesomely cool. I am now 70 years old, and I’m still rockin’ and rollin’, and it’s fun.”

The Cyrkle will take the Fountain Park stage on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m.