A classic New Year Publication Northwest Herald Date January 01, 2006 Section(s) Local News Page
By JOSH STOCKINGER
CRYSTAL LAKE - Pat Rosine of England has no trouble recalling her first experience with the Beatles.
It was at a dance hall near London in 1961. Then age 14, Rosine said she went ballistic alongside hundreds of other fans as John, Paul, George, and Ringo took the stage.
"It was difficult, but I did hear them," Rosine, 59, said with a British accent. "Everyone was screaming."
In a toned-down atmosphere Saturday, Rosine sat calmly with family at the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, waiting to relive the past while celebrating the future.
She was one of about 300 party-goers packed into the historic structure for the first New Year's Eve bash since the Lakeside Legacy Foundation, a non-profit group, bought the building in 2002. The celebration included music from American English, one of America's most popular Beatles tribute groups, and Frank Sinatra look- and sound-alike Jack Muccio.
"We'll just have to wait and see," Rosine, who was visiting family in Schaumburg for Christmas, said of whether American English would stack up to the real thing.
Booking the act, which drew revelers from across the Chicago area and Wisconsin, came as a stroke of luck, foundation board member and event planner Ron Russell said.
A cancellation in the band's schedule and a little help from its friends at Best in Entertainment, a talent agency in Crystal Lake, cleared the way.
"It really was a team effort," said Russell, who estimated the fundraiser would net about $6,000 for the foundation's ongoing restoration efforts. "We put this thing together in three week's time."
Volunteers decorated the halls of the mansion's country club wing with balloons, Christmas lights and cardboard cutouts of Elvis Presley and James Dean. Sipping cocktails and singing karaoke, party-goers wore everything from concert T-shirts to formal suits and sparkling dresses.
Steve Schnitcke of Walworth, Wisc., snooped around the mansion's spacious hallways and rooms while waiting for American English to take the stage.
Schnitcke, who drives a bus regularly in Harvard and Crystal Lake, said he drives to every American English show within an hour's drive of his house and also has always wanted to get an inside peak at the mansion. Then, a sign advertising the party caught his eye.
"I thought, 'Well, I'll kill two birds with one stone,' " Schnitcke said. "This way, I get to see the mansion and I get to see the band."