To Serve is to Rule

Mal Evans used to repeat frequently with a soft, knowing smile, “To serve is to rule.” He realized the power that came from being efficient, hard-working, dependable, and trustworthy. He knew the invaluable strength of being a person people can trust.


Mal didn’t do “earth-shaking” things. He set up Ringo’s kit and the boys’ amplifiers. He carried equipment in; he carried equipment out. He fetched tea from the EMI canteen. He shouldered the boys through crowds when necessary – and he shouldered their worries when he could. He listened. He kept Beatles secrets. But most of all, he invested himself in someone else’s future. And for The Beatles, that was more than enough. Mal’s role was crucial.


George Harrison said, “He loved his job; he was brilliant, and I often regret he got killed. Right to this day, I keep thinking, ‘Mal, where are you?’…he was such good fun, but he was also very helpful. He could do everything…and he always had everything. He was one of those people who loved what he was doing and didn’t have any problem about service. Everybody serves somebody in one way or another but some people don’t like the idea. [Mal] was very humble, but not without dignity.” For George and for all of The Beatles, Mal Evans was “the gentle giant.”


The Fest for Beatles Fans succeeds because we are blessed to have many gentle giants who help Mark, Carol, Michelle, and Jessica bring it to life two (and sometimes three) times a year. The Fest Family is blessed with a long-trusted staff of experts and artists who year after year “do their thing” to make the three jam-packed days smooth, seamless, and 100% fun! These behind-the-scenes folks put sparkle in the concerts, structure in the Marketplace, security in the entrances and exits, artwork in the lobbies and gathering rooms, questions in our interviews, and both sight and sound in the video/lecture/discussion rooms. Without our fest staff and volunteers, the fest could not exist. They are the people we trust to bring the Lapidos family’s ideas and concepts to fruition.


Many of you know the people I’m talking about…and you appreciate all they do, year after year. So, I’m going to ask you to write in and say “thank you” in the comments below. And I’m going to ask you to nominate one individual for a prize package of: 1) a signed/dated First Edition of Shoulda Been There (Vol. 1 in The John Lennon Series), 2) a signed/dated First Edition of She Loves You (Vol. 3 in The John Lennon Series), a signed/dated “Doors Of Liverpool” art poster, and a John Lennon portrait T-shirt by Rande Kessler. The staff member or volunteer who gets the most “thank you notes” and nominations from you in the next 14 days will win the honor of being our first Fest for Beatles Fans Mal Evans Service Award Winner!


However, we know that all of our staff members and volunteers are already prize winners. Over the years, they’ve won our respect, appreciation, and devotion. Year after year, I look forward to seeing these seemingly tireless men and women who are awake before I am and still going strong when I go to sleep…who’ve arrived days before I arrive at the Fest…and who stay to take it all down and pack it all up when I’m in the car, headed home for Louisiana. These men and women who comprise our Fest Family are our heroes. Let’s take a moment or so to tell them. I know George is glad he had the opportunity to tell Mal. You just never know.


And from me to everyone in our Fest Family, thank you. You may serve, but very truly…YOU RULE!!!


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series:


15 thoughts on “To Serve is to Rule


    In 1974 Mark Lapidos would become the Host
    A Fest for Beatle Fans that would run coast to coast
    They share with fans a common ground
    Their love for the Beatles, the best band around

    Thanks to the Lapidos family for laughter and fun
    Accept our thanks for all that you’ve done
    You’ve given Beatle Fans a place they can meet
    To gain hew friendships and memories to keep

    Each year we look forward to what may be new
    As there is always plenty that us fans can do
    Musicians, authors, artists and more
    Always something new behind every door

    To Fest Fans the Lapidos are like royalty
    40 years they have given us fans their loyalty
    We thanks them for the years of Fest they’ve have done
    We hope to look forward to many years to come

    For me it’s special each year what you do
    So here’s a special thanks from me to you
    I’ve gained back my love of writing you see
    This is the inspiration that you gave back to me

    Thanks to the Lapidos family for laughter and fun
    Accept my thanks for all that you’ve done
    You’ve given Beatle Fans a place they can meet
    I’ve gained new friendships and memories to keep

    Written by: Terri Whitney
    December 2014

  2. Everyone there is great. But Decco in the art room always has a smile and happy to talk.

  3. Robert J. D’Elia, PhD gets my vote! Always kind and willing to help. Love you, Dr. Robert, thanks for all you do!

  4. I’ve never met a Fest staffer I did not like! Kudos to Mark for putting and keeping together such a great team, year after year. But my heart and my daughters go to the infamous Dr. Robert. For as long as I can remember he has been guiding the events in the main ballroom from the side of the stage. Cuing the lights, the sound and the guests, always a smile on his face. My daughter is physically challenged, and due to her condition we are not there every year. But when we are Dr. Robert always finds us in the crowd and works his magic to get us seats in the front row. And every year, without fail, he finds some type of memento to give to my daughter. A guitar pick, a set-list signed by the members of Liverpool, a backstage photo with a special guest, and one year his staff badge which hangs on my daughters bedpost, along with her Special Olympics medals. If there is a Beatlesfest in Heaven, I know Dr Robert will be there….but not for a very, very long time… God Bless you Robert, Toni & Terry!

  5. The Fest is an almost yearly tradition for me and my kids. We always have a fabulous time and everyone is fantastic. Through the years we have gotten to know Robert D’Elia. We can’t imagine going to a Fest and not seeing him. We will run into him throughout the weekend and he’ll remind us to get to the Ballroom to see the next special guest or to watch Liverpool. He is the Fest’s in-house Social Director! THANK YOU, Dr. Robert! ~Bernadette, Jessica, and Brandon

  6. ‘Dr. Robert’ D’Elia!

    He does everything he can, Doctor Robert

    If you’re down he’ll pick you up, Doctor Robert

    Helping everyone in need
    No one can succeed like Doctor Robert

    As long as I’ve known Robert, he’s hardworking, behind the scenes, always has a smile on his face no matter what crisis he’s fixing, can always make you laugh whether you need to or not! Robert makes sure we all enjoy ourselves at the Fest, he’s invaluable! We LOVE Robert!!

    GiGi & Clar Monaco

  7. Thanks Robert D’Elia for getting my friends & I situated backstage when it was apparent, Mark Hudson(who was already onstage performing) had not mentioned anything to you & staff about wanting us to share our lobby jam fun with the his big audience on the big stage. You handled things beautifully. Thanks amigo. Mi voto es para ti !!

  8. Thank you Lapidos Family and Robert D’Ella for everything that you do in putting all these Fab Four festivities together! “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

  9. Everybody at the fest are great besides so talented, always making me happy, comfortable, and feeling at home! The person who stands out as the best among the bests, is Robert Delia! I love him so dearly!

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