2021 marks 50 years since the writing, recording and release of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, perhaps the greatest peace anthem of the 20th century. Strawberry Field, the latest addition to Beatles tourism and now open to the public, have commenced celebrations by inviting Joe Worthington, a student from Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to play the very piano on which John Lennon composed and recorded ‘Imagine’.
The Liverpool Signing Choir, joined by Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister and Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director of Strawberry Field accompanied the piano, signing the words to the inspirational song.
Joe said: “Being a student in Liverpool and at LIPA, The Beatles, their music, influence and legacy is ingrained in me. Playing Imagine, such an anthem of peace, on the piano that John Lennon wrote and recorded it on was brilliant.
“When I was asked to do it, I did a double take, I couldn’t process it. Still can’t! To sit where he once sat is quite emotional. It feels like I’m touching a piece of history, it’s like I’m a part of it.”
Alongside Joe, The Liverpool Signing Choir were asked to sign the lyrics to the song. A unique, city wide and inclusively diverse choir based in Liverpool, they have performed at events across Europe, notably, performing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird, who is Honorary President of Strawberry Field, was present with the choir and signed alongside them. Julia said: “It was an honour and a privilege to sign this wonderful peace anthem with the Liverpool Signing Choir. We were accompanied by a Joe, on John’s iconic Imagine piano, inside the exhibition at Strawberry Field. A five star treat all round.”
The piano was delivered to Strawberry Field on 9 October 2020 to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday.
Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director of Strawberry Field said: “In October 2020 as we welcomed the piano into its new home here, we saw the impact that this fabulous piano had, not just on visitors to our exhibition but even further afield, across the entire city of Liverpool.
“At a time when there was so much fear and uncertainty around Covid-19, it was a beacon of hope, light at a dark time. As the country emerges from another lockdown, I hope people will be inspired by this performance to reimagine a better world in the here and now, where we are not divided by what we believe, or how we look, or where we live. ”