Video – Liverpool Cathedral Bells play Lennon’s Imagine

By Ian Jackson, Art in Liverpool.com, 16 May 2009

Actually being there in front of the great cathedral with a crowd of people listening intently was quite an experience. It sounded quite melancholic and moving but it maybe doesn’t translate well onto this bit of video. The campanologists did a great job, I struggled to keep the wind and occasional spots of rain off the camera. But at least it gives some idea of the event. This is the second performance which took place at 12.30 today Saturday 16 May 2009, my first attempt at noon wasn’t so good as I struggled with the weather conditions. An excellent piece of sound art.

Following on from Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year, John Lennon’s Imagine is to ring out across Liverpool on the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Futuresonic has commissioned artist Cleo Evans in collaboration with Sam Austin, Liverpool Ringing Master and other local change ringers to create this special event. This is the first time a popular, and secular, song has been played on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells, the highest and heaviest peal of bells in the world. With thirteen bells arranged around ‘Great George’, a central ringing bell which weighs over 14 tons, they can be heard for miles around. The rendition of one of Lennon’s most celebrated songs is set to become a simultaneous and collective city-wide experience.

ldpjog

John Lennon’s Imagine rings out on Liverpool Cathedral bells

By Samantha Parker, Liverpool Daily Post, May 17 2009
Crowds listen to Imagine, being played on Liverpool Cathedral's bells

JOHN Lennon’s iconic song Imagine rang out three times across Liverpool at the weekend.

The song, which asks its listeners to “imagine there’s no heaven”, was played on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells as part of the North West’s Futuresonic festival on Saturday.

Cathedral ringer Sam Austin, 23, a student at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, led the team of seven volunteer bell ringers who graduated from playing the melody on hand-bells to the cathedral’s world record-beating peal.

Sam was given the tricky task of translating Lennon’s original music into a format which could be successfully performed on church bells.

Stuart Haynes, media manager for the cathedral, said: “We were really pleased with how it went on Saturday. There were on average between 200-300 people listening to each performance.

“I think everybody who heard it really appreciated it because they broke into spontaneous applause each time.

“It was a difficult challenge for the bell ringers and I heard them mention they may try to take it to New York and do it again there.

“They are unlikely to do it again here because I think they will be looking for a new song and a new challenge.

“The song was an interesting choice and I think it did shock people, but it has got them talking about the song and the role God plays in their life.

“I think people believed that while they may not agree with the contents of the song, they should talk about it.

“It started a conversation which they may not have otherwise had, and we are pleased with that too.

“It also brought people into the Cathedral, engaging with us.

“There was a lot of interest in the competition we are running for 13 to 25-year-olds, getting them to look what the ‘I’ in imagine means to them.”

The bell ringers had a well-deserved break yesterday.

Mr Haynes added: “They really enjoyed it, especially when they realised it was so well received. Initially they had no idea whether anyone had listened.”

livcatbells

Message from Yoko Ono:

Dear Drew, Cleo, Sam and Liverpool Cathedral Guild of Change Ringers

The sound of your bells will travel around the world and remind people of John Lennon and his belief that there is an urgent need for world peace… like the church bell in the town, which used to ring as the warning to people about impending disasters like flood and fire!

Thank you for thinking of a very important way of bringing change to the consciousness of the world.

I will hear your bells, too, in New York where I will be working that day.

Think Peace, Spread Peace, IMAGINE PEACE!

We are all together.

I love you!

Yoko Ono Lennon

May 2009

 

IMAGINE Bell ringing times at Liverpool Cathedral                

Sat 16 May 2009: 12pm, 12.30pm, 1.00pm

Following on from Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year, John Lennon’s Imagine is to ring out across Liverpool on the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Futuresonic has commissioned artist Cleo Evans in collaboration with Sam Austin, Liverpool Ringing Master and other local change ringers to create this special event. This is the first time a popular, and secular, song has been played on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells, the highest and heaviest peal of bells in the world. With thirteen bells arranged around ‘Great George’, a central ringing bell which weighs over 14 tons, they can be heard for miles around. The rendition of one of Lennon’s most celebrated songs is set to become a simultaneous and collective city-wide experience.

“Imagine, is an incredibly gentle, philosophical, moving and iconic song which speaks strongly of the need for peace. The performance intends to provide a way of engaging with completely new audiences and participants – from the people who stumble across this piece as it is being performed, to locals who visit the cathedral, and change ringers performing new works.”
Cleo Evans

“Playing this iconic secular song on these Cathedral bells highlights the tolerance combined with brass and gall common to both Liverpool and Manchester, and gives a contemporary twist to a musical technology thousands of years old.”
Festival Director, Drew Hemment.

“The request to have Imagine played on the Cathedral bells as part of this year’s Futuresonic festival was, from the very beginning, a challenging proposal technically but we have a great bell ringing team here and we obviously took into consideration sensitivities surrounding the song’s lyrical content. The Cathedral has been very much at the heart of the city’s Capital of Culture celebrations and is delighted to embrace the city’s artistic energy. The proposed performance will inspire thought as it yearns for peace in a broken and troubled world. We also anticipate that the performance will be a very moving and spiritual experience and will engage with all people including those who do not usually interact either with places of worship.”
Cathedral Spokesperson

Biography

Cleo Evans is a site specific artist who often works on temporary installations in the public domain. She works with a cross fertilisation of mediums, as a creative producer, coordinator and arts animator. She is currently Arts Officer for Dorset County Council, and in 2008 was nominated for the National Women of the Year Award.

Sam Austin hails from Liverpool, and is currently studying for a masters degree in music performance, at the Royal Northern College of Music. His bell ringing career began in 1992, and presently, he is ringing master of the Liverpool Branch of Change Ringers, and secretary of the Liverpool Cathedral ringers. He also works as an organist at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

 

Futuresonic Urban Festival of Art, Music & Ideas, Manchester, UK

liverpoolecho1

Imagine by Beatle John Lennon to ring out over Liverpool


Beatle John Lennon’s famous tune, Imagine, will ring out across Liverpool city centre when its rung on the bells of Liverpool Cathedral as part of the north west’s Futuresonic festival. 

Filmed and edited by Jo Kelly for LiverpoolEcho.co.uk.

liverpoolecho1

Final rehearsals for John Lennon’s Imagine which will be rung on Liverpool Cathedral bells on Saturday

by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo, 14 May 2009
 
FINAL rehearsals are taking place ahead of a unique performance of John Lennon’s Imagine this weekend.

Liverpool Cathedral bell-ringers will chime out the iconic song, which includes the lyrics “imagine there’s no heaven”, three times on Saturday.

Organisers of the event, part of the north west’s Futuresonic festival, have received a message of support from Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono.

She said: “The sound of your bells will travel around the world and remind people of John Lennon and his belief there is an urgent need for world peace…like the church bell in the town which used to ring as the warning to people about impending disasters like flood and fire.

“Thank you for thinking of a very important way of bringing change to the consciousness of the world.

“Think peace, spread peace, imagine peace.”

Sam Austin, 23, who transcribed the song to be played on the bells, said: “Apparently John Lennon was a ringer at Peter’s Church in Woolton. He got booted out from Confirmation class which meant he had to leaves the bell ringers too.

“We’re all really enjoying it, but I’m very strict as we can’t afford to have any mistakes.

“The tune itself is quite simple, so I’ve put in some harmonies to make it more interesting.”

Imagine will be played three times on Saturday – at noon, 12.30pm and 1pm.

Liverpool Cathedral is also organising a number of activities around the event.

Immediately after the final ringing, visitors will be able to enjoy performances from a local talent including MD Productions, Beatlife and the cathedral’s own Overcrofters.

There will be an exhibition of Andrew Brown’s Imagine portraits while the tower will be open shortly after the final performance.

The cathedral is also launching a competition – Putting the I into Imagine – aimed at young people aged 13 to 25 and in full time education, to encourage them to think about issues raised in the song.

Canon Dr Jeremy Duff said: “We wanted to generate an open debate.

“Imagine brings up many issues young people want to engage with – whether or not they believe there’s a heaven, how war affects modern life, if peace is realistic, what the ‘credit crunch’ might say about materialism and simply imagining their own perfect world in words, art or music.

“We’re also delighted to have the opportunity to raise money for the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal.”

The competition closes on June 14.

For more details call 0151-702 7243 or contact
kate.holcombe@liverpoolcathedral.org.uk.
catherine.jones@liverpool.com

Liverpool Daily Post

John Lennon’s Imagine to ring out on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells

By Catherine Jones, Liverpool Daily Post, 27 Feb 2009.

Liverpool Cathedral

HE FAMOUSLY described it as “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional and anti-capitalistic’.

But now John Lennon’s magnum opus Imagine – dubbed one of the greatest songs of all time – is to be performed on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells.

The landmark’s experienced team of bellringers will play the song – whose lyrics invite listeners to “imagine there’s no heaven” and ”no religion too” – in May.

The performance is part of the North West’s Futuresonic festival.

Cathedral leaders today said they had considered the sensitivity surrounding the song’s lyrics, but hoped the unusual performance would “inspire” listeners.

A spokesman said: “The request to have Imagine played on the cathedral bells was, from the beginning, a challenging proposal technically, but we have a great bell ringing team and we obviously took into consideration sensitivities surrounding the song’s lyrical content.

“The proposed performance will inspire thought as it yearns for peace in a broken and troubled world.

“We also anticipate it will be a very moving and spiritual experience and will engage with all people including those who don’t usually interact with places of worship.”

Festival director Drew Hemment, who founded Futuresonic in 1995, hailed the cathedral’s involvement as reflecting the city’s “famous tolerance and courage.”

He said: “After experiencing Liverpool’s appetite for diverse and engaging artworks during Capital of Culture, we started to look seriously at what world-class premieres Futuresonic could bring to the city.

“When the idea of Imagine being ‘broadcast’ over church bells, was suggested, I realised it had to happen in Liverpool and the Anglican Cathedral would be the ideal partner.

“Their support for the project has been fantastic and reflects the city’s famous tolerance and courage. This event celebrates the unique spirit of Liverpool that runs through both the cathedral and Lennon’s secular message.”

Imagine, written in 1971, opens with the lines: “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.

“No hell below us, above us only sky.”

Installation artist Cleo Evans will conduct the bellringers on what are the highest and heaviest peal of bells in the world.

Futuresonic takes place from May 13-16.

Details on www.futuresonic.com

Facebook Comments

comments

Tagged with:  

3 Responses to John Lennon’s Imagine rang out on Liverpool Cathedral bells

  1. artinliverpool says:

    Hi,
    thought you might like to see my video of the occasion. It was beautiful and moving, glad we were there.
    http://www.artinliverpool.com/blog/2009/05/video-liverpool-cathedral-bells-play-lennons-imagine/

    Peace.
    Ian Jackson, artinliverpool

  2. Phil Bellamy says:

    A more fitting anthem for peace does not exist! So great to hear that Liverpool Cathedral are doing this.

    If only the world would unclench it’s fist!

    Thank you John and Yoko

    Peace to the world!

  3. flora says:

    this is fantastic! i just wrote to the futuresonic festival asking them to stream it live! according to the Liverpool Cathedral website, “The cathedral has the highest (67m/219feet) and heaviest (31tons) peal of church bells in the world.” what a perfect way to say: no more fighting about religion! thank you john, thank you yoko, for the beautiful brilliance of your art!!

Leave a Reply

TWITTER



INSTAGRAM

Instagram


IMAGINE PEACE © 2014 Yoko Ono

Empowered by REVL8

.

FACEBOOK



%d bloggers like this: