Students from Staten Island’s Public School 22 joined fans to come together and celebrate John Lennon’s birthday by performing his anthemic ‘Imagine’ in Strawberry Fields, Central Park in New York City on 9 October.
While the living memorial is normally a quiet zone, the Imagine Circle became a place of music and celebration, as a chorus of fifth-graders sang John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s utopic song of world peace, among some of his other iconic hits.
Despite the majority of them being born not during Lennon’s lifetime, many of the students responded to the message of his music, with one student sharing “I like Across The Universe’ because it warms my heart a lot and sometimes I tear up”.
The choir program at PS 22 is more than just an after-school extracurricular, it provides a creative outlet to the students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many fans from all over the country came to pay their respects to the late Beatle and prolific singer-songwriter at the Imagine Circle, which was originally dedicated on Lennon’s birthday in 1985.
Following his untimely death in 1980, Lennon’s legacy has become a part of the fabric of New York, with fans honouring his memory at the site every year.
Events celebrating Lennon’s 78th birthday took place across New York City and beyond, including the unveiling of a new blue and white cloud mosaic titled ‘Sky’ at the reopened subway station at 72nd St and Central Park West, designed by Yoko Ono.
Far outside of Manhattan, the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavík, Iceland beamed into the sky, to mark the occasion of Lennon’s birthday. First unveiled in 2007, the tower uses searchlights with prism mirrors to project a giant column of light and is lit every year on his birthday and kept illuminated until the date of his death on 8 December.
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