Skip to Content

Liverpool Philharmonic, one of the UK’s most forward-looking music organisations.

Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir Sing John Lennon’s Imagine in London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony

• Young singers take part in ceremony singing John Lennon’s Imagine with Liverpool Signing Choir
• John Lennon’s voice heard with the choirs from second verse of Imagine
• Re-mixed recording approved by Yoko Ono for performance in closing ceremony
• Ceremony watched by capacity 80,000 crowd at Olympic Stadium & estimated global TV audience of one billion

Kim Gavin’s Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was titled A Symphony of British Music to celebrate the fact that music has been one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years. Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir and Liverpool Signing Choir’s performance of John Lennon’s Imagine was followed by performances by George Michael, The Who, Annie Lennox and The Spice Girls in a ceremony that included many more global music stars brought together to celebrate the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the achievements of Team GB and the thousands of other Olympians who took part.

Liverpool Philharmonic was contacted by the London 2012 Ceremonies team with an invitation to Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir to take part in the Closing Ceremony. Music Director David Arnold traveled to Liverpool to supervise the recording of Imagine by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir at the City’s Elevator Studios. John Lennon’s voice is introduced in the second verse and can be heard singing along with Youth Choir. It is the first ever incursion into the original 8-track recording of Imagine and the final version had to be approved by Yoko Ono before it could be used in the closing ceremony.

As with Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, all participants were asked to keep their taking part in the Closing Ceremony a surprise.

Peter Garden, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Executive Director (Learning) said: “The dress rehearsal last Thursday was thrilling as the Choir got see all the artists who performed in the second half of the ceremony in rehearsal, so it’s been very difficult to keep tight-lipped about the content of the ceremony. It’s been the most brilliant thing to be a part of and we are so proud of our Youth Choir and representing our City.”

Ben Gibson aged 13 and one if the youngest members of Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir said: “It's been the best experience of my life!”

18-year-old Sarah Campbell whose performance in the Closing Ceremony was her last as member of the Choir said “It was the best way to end an amazing 7 years in Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir.”

Simon Emery, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir’s director of 14 years said: It’s been an incredible honour for the Choir to be involved in such a prestigious global event alongside so many superstars! It has been a totally amazing experience for us all - especially being asked to sing a song that is so universally loved and respected. During the recording session, when John Lennon's voice came in on the 2nd verse and we added backing vocals, it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!

“Being part of the closing ceremony has been an experience that the choir will remember for the rest of their lives. It was mind-blowing! Great credit to all members of the choir who work so hard to make the choir as successful as it is. We are so, so proud to have represented Liverpool on the international stage.”



Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir

Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir is one of the North West’s finest youth choirs, offering young singers from the region exceptional choral training and performance experience. The choir performs throughout the year at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and across the region. The choir regularly performs with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, has appeared on television and at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and has now added the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony performance to a global audience of one billion.

The choir’s repertoire covers a wide variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, folk and world music, and several composers have written works especially for the ensemble. Recent performances include Mahler Symphony No. 3, Orff Carmina Burana and Holst The Planets.

Photographs of the Closing Ceremony are available from accredited agencies Getty, Reuters, PA etc

Further information about Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir from Jayne Garrity, Head of Communications, Tel: 0151 210 3791/07967 364241, email

Back to the top of the page