“All you need is love.”
That is the message The Beatles transmitted to the world during the very first globally televised broadcast on June 25, 1967, when they debuted their new single on a British program called “Our World.” Since 2009, that important date in music and broadcast history has been used to celebrate Global Beatles Day.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah is throwing its own Global Beatles Day celebration on June 25 with a guest-packed tribute concert to the Fab Four. The fundraiser, with proceeds going to the ministries of the UUCS, is being organized and hosted by soprano and music educator Rebecca Flaherty, who, with little help from her friends, will perform a program of classic Beatles songs.
Flaherty will be singing some songs and providing percussion with a cajon — drum sets tend to overwhelm the relatively small church sanctuary. Other musicians include “Georgia” Kyle Shiver (electric guitar) who is music director of Unity Savannah, Marc Chesanow (bass), Judy Williams (acoustic guitar) of folk group Cynergy, Sara Breyfogle (harmonium), Kelly Blackmarr (flute, synthesizer and other instruments)who is music director of Unitarian Universalist Church, as well as many others.
Flaherty is also excited to have Dave Murray, the head of the classical piano department at Georgia Southern University, joining the band. “He is this incredible classical pianist, but he’s also a Beatles-head,” said Flaherty. “He has taught a couple of History of the Beatles courses at Georgia Southern, as well. When he heard I was doing this, he was like, ‘I’m there.’ So, he’s been driving out every Tuesday from Statesboro just to do these rehearsals and do this concert with us and every time I look over and see him I’m like, ‘what is this Karma? What did I do to deserve this?’”
Another terrific artist in the program is the soulful singer Laiken Love who recently did an Etta James tribute concert at Tybee Post Theater. “She doesn’t really know a lot of Beatles tunes, so she’s learning them and she sounds great on them,” said Flaherty. “She's of the next generation. She’s a young singer coming up and learning the Beatles, and that warms my heart.”
Those who cite George Harrison as their favorite Beatle will be excited to learn that Flaherty has also secured a sitar and tabla player for the show.
“I can’t believe my luck,” said Flaherty. “This thing has come together effortlessly. ...it was just meant to be. ...I’ve put on a lot of concerts and this one has been a joy. No stress.”
Besides music, anyone who attends in their best Beatles-theme costume can participate in a contest judged by Clinton Edminster, Molly Lieberman, and Jake Kawatsh, who also provided decorations for the show including a yellow submarine suspended from the chandelier. There will be many prizes including a Let It Bee gift basket from Savannah Bee Co. for winners of the costume contest.
The festivities will continue after the concert in the parking lot outside with food, wine and, of course, more Beatles’ music.
Like the message of love sent out from their satellite broadcast, many the messages expressed in the Beatles’ catalog align with the values of the Unitarian church.
“There’s a lot of parallels between the messages that the Beatles upheld and the 7 Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Church,” explained Flaherty. “There’s a couple of little love songs thrown in there for good measure. One of the things I really love about the Beatles is that a lot of their great songs aren’t really love songs. They’re about deeper things. There’s something for everyone.
“Everyone has come together for this, throwing in whatever they can and it’s a real community effort,” she added. “I hope it’s the first of an annual event because I think we need to celebrate Global Beatles Day every year.”