Beatlemania takes hold on St. Peter’s

Saanich church hosts Liverpool Singalong to benefit Syrian refugees

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson

There are a lot of Beatles tribute acts and cover bands, but there’s something a bit more special about this Friday’s Liverpool Singalong at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

For starters, the show’s Brian Richardson, of Sidney, grew up with John Lennon, attending the same high school in Liverpool.

“Whenever I mention where I’m from, people say, ‘Oh, The Beatles!’” he said. “They don’t believe me, of course.”

His history with the legendary musician led to the idea for the evening of music, which is raising money for the church’s 2 Saints + Friends Syrian refugee sponsorship.

“When people found out I went to school with Lennon, a couple of them immediately came up with this idea before there were any Syrian refugees,” said Richardson. “The idea was totally St. Peter’s.

“I like to play a selection of Beatles songs from time to time because I know people like to sing after church is over. They’re always dancing in the aisles or singing along, so I think it arose out of that.”

Richardson and several other musicians will be performing a selection of songs from the Fab Four, allowing the audience to sing along to the beloved Beatles tunes.

“The whole idea, in my mind, was to try to replicate something that was very commonplace in Liverpool at this age where families would get together to make music,” he said. “This singalong, I want it to be something like that.”

In addition, Richardson will share about a half-dozen stories about life in post-war Liverpool and fond memories of growing up with one of the greatest songwriters of all time, including when he returned from his first year at the University of Oxford and saw Lennon again.

“We had a get-together at the old school at the end of the university year and Lennon appeared at one of these suppers,” recalled Richardson.

“It turned out there was this kid twanging three chords on a guitar, and another kid who turned out to be Paul McCartney, and another kid on a double bass made out of a tea chest and a piano string. They called themselves The Quarrymen and they played and it was just awful – but this was the absolute beginning of The Beatles.”

The Liverpool Singalong kicks off this Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, located at 3939 St. Peter’s Rd. behind the building at 3939 Quadra St.


Tickets are $20 at the door with money going to 2 Saints + Friends. Tea and biscuits will be served. Guitars, tambourines and pennywhistles are welcome.