When 8-year-old Bill Webber first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show almost 50 years ago, he was not impressed.
The future organist and choirmaster at St. John's Episcopal Church in Versailles told his parents he didn't think the foursome had a future.
"I told my parents their guitars were out of tune, they sang through their noses, and they were off key," Webber remembered Sunday. But as he grew older and continued his studies in classical music, he learned to appreciate the song-writing prowess of one of the most successful musical groups of all time.
"I realized how good they were at writing popular songs," Webber said.
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Some of the Beatles' most popular songs were the centerpiece for a special Beatles Eucharist at St. John's on Sunday. Instead of hymns, the special service that raised money for the Woodford Food Pantry used Beatles' songs.
Webber and guitarist Ben Harper tweaked the lyrics of some of those songs to "Christianize" the music, Webber said.
Fortunately, the Beatles were influenced by eastern religion and many of their songs had spiritual overtones and weren't too tricky to tweak for worship service, Webber said.
The refrain for My Sweet Lord was changed from "Hare Krishna" to "Hallelujah."
The opening lyrics of Here, There and Everywhere were changed from "to lead a better life, I need my love to be there" to "To lead a better life, I need My Lord to be with me."
Webber tapped several musicians to play guitar, bass and other instruments. Joseph Ceo, an accomplished conductor who recently retired to Versailles, began the service with Eleanor Rigby on the violin.
This is the second year for the Beatles Eucharist, and it has been a hit.
Vickie Duff, a St. John's Episcopal parishioner who helped organize the Beatles Eucharist, said last year's event raised $2,000 for the Woodford Food Pantry. This year, they hoped to raise at least that much to help the pantry that serves 100 families each month.
"People have been doing Beatles Eucharists for at least 10 years," Duff said. But copyright laws prohibit people from playing Beatles' music unless the money goes to a charitable cause. Last year, the Woodford Food Pantry was raising money to build its own building. Thanks to St. John's and other generous donors, the pantry was able to raise the more than $375,000 needed for the new building, said Sharon Hardin, the executive director of the pantry. The pantry moved into its new building in February.
Money raised Sunday will go toward the food pantry's operations. It is mostly dependent on private donations, Hardin said.
"We are very, very blessed," Hardin said. "Woodford County does take care of its food pantry. We are always well stocked."
But Hardin said many people don't realize how many people in Woodford County need food.
The Rev. Philip Linder, the rector of St. John's, reminded those who attended Sunday that while Woodford County is known for its horse farms and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, just "blocks away are households without enough to eat."
Linder said before the service a donor gave $500 to the Woodford Food Pantry. He encouraged the more than 100 people who attended the Sunday service to exceed that single anonymous donation.
Quoting the Beatles' Let it Be, Linder said "When the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, There will be an answer, Let it be ... Let us be that light in the darkness."