What can I say about yesterday?

Yesterday was a dream I will never wake from, and yet so real. I am grounded in love and community.

John Lennon’s piano was on my lawn and in my dining room. You should have seen sweet wonderful Steve Schalchlin‘s hands dance on that piano, and heard him sing “Imagine”, “Will It Always Be Like This?” and so many other songs, bringing the piano to life!

I wish John Lennon had been here, and yet I think everyone felt he was – in spirit. Steve was a channeler for John Lennon’s energy through the music. Both of these amazing men have left their songs imprinted on my heart and my home.

Catherine reminded me that “Imagine” was one of the songs Noel chose to play at Bill’s memorial 12 years ago.

Noel and Catherine were here with Alec and me, as well as some of our great friends including Beth Reis (Safe Schools Coalition co-chair) and her partner Bah (Barbara), Anna Schlecht (who organized the anti-hate rally after Bill was assaulted – she is co-chair of Capital City Pride) and her partner Sarah. Jeff Kingsbury (founder and artistic director of Capital Playhouse, City Councilman and co-chair of the Capital City Pride), as was Washington State Representative Sam Hunt (long time ally to the glbtq community), Gery Gerst (Noel and Bill’s favorite teacher of all time), neighbors with their cool children & grandchildren, and other good people.

Caroline True, the creative director of The IMAGINE Piano Peace Project, is such a wonderful person and so was the filmmaker/videographer who was working with her, Craig Hastings. They were both so sensitive and caring and they have such a wonderful vision of what this project means and can be.

Thank you Kenny Goss and George Michael for letting our son Bill be a part of this project. Bill worked for peace when he was alive even leading a walkout at his middle school in protest against the first US war on Iraq. It’s very good to know he is still working for peace now.

There were news media folk, all respectful and easy to be with. One of them interviewed me before the piano was taken off the truck, and then told me he was also a victim of a hate crime. He hugged me and thanked me for all the work I do. Wow.

I will post some photos soon.


Tuesday afternoon became a concert and a sing-along in Gabi and Alec Clayton’s dining room, where their friends and family gathered around to sing songs on John Lennon’s piano.

Their friend, Los Angeles songwriter Steve Schalchlin, played a combination of Lennon’s songs and his original songs, including “Will It Always Be Like This,” a song written in honor of the Claytons and their younger son, Bill, who commit suicide in 1995 one month after being beaten by boys who asked him and a friend if they were gay. Bill Clayton, 17, was bisexual.


“This is their son, their loss,” said project creative director Caroline True. “It’s as important as the other things that people talk about in the press.”

Read all of the article
Lennon’s piano makes a peace appearance

by Venice Buhain ~ The Olympian ~ May 9, 2007

See the Olympian’s photo gallery:
Imagine Piano Tour.

Watch the Olympian’s video:
Imagine Peace Tour.


Read The Night John Lennon Died. on Steve Schalchlin’s Tuesday May 8th Living in the Bonus Round blog.


How this all began: “Lennon piano” ~ an email from Caroline True

Subject: Lennon piano
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007
From: Caroline True
To: Gabi Clayton

Dear Gabi

My name is Caroline True, I am working on a project with George Michael and his partner Kenny Goss.

George owns the piano on which John Lennon wrote the song Imagine, I am currently taking the piano on a peace mission to places where acts of violence have occurred on the anniversary of it’s occurrence and I would very much like to talk to you about the possibility of bringing the piano to Olympia.

We are taking pictures of each place we visit which will ultimately be used in a book with a chapter on each situation. There are pictures showing where we have been with the piano to date and much more in depth information on the project on our website www.lennonpiano.com.

We have read your story about Bill with great compassion and would be very honoured if you would consider our request to further able us to spread our message of peace.

I look forward to hearing from you

With very kind regards
Caroline True


A piece of music history was in Western Washington Tuesday as part of an art project promoting peace and nonviolence. The piano John Lennon used to compose the song “Imagine” sat outside Bill Clayton’s home in Olympia for several hours, as part of the “Piano Peace Tour.”

Watch the video:
John Lennon piano makes stop in Washington state filmed by
Seattle King 5 Television photographer/editor Alan Douglas.

2 thoughts on “What can I say about yesterday?”

  1. Hi Gabi, Isn’t the internet wonderful. I just watched the video posted by The Olympian Online, so moving. I had a candle lit her in my living room at the same time as you were listening to the piano recital.(allowing for time difference) I hope you felt me there too. 🙂 Please let me know when the book/video become available by the project. Love Elliot

  2. Hello Mrs. Clayton. I am a avid fan of George Michael and a staunch supporter of gay rights, and I was very moved when I read the story of your son and has passed it on to several of my friends and co-workers. I am very glad that the Imagine Piano Tour was able to bring some sense and peace to this nonsensical tragedy.



Leave a Comment

Skip to content