Songs, music and sports will come together in a major event in Manchester to mark the end of the Beijing Olympics and the handover to London in preparation for the 2012 Games.
A 100-strong Sing Manchester choir will join with 24 other cities across the country in a massive Sing the Nation event to create the UK's biggest singalong as the Games finale and handover is broadcast on big outdoor screens on Sunday 24 August.
Manchester's own orchestra, the Hallé, who are currently celebrating their 150th anniversary, will perform a free outdoor concert featuring some favourite classics and there will be demonstrations of Olympic sports and the chance to have a go yourself.
Each city will sing a regional song led by a community choir. Manchester's song will be How Deep Is Your Love by the city's famous sons the Bee Gees, who grew up in Chorlton.
Then all 25 cities will sing together a new national song composed by Mike Brewer OBE, Director of the National Youth Choir, which promises a mix of elements of ancient English folk song with Monty Python. The words will be shown on the big screens so that everyone there can join in and sing along.
The choir and public singalong and the Hallé concert will take place in Albert Square, outside Manchester Town Hall. The sports demonstrations and chances to have a go will be in Exchange Square, outside the Triangle Shopping Centre.
The Manchester choir will be led by Jeff Borradaile, who teaches choral singing throughout the North West. It will be made up of members of the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, the Ordsall Acapella Singers, Salford, the Blackburn People's Choir and the Galloways Society for the Blind Choir from Preston and Morecambe.
An Olympic Handover Flag will be raised at Manchester Town Hall simultaneously with regions around the UK to celebrate the moment when London becomes the official Olympic Games host city.
A variety of sports led by Manchester Leisure's Sports Development Team will also be on show, including group exhibitions and come-and-try activities. Cheerleaders, cyclists and athletes will encourage people to get involved and join the Olympic buzz.
Coverage of the Olympic handover ceremony will be shown on big screens in both squares. From 3.45pm in Exchange Square you can also watch the London 2012 Party concert live on the Big Screen. Both events run from 1pm to 5.30pm.
"The city centre event will be an enjoyable way for all the family to mark the handover of the Games in preparation for the London Olympics in four years' time," said Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure.
"Sing Manchester is a great chance for local people to come along and join in the singing, even if you think you can't sing, and the chance to hear the Hallé free is not to be missed. Combined with the chance to see and try out Olympic sports, it all adds up to a great day out."
The Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, Sebastian Coe, said: 'When the Mayor of London accepts the Olympic Flag on 24th August, the eyes of the world will turn to London and the UK as the next Summer Host City.
"It is a very important and exciting moment for us, and we want as many people as possible to join in the Handover celebrations. We are delighted that so many local authorities share our excitement and are proudly displaying the Olympic Handover Flag to mark this very special moment on our journey to 2012."
Councillor Chris White, Chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport board, said: "While the Olympic Games in 2012 are happening in London, it's clear there's strong support for them throughout the length and breadth of the country. More than 400 councils have arranged parties and flag-raising events for August 24th to mark the start of an exciting four years.
"Authorities are already investing in sports facilities and promoting healthier living to ensure the legacy of the Olympic Games will be long-lasting. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for every part of the country to enjoy a boom in business, tourism and sporting excellence, and councils are ready to seize the opportunity."
Limited seating will be available in Albert Square for the Hallé concert but the organisers suggest that visitors should take their own chairs. Food and drink will be available or you could take your own but not in glass containers.
For more information about the event visit http://www.manchesterlive.co.uk/ .
Martin Hellewell, Press Office, tel: 0161 234 3729 .