Three classic Mancunian songs and an Ariana Grande number will form the singalong finale of The Manchester Together – With One Voice event on 22 May.
The Albert Square event, part of a programme marking one year since the Manchester Arena terror attack, will see an array of local choirs come together in song to share the spirit of solidarity and remember all those affected by the Manchester Arena attack – culminating in a huge communal singalong. The combined choirs will feature around 3,500 voices, with every choir which applied to take part involved in the performance at some point.
The songs for the finale have been confirmed as Ariana Grande’s One Last Time, One Day Like This by Elbow, Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis and Never Forget by Take That.
Among the participating choirs are Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up people who were at the Arena on the night of the attack, mostly parents and children, and met through a social media network set up for those affected; Parrs Wood High School’s Harmony Group, whose post-attack tribute went viral last year and Bee Vocal, the Manchester mental health choir composed of people who have experienced mental health issues and have come together to share the healing power of music.
A number of one-off choirs have also been specially created for the event including A City United choir, combining Manchester City FC’s Community Choir and Manchester United Foundation Youth Choir; a choir bringing together several Greater Manchester workplace choirs and an emergency services choir combining the North West Ambulance Service, Greater Manchester Police male voice , Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service choirs.
A youth choir will bring together children and young people from schools and organisations across Greater Manchester.
There will also be a performance from Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus and AMC gospel choir, with many other choirs contributing to the massed One Voice choir which will lead communal singing.
Manchester Together – With One Voice starts from 7pm with video messages before a short civic introduction before the choral performance gets underway at 7.30pm, with the mass singalong finale between 8.30pm and 9.30pm.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Having so many people united in harmony will be a powerful tribute to those who lost their lives or had them changed forever while attending a music concert. It will also be a demonstration of the power of music to bring people together in solidarity and shared emotion. We know people from Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond will come together with one voice to share a message of hope and resilience.”
Cath Hill, Co-founder Manchester Survivors Choir, said: "It was a love of music that brought us together in the first place last May and after a few months of talking online we decided to use this love of music in a positive way to help ourselves by starting a choir.
"Meeting up in person and getting support from each other whilst doing something we love has been helpful for all of us. Our members were all at the Arena concert and performing together on the anniversary of that is not going to be easy, but will be a huge step forward for us.
"We want to show the world that after months of talking and trying to come to terms with what happened, we are here now, and are determined to get on and do something positive with our lives."
Anyone who can’t make it along to the Manchester Together – With One Voice will still be able to add their voices wherever they are. The singalong will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester and Key 103.
It will also be shown live on the big screen in the Piazza at MediaCityUK and played over the PA systems at Manchester Airport as Greater Manchester comes together.