Thousands of residents from across the city-region threw open their windows and took to their doorsteps and balconies to join Together in One Voice, a joyous mass singalong on Thursday 28 May at 7.30pm, supported by a host of top musical talent.
The singalong was accompanied by a specially-arranged soundtrack, streamed on the night for people to join in with via MIF LIVE (Manchester International Festival’s online channel), featuring performances by virtual choirs and musicians from across the city region, which had been specially recorded during lockdown.
Liam Gallagher, Mark Owen of Take That, James’ Tim Booth, Emeli Sande, Mike Pickering from M People, Tom Walker, Denise Johnson, Liam Fray from The Courteeners and Aitch, all appeared on screen on the night, via the live-stream, to introduce the public’s renditions of their songs.
Kicking off the introductions ahead of the opening song, Take That’s Shine, Mark Owen said: “We’re made up to have one of our songs chosen to be the opening song for the evening, the beginning of the party….so Manchester, Greater Manchester, it is time Together in One Voice for you to Shine!”
The playlist of hits - which was also broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester – continued with Martha and the Vandellas’ Dancing In The Streets, Emeli Sande’sYou Are Not Alone, Tom Walker’s Leave A Light On, James’ Sit Down, and M People’s Search for The Hero.
Following an intermission for what may have been the final Clap for Carers, the set list finished up with crowd-pleaser Wonderwall by Oasis, introduced by Liam Gallagher with the words: “Hello Manchester, I hear you’re having a bit of a singalong tonight. Well I’m here to introduce the mother of all singalongs, the one and only Wonderwall. Turn it up!”
A host of other stars also delivered a series of messages of support ahead of the singing including: Coronation Street actors Jennie McAlpine, Simon Gregson and Julia Goulding, DJ and musician Clint Boon, Rowetta and Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays, Mani from the Stone Roses, bands including Blossoms and The Lottery Winners and artists including Jenna G, Slay, Evabee and Oneda, and Manchester City footballer Phil Foden.
The doorstep singalong was captured on the night with drones, street cameras and footage from residents for an extended broadcast featuring interviews with artists and participants which will be broadcast on Sunday 31 May, 6pm exclusively on MIF Live.
The event was delivered by social entrepreneur Rose Marley and Manchester International Festival, alongside Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), and was supported by Co-op.
Rose Marley, Event Director, said: ‘My heart sang with the city-region tonight. I stepped outside and everyone was out singing and waving across the street. Let's not forget community as we start to build back’
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "What a brilliant event! Hearing the city streets filled with music and voices and humour again after so long was just wonderful. Something special happened on the doorsteps of Greater Manchester tonight and reminded us not just of what we've missed over these last ten weeks of lockdown, but also of what we will have again in the future - friendship, connection, and real hope for better times ahead very soon for everyone."
John McGrath, Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival said: “Tonight was a fantastic example of how people can come together even in the most extraordinary times. We hope that people found it joyful and uplifting and that this feeling of connection, through music and song, will continue to resonate across Greater Manchester and beyond."
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "The act of singing together is so powerful. Tonight was something else, an amazing event of a kind that only Greater Manchester can do.”
Matt Atkinson, Chief Membership Officer at Co-op said: “As a business we actively support the mental and physical wellbeing of our communities and, at times like these, it’s so important we all come together. This event has been a great way to lift the spirits of the city region and say thanks to those that are working tirelessly on the frontline in our fight against coronavirus – including our own colleagues.”