It somehow feels like less than just under a year since the Manchester Arena bombing. Such an unexpected attack on our home soil leaves fresh memories. But it almost has been a year, with the first anniversary coming on May 22nd.
As devastating as the bombing was, it was a tragedy that bought the country together, and it is in this way Manchester council are planning to mark the passing of one year. They’ve call choirs across the city to come together for a singalong. The event takes its inspiration from the spontaneous singalong of Oasis’s classic Don’t Look Back in Anger during a minute’s silence following the bombing.
It’s to be called Manchester Together – With One Voice, and it will be held on May 22nd in Albert Square, a year to the day since 22 people were killed by suicide bomber Salman Abedi at an Ariana Grande concert. The One Voice event will finish with a communal singalong from 8.30pm to 9pm. The event will be held at Manchester Cathedral, where a civic memorial service will also be held for a congregation that includes emergency service members and the families of those who were injured or lost their lives in the attack.
If you want to be part of this moment, choirs and singing groups have until April 30th to register. If you can’t attend yourself, you can always listen in live via BBC Radio Manchester. The service will also be screened live at Glasgow Cathedral, York Minster, and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool.
In the words of Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester city council: “We saw in the aftermath of the 22 May attack how spontaneous song captured the city’s spirit, its solidarity and refusal to give in to hatred. Coming together in song will once again demonstrate that remarkable sense of togetherness and we invite choirs who can help lead us in raising our voices to get in touch.”
Leese finished by quoting a poem from Manchester-born poet Tony Walsh first read at a public vigil just after the bombing: ““We keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics.”
Plans for a permanent memorial are yet to be confirmed, but the council seems to be set on a “Trees of Hope trail”. People will be allowed to leave messages on trees placed around the city in the days leading up to the bombing’s anniversary.