Albert Square and St Ann's Square to host free public events on the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb
A series of inclusive, community-wide events have been organised to mark the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb, which killed 22 people and seriously injured many more.
Manchester Together - With One Voice will take place on the evening of Tuesday 22 May 2018 and will see regional choirs come together in song to share the spirit of solidarity and remember all those affected by the terrorist attack.
The anniversary event, to be held in Albert Square from 7pm, will culminate in a communal mass sing-along, with the final half hour broadcast live on Radio Manchester.
Manchester City Council, who are behind the event, has issued a call-out to existing choirs and singing groups from Greater Manchester and beyond to perform in the event (any groups interested in taking part should register their interest here by Monday 30 April).
A further music-related event called There Is A Light has also been announced, involving a projection of song lyrics onto St Ann’s Church and other parts of St Ann’s Square during the evenings of 22 and 26 May.
People are being asked to suggest lyrics, or even a single line from a song, which has a personal resonance for them via the council website by 4 May.
Families of the 22 who lost their lives in the attack and others seriously hurt, physically or psychologically, are being kept informed of plans as they develop and all have been invited to choose lyrics close to their hearts.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Music is in Manchester’s soul and it is only fitting that it should play a central part in marking what will be an emotional anniversary. 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. It is a fitting way for us to honour those who went full of joy to a music concert but never came back, or saw their lives changed forever.
“Sharing powerful and poignant lyrics will also underline the city's defiant spirit and help us collectively reflect on the events of 22 May, 2017 and their aftermath.
“In the words of Tony Walsh’s poem This Is The Place, which resonated with so many people in the dark days after attack, ‘We keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics.’”
A Civic Memorial Service will be held at Manchester Cathedral earlier on Tuesday 22 May, from 2-3pm, attended by an invited congregation including the families of those who lost their lives, those injured, first responders, civic leaders and senior national figures.
Space limitations mean this service is by invitation only, but the service will be relayed live on a big screen in Cathedral Gardens. The service will also be screened at York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.
Further details about another element of the 22 May commemorations, the Trees of Hope Trail through the city centre, will be announced soon. The trail, which begins on the weekend before the anniversary, will give people the opportunity to leave personal messages of hope and support for those affected, on trees placed at key locations around the city centre.
A permanent memorial to commemorate 22 May 2017 is still under discussion.