On Tuesday 22nd May 2018, one year on from the atrocities that took place at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester when 22 innocent people were killed and hundreds more injured, I will be travelling with my choir, the Local Vocals, from Ossett to Manchester. We will be participating in a concert featuring thousands of singers from 100 choirs to not only remember those tragically lost, but to also make a stand and show that hatred will not conquer.
Ariana Grande is quoted as saying, “Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder, and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”
The concert is part of a series of events which will be taking place across Manchester on Tuesday, and I’m so glad that the day will feature this peaceful and beautiful way of standing together. I expect that the choir event will be an extremely moving experience for all involved; I get emotional listening to live music at the best of times. I think my singing will be punctuated by quite a lot of sniffles - just listening to the songs on YouTube in preparation had me welling up.
The songs we’ll be joining in with are Never Forget by Take That, One Day Like This by Elbow, One Last Time by Ariana Grande and Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis. Now try listening to those songs, think about the context in which you are listening to them in and see how it makes you feel. They make me feel sad. I feel so sad for the huge loss those 22 families must be feeling at this time, and will be feeling for a very long time.
But music gives people hope, and it gives people a voice. So with one voice, together, we can sing no to hatred and violence and sing yes to peace and love and family and hope.
I hope you are privileged enough to be a part of Manchester Together - With One Voice, but if not, I hope you see coverage of the event on the news or on the internet because this is going to be one spectacular night. We will experience beauty, tears, love, peace, hope, unity and a rainbow of emotions I can’t anticipate, but I know that the choir next to us will feel like a part of us and we will sing together, we will sing the roof off Manchester.