Manchester attack: Choirs lead mass sing-along

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Over 3,500 singers have come together to lead a chorus of amateur voices in a mass sing-along to remember the Manchester Arena attack victims.

Twenty-two people died and hundreds injured when a bomb was detonated outside a concert on 22 May 2017.

Manchester Together in Albert Square featured songs by Elbow and Oasis.

It follows a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral, which saw Prince William join political leaders and the families of the victims to remember.

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Media captionWho were the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack?

Some of those who have gathered have a connection to what happened on the night, while others have come to show their support.

Gina and Casey Hankey, from Stoke, said they were at the arena.

"We did the arena visits, so this is another step. The atmosphere has been good so far, but it’s still a bit sad."

Rachel and Mia, from Bolton, said they had come "to show we won’t be beaten and show you carry on and remember those who died".

Julie, from Eccles, who came with her son Louis, said they wanted "to pay our respects as it just touched everybody".

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‘This is the place’ – At the scene: Kaleigh Watterson, BBC News

A choir on stage at Manchester TogetherImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Last year, a vigil was held in Albert Square with thousands gathering to honour those who lost their lives and to show solidarity in the face of hatred.

This year, thousands gathered again on the same spot in an atmosphere that was much more upbeat.

Tony Walsh’s poem This Is The Place, which left many in tears a year ago was this time set to a dance beat, with the crowd clapping along, cheering and giving it a rapturous round of applause.

Tonight is emotional, there is no doubt about that, but it also feels like a celebration of Manchester’s spirit, which guided the city in those dark days last May.

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Ahead of the singing, the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, led those assembled in a minute’s silence.

He also told the crowd that the 22 candles lit in tribute to the victims at Manchester Cathedral had been made from the remnants of the hundreds left around the city in the aftermath of the attack.

The crowd also heard from some of those singing, including two members of the A City United Choir, a one-off coming together of the signing groups attached to the city’s Premier League football teams.

Nine-year-old Molly said she was taking part because it was "a good thing to do for all the people who can’t be here", while Matty, 14, said the unity in singing "is what Manchester’s all about".

Sign reading 'Always Remember, Never Forget, Forever Manchester'Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThousands crammed into Albert Square for the two-hour event

The sing-along saw performances from 10 singing groups, including the Manchester Survivors Choir, who sang a tearful version of Andra Day’s Rise Up to rapturous applause, and the Parrs Wood High School Harmony Group.

The former is made up of people who were caught up the attack last year, while the latter saw their post-attack tribute – a version of Ariana Grande’s My Everything – go viral and earn them the chance to perform with the star at the One Love Manchester concert.

Women at mass sing-along in ManchesterImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionMany at the sing-along were wearing the bee emblem, a symbol of Manchester’s defiance

That concert was held two weeks after the homemade device was detonated outside Grande’s concert.

Daren Buckley, who is in Manchester Survivors’ Choir, said he had found comfort in singing, but that his recovery was far from complete.

"It’s strange because I never used to have fear over anything. I have flashbacks," he said.

"I must’ve died 200 times in my nightmares."

The two-hour event saw the choirs sing versions of many popular songs, including Labi Siffre’s Something Inside So Strong, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, Emile Sande’s Wonder, Clean Bandit’s Symphony and Coldplay’s Fix You.

It also saw poet Tony Walsh call for the crowd to join him in making a "minute’s noise for the 22" and "in solidarity with everyone that was injured, mentally and physically [and] for those who were first on the scene".

It concluded with a mass sing-along of five songs – Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger, Elbow’s One Day Like This, Grande’s One Last Time, Take That’s Never Forget and The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love.

The Oasis song, which was introduced via a video message by Noel Gallagher, became an anthem of defiance in the aftermath of the attack and was sung by a crowd in Manchester’s St Ann’s Square following a minute’s silence on 25 May 2017.

Woman writing message in St Ann's SquareImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionPeople have been writing tributes to those who died on St Ann’s Square’s paving stonesFlowers in St Ann's SquareImage copyrightEPAImage captionAs happened a year ago, many people have once again left flowers in St Ann’s Square

From 21:30 BST, song lyrics chosen by members of the public will be projected onto its pavements and buildings.

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