Miles away from Northern England, the Manchester Arena Bombing of 22 May 2017 rocked my household. My two kids were young enough to be watching Victorious and Sam & Cat re-runs on Nickelodeon, so the suicide bombing at Ariana Grande’s packed concert hit home. Needless to say, it was much harder on anyone who was at the event, especially the injured survivors, and it was extraordinarily tragic for anyone who lost loved ones, friends, or acquaintances.
Salman Abedi exploded an improvised device that used triacetone triperoxide, with nuts and bolts for shrapnel. 22 people died, 1,017 were injured, and the arena’s foyer was destroyed. How do you move on from that!? For her part, Grande helped organise and performed at the One Love Manchester concert two weeks after the bombing. It was intended as both a healing and a fundraising event. As we’ll see in the next video, which features Manchester band Take That, some survivors formed a choir.
The story behind Take That joining the Manchester Survivors Choir starts with the fact that Take That appeared at the One Love Manchester concert, held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, along with acts including Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Mac Miller, Marcus Mumford, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Robbie Williams, amongst others. Then, to mark the first anniversary of the attack, the Manchester Survivors Choir performed at Manchester’s Albert Square.
The choir’s performance included Ariana Grande’s One Last Time, One Day Like This by Elbow, Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger and Never Forget by Take That. Other choirs on the bill, which concluded with a communal singalong led by the massed choirs, included Bee Vocal, the Manchester Mental Health choir, several one-off choirs (including ones formed by emergency services staff), Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, and AMC gospel choir. Here is the Survivors Choir singing Rise Up by Audra Day.
Hashem Abedi, the brother and accomplice of Salman Abedi, was tried for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy. In August 2020 he was given the longest sentence ever imposed by a British court – life imprisonment with a minimum term of 55 years, the longest ever imposed by a British court.
A public inquiry (released in 2021) found that British police should have done more to stop the attack, and MI5 admitted it acted “too slowly” in investigating the Abedi brothers. Sir John Saunders, chairman of the public inquiry, said “intelligence could have led to Abedi being followed to the parked Nissan Micra where he stored his explosives and later moved them to a city-centre rented flat to assemble his bomb. He said that if MI5 had acted on the intelligence received then Abedi could also have been stopped at Manchester Airport on his return from Libya four days before the attack.”
MI5 director-general Ken McCallum was quoted by the BBC on 2 March 2023 saying that he was “profoundly sorry” MI5 did not prevent the attack.
Besides helping organise the One Love Manchester concert, Ariana Grande re-released her single One Last Time (2014) as a charity single. She also released a cover of Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz 1939), for the same reason. Ariana Grande became the first honorary citizen of Manchester on 14 June 2017. If you would like to see more from Manchester Survivors Choir, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.