In a powerful moment of unity and strength, dozens of British music students broke into an impromptu singalong of the Oasis classic “Don’t Look Back in Anger” during a gathering to honor Manchester’s bombing victims.
Community members and students met outside the city’s Chetham’s School of Music Tuesday to pay tribute to the 22 people killed at Manchester Arena. At least 59 others were injured in Monday’s attack, when a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device following an Ariana Grande concert.
The school, which offers boarding and day programs for children aged 8 to 18, is located less 500 feet from the arena and remains within the police cordon.
Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow, a chef, poet and actress from Manchester, led the spontaneous performance of the beloved British band’s hit.
The song by the group that formed in Manchester became a British anthem soon after its release in 1995, but Bernsmeier-Rullow said it had taken on a special new meaning in the days following the attack.
“We can’t be looking backwards to what happened,” she told the Guardian. “We have to look forward and to the future. We’re all going to join together. We’re all going to get on with it because that’s what Manchester does.”
Bernsmeier-Rullow said the crowd’s decision to join her musical tribute “really touched” her heart.
“It gave me shivers,” she said. “It really did.”
A spokesman for the school told Manchester Evening News that students took it upon themselves to arrange the tribute.
“It was a group decision, we wanted to come together as a school and show our support and optimism,” he told the news outlet. “Although the disaster has shaken our community, it has brought us together and made us stronger.”
Authorities said around 20 people remained in critical condition, as law enforcement officials continued to investigate the U.K.’s deadliest terrorist attack in over a decade.