Burnley opera singer Sean Ruane will lead a team out onto the famous Wembley turf at Saturday's FA Cup final – to conduct a choir to sing the showpiece game’s traditional hymn “Abide With Me”.
Former St Theodore’s pupil Sean, who now runs CHANT Productions in Burnley, was chosen by the FA to collate and train a choir of ordinary people from around the country to perform the famous song in front of a global audience of 650 million people.
Tenor Sean will be joined on the pitch by Burnley man Liam Spencer as one of the 30-strong choir singing before Arsenal and Chelsea battle to win football’s most famous cup competition.
Sean said: “It is a great honour to prepare a choir to perform at one of the world’s most prestigious football fixtures.
“I’m so pleased that my friend Liam, who is an excellent singer and Burnley man, will be part of the choir.”
Sean, who became famous for singing rousing renditions of “Jerusalem” before several Ashes crickets test matches in recent years, has sang national anthems at other big sporting events.
Now he is looking forward to giving ordinary people the latest chance to perform in famous sporting and cultural arenas.
He added: “Abide With Me is such a beautiful and evocative hymn, which has become synonymous with the FA Cup final. I’m sure our choir will do it justice.”
“Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte most often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s tune “Eventide”.
It has been sung before the start of FA Cup finals since 1927.