It’s one of the most emotive moments of any sporting event and over the past few weeks, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) have been recording the national anthems for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

All 72 anthems were arranged and conducted by Royal Academy of Music professor Philip Sheppard, who specialises in film and television soundtracks. Recorded over three days at the CBSO centre in Birmingham, it has been an epic task for the 50 musicians at the orchestra.

The anthems will be played during the gold medal victory ceremonies and must last between 60 to 90 seconds to ensure they fit into the flag-raising time. All 72 nations and territories taking part in the Games next summer have agreed in advance which section of their anthem they want played should their athletes be successful in winning gold.

Conductor and arranger Philip Sheppard said: “I’m thrilled to be working with CBSO having been a life-long fan of the orchestra. This was amplified by Sir Simon Rattle visiting my school when I was younger. What better fit than Birmingham’s own Symphony Orchestra recording the national anthems that will be played at poignant moments in Birmingham 2022.

“I have strived to match the adrenalin and excitement of the Games in my versions of the anthems and hope we get to hear England’s anthem as much as possible.”

If they are successful in winning gold, Team England will hear Jerusalem played as their flag is raised, but there are several nations who have chosen a much more familiar tune as their anthem. Bermuda, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands and Norfolk Island will all hear ‘God Save The Queen’ if their nation celebrates a gold medal.

Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the CBSO said: “We are honoured and delighted to be part of this fantastic project and the Orchestra has worked hard to make this valuable contribution. We hope the national anthems that we have recorded match the extraordinary achievement of the world class athletes taking part across the Games.”

Ian Reid, CEO at Birmingham 2022 said: “Nothing tugs at the heart strings harder than a national anthem being belted out in a packed stadium by emotional athletes and thousands of their supporters. We’re delighted the CBSO are playing such an important part in the victory ceremonies of the Games and I’m really looking forward to hearing these anthems played next year.”

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 sports and eight para-sports across 14 competition venues from 28 July until 8 August 2022. As the biggest event ever to be held in the West Midlands, it is expected to attract more than one million spectators to the city and have a global TV audience of 1.5 billion.

The ticket ballot for the Commonwealth Games is now open and there are more than one million tickets available for the biggest multi-sport event to be held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Prices start at £8 for under 16s and £15 for adults but vary depending on where you want to sit in each of the 14 venues and depending on which session you want to attend. Visit for more information.




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