Girl choir for Canterbury Cathedral
Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 10:41AM BST.
After more than 900 years of male singing, a girls’ choir is to finally be introduced at Canterbury Cathedral.
It will mark the first time in the history of the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury that a girls’ choir will be assembled under its own name.
About 20 girls aged from 12 to 16 will be drawn from local secondary schools to form the first Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Voluntary Choir.
The first auditions will be held on November 23 at the cathedral in Kent, and it is hoped that the choir will start by the end of the year.
Being a chorister at the cathedral has been an exclusively male preserve but leaders say introducing a girls’ choir will be an “exciting addition” to its musical achievements.
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis, said: “We hope to find about 20 girls from secondary schools in Canterbury to sing at some of our services.
“A girls’ choir will provide a further dimension to the cathedral’s worship and be an exciting addition to the cathedral’s long history of musical achievement.”
The girls will initially sing at services when the boy choristers, who are boarders, are on their twice-termly breaks.
David Flood, organist and master of the cathedral choristers, said: “We are not disturbing the tradition of our choirs, we are simply adding to it.”
Cathedral spokeswoman Lisa Emanuel said: “This is the first time we will have our own girls’ choir at Canterbury Cathedral.
“There is no particular reason why we have decided to do it now. We have just sat down and thought, why not?
“We have had female choirs perform at the cathedral but never before have we had one under our own name.”
The cathedral has a long tradition of choral music and some notable musicians have distinguished themselves there over the years, including Harry Christophers, Trevor Pinnock and Sir Mark Elder.
Senior figures at the cathedral said the girls’ choir will “add to the cathedral’s historic choral tradition” but exist as a separate entity to the boys.
David Newsholme, the cathedral’s assistant organist who will direct the girls’ choir, said: “It is always good to create new ways of making music and this will be an exciting new chapter in the cathedral’s story.”