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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Youngsters make history to become first all-girl choir at Canterbury Cathedral

27 January 2014
by Aidan Barlow

History has been made at Canterbury Cathedral after an all-girl choir performed there for the first time.

The 12 to 16-year-olds have been selected from local schools to break an almost 1,000-year tradition of all-male voices. 

Their voices soared towards the heavens as they sang music by composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Dyson and Samuel Sebastian Wesley during Evensong on Saturday night.

Singers from the first Canterbury Cathedral girls' choir

Singers from the first Canterbury Cathedral girls' choir

It broke with the centuries of tradition of male choirs and choristers, to bring a different appeal and tonal quality to the service.
 
The 16-strong procession, made up of girls from schools across the diocese, were given a standing ovation by worshippers as the service finished.
 
The new choir is led by assistant organist David Newsholme, who said: "They have had only three rehearsals so far, but have made wonderful progress and are coming together as a team.
 
"They will add a new dimension to worship in the cathedral, but of course the boys are still very popular with both visitors and regular worshippers."
The first girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral performed at Evensong

The first girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral performed at Evensong

The girls had sensed pressure before the service, with one of the new members Saskia Jamieson Bibb saying before the service: "We will prove ourselves as girl choristers – the first time that a girls' choir has sung in the cathedral.
 
"There will be a lot of pressure probably, but it is a wonderful opportunity."
 
Another member Elizabeth Green said: "It is a special choir – but there are high expectations. That is why it is a bit scary."

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