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New girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral heralds a break in centuries-old tradition

23 January 2014
by Gerry Warren

A new sound will echo through Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday when the first ever girls' choir sings at evensong.

The 16-strong group, aged between 13 and 16, breaks a centuries old tradition of male choirs and choristers but is said will bring will bring a different and appealing tonal quality to services.

The new girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral

The new girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral

They are from schools in the diocese and chosen following a auditions last November.

One of the new members Saskia Jamieson Bibb, said: “It’s going to be really exciting. 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, added: “It is a special choir – but there are high expectations. That is why it is a bit scary”.

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 Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, added: "The boys’ choir and the older girls’ choir have a different timbre, but I have no doubt that, at some time in the future, they will sing together.

"We can achieve a diversity of musical sounds, something that we have already heard developing”.

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