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Let's hear it for the girls: first rehearsal of Canterbury Cathedral's choir ends 1000 years of male domination

Canterbury Cathedral Girls Choir rehearses for the first time with choir director David Newsholme Credit: Press Association

A rehearsal has taken place of the first girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral after more than thousand years of male-dominated singing.

Their first ever public performance will be later this month.

Sixteen local girls aged between 12 and 16 were selected for the Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Choir, the first to be assembled under the name of the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Saskia Jamieson-Bibb (left) and Ellen Spurling get to try on their Cassocks

They met, rehearsed and tried on cathedral cassocks for the first time yesterday ahead of their public debut at Evensong on January 25

Being a chorister at the cathedral has historically been an exclusively male preserve but leaders have said introducing a girls' choir would be an "exciting addition"

The girls' first service later this month will include music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Dyson and Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

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 would add to the cathedral's historic choral tradition but exist as a separate entity to the boys.

The girls will initially sing at services when the boy choristers, who are boarders at St Edmund's School, are on their twice-termly breaks.


Girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral after 900 years

After more than 900 years of male singing, a girls' choir is to finally be introduced at Canterbury Cathedral.

About 20 girls from 12-16-years-old will be chosen from local secondary schools to form the Canterbury Cathedral Girls Voluntary Choir.

It is hoped the choir will be formed by the end of the year, with the first audition taking place on November 23rd at the cathedral.

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis said, "A girls' choir will provide a further dimension to the cathedral's worship and be an exciting addition to the cathedrals long history of musical achievement."

A new era of openness and transparency for the South East's Freemasons

Hundreds of Freemasons and their families gathered at Canterbury Cathedral today, to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of their order. The event involved members from Kent, Surrey and Sussex as well as further afield.

Andrea Thomas was there. She spoke to Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Odd and Grand Superintendent Geoffrey Dearing, from East Kent Freemasons.

Service for families who have lost a child

A special Remembrance service has taken place today for people and familes who have lost a baby . The service was held at Canterbury Cathedral for families who have lost a baby during pregnancy , at birth or in infancy.

It's one of a series of events taking place at Cathedrals across the country and was set up by a couple who experienced five miscarraiges. Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates say they want to help other grieving families.


Special service to be held for those who've lost babies

Canterbury Cathedral will be the venue for today's Saying Goodbye service Credit: Press Association

A special service is to be held at Canterbury Cathedral today for people who have lost a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. The Saying Goodbye services will be held at Cathedrals and Minsters across the country.

They aim to remember and acknowledge the lives lost or cut short in a reflective event. The services are open to people of all faiths, or no faith, and are free to attend.

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