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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.

Audition for first girls choir at Canterbury Cathedral

Auditions for Canterbury Cathedrals first girls choir held today Credit: ITV Meridian

Auditions have been held today for the first ever girls choir at Canterbury Cathedral.

For 900years, it has only been boys singing under the Cathedral name.

Around 20 girls, aged between 12 and 16 are being picked from local secondary schools to perform in the Canterbury Cathedral Girls' VoluntaryChoir.

It is hoped that the choir will start by the end of the year.

Being part of the Cathedrals choir has been exclusive to males only, but leaders say introducing a girls choir will be an "exciting addition" to its musical achievements.

The girls will initially sing at services when the boy choristers 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."


"Singing mums have the wow factor"

The Head Teacher of a school near Maidstone has praised a group of singing mums for their efforts in raising money for breast cancer.

The "Mumma Mia" choir was formed at Sutton Valence Prep School around a year ago. Inspired by two of their members who have breast cancer, the mums are now holding a special concert to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. They're hoping it will be a sell out.

"Singing has changed my life"

Mum Julie Avery talks about why singing in a school choir with other mums has helped her deal with breast cancer. Last year she joined the choir called "Mumma Mia" and, like many of its members, she was bitten by the singing bug.

Now, the group has decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Care in her honour. They'll be putting on a concert at Sutton Valence Prep School on the first of July.

Mumma Mia! Top marks for parents' school choir

"Mumma Mia" in rehearsal Credit: ITV News Meridian

A group of mums from a Maidstone school have turned the tables on their children by forming their own choir. The women, who call themselves "Mumma Mia", are based at Sutton Valence Preparatory School.

Choir founder Sarah Geering says she's surprised at how quickly the choir, and its popularity, has grown. It all started with children being rather embarrassed at the thought of their 'tone deaf Mums' actually trying to sing. But then the choir went from strength to strength.

"What emerged was a feet tapping, arm swaying choir and some rather surprised kids. The majority of the "Mumma Mia" members claim they can't sing and originally came along for bit of fun but soon found choir practice to be the highlight of their week. Many say it's improved their self confidence."

Since then, the choir's gone from strength to strength and the group's been playing to packed audiences. Inspired by two of their members, who are recovering from breast cancer, Mumma Mia is now raising money for Breast Cancer Care with a special show on the first of July at the school at 7pm.

Eight mums also took part in the Pink Ribbon Walk at Leeds Castle Credit: Sarah Geering
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