Girls to be recruited for choir at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The choral music tradition at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, is set to be enriched soon with the addition of girl choristers.

To date the cathedral choir has only been open to male voices, with boy choristers and lay clerks, the gentlemen of the choir, forming the main cathedral choir.

From May 2020 girls will be given the opportunity to join a newly formed girls “top line”.

The girl choristers will sing services with the lay clerks and on their own, and the boys will continue to do the same. Additionally, the cathedral supports two junior choirs, a youth choir (the St Cecilia Chorale) and a ladies’ choir (the St Edmundsbury Singers).

“We are one of the last cathedrals to launch a girls’ choir,” said the Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury. “We are now in a position to do so and are delighted that we can make this happen in this special anniversary year when we mark 1,000 years of the Abbey of St Edmund.”

The acting director of music, Richard Cook, added: “It is important to give equal opportunities to boys and girls. The experience of being a chorister is hugely enriching.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about life as a chorister is invited to attend “Be A Chorister for an Afternoon” event planned for Saturday, April 4, from 1pm.

Auditions for the girls’ choir will be held on Saturdays, March 21 and April 25.

Applications from girls who love singing and are in years 6 to 9 would be particularly welcome.

Further details can be obtained from adom@stedscathedral.org

2 thoughts on “Girls to be recruited for choir at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

  1. A shame the forward thinking work of Harrison Oxley (Organist and Master of the Choristers from 1958 to 1984) fails to get a mention in articles relating to the “new” opening for girls at St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir. He directed a successful mixed choir from the early 1970s. It’s as if all those hundreds of girls who passed through St Edmundsbury Cathedral choir during those years have been written out of history. To correct the record, St Edmundsbury, far from being the last, was in fact the first Cathedral in England to have girls in the choir. A fact we should proudly celebrate.

  2. It is a shame the forward thinking work of Harrison Oxley (Organist and Master of the Choristers from 1958 to 1984) fails to get a mention in many articles relating to girls in cathedral choirs and certainly here, as stated, the “new” opening for girls at St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir continues the trend. Mr Oxley directed a successful mixed choir from the early 1970s. It’s as if all those hundreds of girls who passed through St Edmundsbury Cathedral choir during those years have been written out of history. To correct the record, St Edmundsbury, far from being the last, was in fact the first Cathedral in England to have girls in the choir. A fact we should proudly celebrate.

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