20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF GIRL CHORISTERS IN SALISBURY CATHEDRAL CHOIRIssued Monday 31st January 2011
Salisbury Cathedral celebrates the 20th anniversary of the formation of the first girls’ cathedral choir in the UK during the weekend of 24-25 September and is inviting all its former and current girl choristers to two days of singing and festivity. The undoubted success of the girl chorister tradition is now firmly established in cathedrals throughout the country, adding to the glorious heritage of boy choristers.
David Halls, Director of Music, is very much looking forward to the occasion. “This will be a great weekend of choral singing. We hope to fill the Cathedral to capacity with the superb sound of these girls’ voices and welcome back many of those who have been part of this extraordinary journey and supported the girls’ choir through these first two decades. I am delighted we will be joined by Dr Richard Seal, Organist and Master of the Choristers (1968-1997), whose original vision of a girls’ choir at Salisbury crowned his distinguished career here, and by my predecessor Simon Lole, Director of Music (1997-2005).”
On Saturday 24th, there will be open rehearsals in the Cathedral between 2.00pm – 5.00pm. The celebration concert begins at 7.30pm and the programme includes Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Brahms Vier Gesänge Opus 17, and Britten A Ceremony of Carols. Tickets, price £20 - £10, are available from March 1 from Salisbury Playhouse, 01722 320333. Sunday is dedicated to services with the Festival Eucharist at 10.30am also sung by the massed choir. The weekend’s celebrations conclude with Festal Evensong at 3.00pm sung by the Cathedral’s current girl choristers and men of the choir alone and includes the admission of the new choristers and officers of the choir who will carry this new tradition into its third decade.
Since 1991, almost 120 girls have been choristers at Salisbury. A significant number have subsequently become choral scholars in the Oxbridge Chapel Choirs, and some have sung with the country’s top choral groups including the Monteverdi Choir and The Sixteen. Several are making names for themselves on the international music circuit.
Photograph above: the original girl choristers in October 1991.