GIRLS with a love of music and singing were given the chance to experience a day in the life of an Ely Cathedral Chorister.
More than a dozen girls from across the region – and some from further afield – attended ‘Be a Girl Chorister for a Day’, an annual event organised by King’s Ely and Ely Cathedral to enable girls aged 9 to 13, and from all walks of life, the chance to see what it is like to be a member of Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir (ECGC).
An action-packed programme included rehearsals with the current girl choristers and a look round their boarding house next to the Cathedral; Etheldreda House, tours of King’s Ely and the Cathedral itself, lunch in the school’s famous Monastic Barn and participating in Choral Evensong at the Cathedral as a climax to the day.
Director of ECGC, Sarah MacDonald, said: “We had a wonderful day with lots of potential choristers; lovely singing and lots of fun fellowship. The experience of a cathedral choristership is unparalleled in the training it offers. As well as the obvious musical benefits, girls also master key transferable skills such as discipline, teamwork, commitment, authority, confidence, performance and self-presentation, all of which will be valued in their time at university and by future employers, and all of which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
King’s Ely has educated the boy choristers of Ely Cathedral for over 1,000 years. Early in the new millennium, a girls’ choir was founded to complement the boys’ choir, and to enable the Cathedral to hold choral services every day of the week in term time. ECGC sang their first Cathedral service in November 2006, and the choir has since become firmly established as a central part of the Cathedral community.
As well as singing their share of Cathedral services, ECGC has made a number of critically-acclaimed recordings, and has performed in prestigious venues including Westminster Abbey, la Cathédrale Notre Dame and l’Église St Eustache in Paris.
Ely is the only Cathedral in the UK to offer this type of intensive chorister experience to girls in this age group. By the time they leave King’s Ely, they will have gained the expertise and experience needed to carry on to university choral scholarships, professional musical careers or any other path they might wish to follow.