GIRLS with a passion for music and singing were given the chance to experience what life is like as an Ely Cathedral Girl Chorister.
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. Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir (ECGC) sang its first cathedral service in November 2006 and has since become firmly established as a central part of the cathedral community.
‘Be A Girl Chorister For A Day’ (BAGCFAD) took place on October 20th to give girls aged 9 to 13, and from all walks of life, the chance to see what it is like to be a girl chorister. An action-packed programme of activities included rehearsals with the current girl choristers, tours of the girls’ boarding house and Choral Evensong at the cathedral.
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.”
As well as singing their share of cathedral services, ECGC has recorded a number of critically acclaimed albums and has performed in prestigious venues, including Westminster Abbey and the Guards’ Chapel in London, and la Cathédrale Notre Dame and l’Église St Eustache in Paris.
All members of ECGC are boarders at King’s Ely. Choristers receive a specialist musical education and are treated as skilled musicians from the beginning, interacting and performing with professional singers, organists and conductors on a daily basis.
By the time they leave King’s Ely, they will have gained the expertise and experience needed to carry on to university choral scholarships (recent girl choristers have received choral scholarship offers from Cambridge, Oxford, Royal Holloway, and Durham), professional musical careers, or any other path they might wish to follow. They will have acquired an in-depth and knowledgeable appreciation of the architectural, musical and liturgical heritage of our country, and will have developed the invaluable transferable skills of discipline, dedication, and diligence which will provide them with significant rewards and advantages for the rest of their lives.