ing’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.
As well as singing their share of cathedral services, ECGC has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings, and have 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.
Until September 2018, all members of ECGC were boarders at King’s Ely Senior, from years 9 to 13. We are delighted to be opening membership of the choir to girls in Years 7 and 8 from September 2018. Eventually, the choir will consist entirely of girls in Years 7 to 11, and former choristers who wish to continue as Sixth Form Choral Scholars (singing either soprano or alto during Years 12 and 13 on a reduced choral timetable) can apply to do so during Year 11.
Ely is the only cathedral in the UK to offer this type of intensive chorister experience to girls in this age group. The school is committed to making learning accessible, stimulating, challenging and inspiring, and, in turn, it encourages all pupils to engage with the opportunities around them. 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 the school, 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.