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Celebrating 25 years of Girl Choristers at York Minster A Service of Thanksgiving – Sunday 10th July

11 May, 2022

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A special service of Choral Evensong on Sunday 10th July at 4pm, will give thanks for 25 years of girl choristers at York Minster.  The cathedral has also issued an invitation to all former girl choristers to come and sing at the service.

In 1997, after an energetic campaign, York Minster introduced girl choristers into daily worshipping life, following the initial breakthrough for girls at Salisbury Cathedral in 1991.

Today, girls and boys contribute equally to the musical life of York Minster as part of one of the most respected cathedral choirs in the country. The choristers are educated at St Peter’s School, York, and range in age from 8-13 yrs. The Minster’s world-class choir and organists perform at services most days during term-time, with the repertoire ranging from some of the earliest known choral music, to newly commissioned works.

For this special occasion, all former girl choristers are being invited to come back to sing with the current girl choristers and adult singers of York Minster for this celebratory service. The guest preacher will be the Bishop of Whitby, Paul Ferguson, who was Precentor of York Minster 25 years ago when the first group of girl choristers gave their debut performance at the Minster.

Anne Norton made history as one of the singers in York Minster’s first group of girl choristers in 1997.  Anne said:  “It was a huge moment. For the first time we girls could sing in the Minster just like the boys. The experience of singing services, concerts and special events, such as the Mystery Plays, instilled in me a love of choral music which has lasted to this day. I still live in York and it gives me huge pleasure to attend services and hear the girls singing today. I am thrilled the Minster is celebrating this historic event.”

More recently, former chorister Naomi Simon, described how singing in the Choir of York Minster changed her life. Naomi said:  “Being a chorister completely transformed my life!  I have been able to travel internationally and work professionally.  My confidence has grown and last year I appeared on national television on the “BBC Chorister of the Year” programme and was recognised as one of the top five girl choristers in the country.  I am currently a Music Scholar at Rugby School which was enabled by being a York Minster Chorister.”

The current Precentor of York Minster, Canon Victoria Johnson said:  “This is an important anniversary in the musical life of York Minster. We are delighted that this is a place where all children can use their musical gifts to praise God in song.”

Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster said:  “We are hoping that generations of former choristers – hopefully including girls from that first group of choristers – will return to sing on this special day and celebrate their pioneering role in the history of music at York Minster.”

All former girl choristers of York Minster are warmly invited to sing at this special celebratory service.  Please email music@yorkminster.org for more information.

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