15/09/2021

Royal Gala Concert to celebrate Salisbury Cathedral's girls choir

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are to attend a Gala Concert celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral's girls choir - and you could be there!

The concert, which will be led by the current Cathedral girls choir and adult singers, supported by former girl choristers, takes place in Salisbury Cathedral at 7pm on Saturday 9 October.

In a wide-ranging programme designed by the Chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral Girl Chorister’s Foundation, Lady Chichester, the concert features music by Purcell, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Britten, Vivaldi and Stanford, with solos sung by award winning former choristers.  

Lady Chichester, Chairman of Salisbury Cathedral Girl Chorister’s Foundation said: “I am delighted the Gala Concert is able to go ahead, given the challenges all musicians have faced over the past year. More than 150 girls have benefitted from the outstanding choral training at this Cathedral, and the pioneering decision to establish the Girl Chorister’s Foundation has been generously supported by our donors over the years, offering girls and young women life-changing musical opportunities.”

A highlight of the evening is a new work by the renowned composer Roxanna Panufnik, which has been commissioned specially for the occasion.

The Gala concert takes place three decades (almost to the day) after the girls choir sang their first Evensong on October 7 1991, an extraordinary moment not just in the history of the Cathedral but in cathedral music. At the time there were some girls singing in other cathedrals, but Salisbury was the first English Cathedral to admit girls on parity with the boys and to establish an independent foundation to support girl singers.

The youngest of that first intake of girl choristers, Amy Carson, returns to perform a solo, Pamina’s aria Ach, ich fühl’s from The Magic Flute by Mozart. 

Another award-winning soloist, Camilla Harris, also a former chorister and recent graduate of Royal Academy Opera, sings Let the Bright Seraphim, the aria from Handel’s oratorio Samson, in which the soloist summons the celestial hosts of seraphim and cherubim to hail the dead hero.

Speaking about the anniversary and concert, Director of Music David Halls said: “The success of our girl chorister tradition has been replicated in cathedrals throughout the country and is something of which we are rightly proud. For thirty years the girls choir has been an integral part of our worship, and a wonderful training ground for young musicians. This concert celebrates that legacy and reflects the long tradition of music at Salisbury Cathedral, a tradition that stretches back nearly a thousand years.

Tickets for the evening can be bought through the Salisbury Cathedral website. Click here for more information.

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