Choral Evensong on Friday 3 September was a landmark date in the history of Gloucester Cathedral Choir. For the first time since the choir was founded in 1541, the girls and boys played an equal role in Cathedral worship.
For 480 years Boy Choristers have been educated at King’s, with each boy receiving a choral scholarship. The choir of Girl Choristers was established in 2016 and although they contributed to many of the Cathedral services throughout the year, there has never been total parity – until now.
In 2019, the King’s School and Gloucester Cathedral made the groundbreaking decision to offer girls and boys equality of opportunity and financial support. Chorister duties will now be shared, ensuring both the boys and girls play a full and equal role in the musical life of the Cathedral.
Both the Cathedral and the School are delighted to lead the way in offering talented young singers across Gloucestershire an equal and inclusive opportunity to join one of the country’s leading choirs and receive a first-class education at King’s.
The Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, Adrian Partington, said: “I am thrilled that after a lot of work and some very careful planning, we are now able to offer at the Cathedral the same opportunities to girls, as we always have to boys. From September, the girls will sing as many services each year as the boys and will contribute in every way an equal amount. An exciting new chapter in the musical life of our wonderful cathedral is about to begin.”
Nia Llewelyn Jones, Choral Associate, said: “The girl choristers have achieved so much since their inauguration in 2016. Parity of status with the boys represents an important next chapter in their development, and in ensuring that gifted young singers of both genders can continue to sing God’s praises as part of the rich and historic musical worship at Gloucester Cathedral.”
The Headmaster of The King’s School, David Morton, said: “At King’s, we pride ourselves on being a forward-thinking school. We were one of the first British schools to introduce co-education in the 1970s, and we delivered a first-class online education during the recent pandemic. It is now fitting that King’s and Gloucester Cathedral will offer both boys and girls an equal opportunity to sing in the Cathedral Choir, as well as equal Choral Scholarships. We believe that our choir will be amongst the most diverse and inclusive in the UK to perform at this exceptional level and we are very proud of the young pupils who will lead the way.”