Sarah MacDonald, director of Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir, and fellow and director of music at Selwyn College, Cambridge has an article in today’s Daily Telegraph about the rise of Girls’ choirs in English Cathedrals. If you’re interested in the state of choral music in the UK this article is well worth your while reading. Here’s a taster to whet your appetite:
More than 20 years ago the Campaign for the Traditional Cathedral Choir (CTCC) warned that the "future of the English choirboy is increasingly in doubt".
There were anxieties about the decision to allow girls to sing in cathedral choirs simply for the sake of "equal opportunity". The concern was that the tradition of men and boys’ choirs was being undermined by the “politically correct”.
The CTCC, founded in response to the introduction of the girls’ choir at Salisbury Cathedral in 1991, warned of “sacrificing a wonderful, ancient tradition of men and boys’ choirs for political correctness”.
In fact, some trail-blazing choir directors had been experimenting with these options well before the early 1990s. Most famously, Harrison Oxley had added girls to the boys’ top line at Bury St Edmunds in the early 1970s, and opposition from the cathedral clergy ultimately prompted his resignation in 1984.