23rd March 2021 — Worcester Cathedral, in conjunction with The King’s School, Worcester, have announced a significant change to the chorister programme that presents equal opportunities to boy and girl choristers.
In a historic first, the change will not only see boys and girls taking an equal share in choristership, but also see girls join from a younger age and, like the boys, have access to scholarships at King’s Worcester.
Worcester Cathedral has long been a place where choral singing of the highest standards has thrived.
Choristers have been educated exclusively at The King’s School since the Refoundation by Henry VIII in 1541, with each chorister receiving a choral scholarship towards their fees.
The girl choristers were established in 2006 and play an important part in cathedral worship, singing weekly at Evensong and contributing to other services throughout the year.
Today’s announcement seeks to build on the inclusion of girls by opening up the choristership opportunity to younger girls from September 2021.
This significant step presents an equal opportunity for boys and girls of all ages and backgrounds to have access to the outstanding music department and cathedral, alongside a first-class education at The King’s School.
To achieve this greater parity, the cathedral is expanding its scheme of scholarships for choristers, in partnership with King’s St Alban’s, in order to offer the same opportunities for boys and girls who wish to be a cathedral chorister.
Further to the inclusion of younger girls in the Cathedral Choir, other significant steps include changes to the Cathedral Voluntary Choir, which will become open to all boys and girls from the local area from September 2021.
Worcester Cathedral is also creating a brand new Youth Choir, the first of its kind at the cathedral which caters specifically for singers between school years 9 and 13, again open to youngsters from across the local area.
These two choirs provide exciting opportunities for children across the Midlands to experience and develop their passion for singing and music.
Worcester Cathedral’s Precentor, Canon Dr Michael Brierley said: "The choral arrangements at Worcester Cathedral work extremely well, with the one exception that we don’t offer girls the same opportunities for singing as we offer boys.
"These changes make good that exception, and open up three choirs to boys and girls on an entirely equal basis.
"I’m absolutely delighted about this, and greatly look forward to implementing the new format with colleagues at both the cathedral and local schools."
Richard Chapman, Head of King’s St Alban’s, commented: "We are delighted and welcome this exciting change in that choristership now reflects the equality that King’s St Alban’s is passionate about.
"I am thrilled that our Cathedral Choir is already open to both boys and girls and that from September, children of all ages will benefit from both world-class choral training and a first-rate education at our school.
He continued: "It’s a significant commitment to be a chorister and a wonderful opportunity.
"Choristers enjoy a stimulating and nurturing experience, develop a whole raft of skills, often go on to successful careers in many fields and develop a life-long passion for music."