Girls audition for cathedral choir
Auditions are taking place this weekend for the first girls' choir at Canterbury Cathedral after more than 900 years of male singing.
Forty girls are bidding to earn a place in the 20-strong girls' choir, assembled under the name of the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
It is hoped that the first Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Voluntary Choir, consisting of youngsters aged from 12 to 16, will start by the end of the year.
Being a chorister at the cathedral has historically been an exclusively male preserve but leaders say introducing a girls' choir will be an "exciting addition".
The girls will initially sing at services when the boy choristers, who are boarders, are on their twice-termly breaks.
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis, said: "We hope to find about 20 girls from secondary schools in Canterbury to sing at some of our services.
"A girls' choir will provide a further dimension to the cathedral's worship and be an exciting addition to the cathedral's long history of musical achievement."
The cathedral has a long tradition of choral music and some notable musicians have distinguished themselves there over the years, including Harry Christophers, Trevor Pinnock and Sir Mark Elder.
Senior figures at the cathedral said the girls' choir will "add to the cathedral's historic choral tradition" but exist as a separate entity to the boys.
David Newsholme, the cathedral's assistant organist who will direct the girls' choir, said: "It is always good to create new ways of making music and this will be an exciting new chapter in the cathedral's story."