SALISBURY Cathedral Choir celebrated its first “in person” performance since Christmas and also the admission of three choristers.

On Sunday, May 2 the three trainee choristers, or probationers, were admitted as full choristers during the Choral Evensong.

Safiya Laycock-Wright, Mollie Johnson and Cecilia Davies received their chorister medals and distinctive green robes.

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This year is a significant anniversary for the Salisbury Cathedral girls’ choir. In October it celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding, the first English Cathedral to allow girls to sing in parity with boys.

The special Evensong was followed by the traditional ‘bumping’ ceremony that is unique to Salisbury Cathedral Choir.

The boys’ time-honoured tradition involves bumping newly admitted chorister’s heads on a special stone opposite the Vestry whereas the girls’ ceremony takes place in the Trinity Chapel and they are bumped on the head with a giant prayer book containing the names of all girl choristers admitted since 1991, when the girls’ choir was founded.

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Speaking about running a choir during the pandemic, David Halls, the Cathedral’s director of music, said: “It has been a tough year for all musicians, particularly those that work together to perform, like choirs and orchestras.

"Virtual rehearsing and performing isn’t a substitute for singing collectively. That having been said, both the boys and girls are singing remarkably well – perhaps it is the sheer pleasure of being together again that has got them going.”

The recruitment of choristers has also been hit hard as a result of the pandemic. 

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Choir recruitment impacted by Covid

Despite launching the Virtual Chorister Tour as an alternative to the cancelled Be a Chorister for a Day, and the Make me A Light virtual choir project, which saw 58 children from across the region taking part in a special online children’s service for Easter, numbers are still down.

David added: “We have lost a year in recruitment - no two ways about it. Cancelling Be a Chorister for a Day was just the start and it has gone on from there. That’s not to say we have no candidates.

"Luckily, we have a promising cohort coming up for voice trials, but as the director of a choir you want to keep the numbers healthy.

"Choirs are very dynamic, particularly boys because their voices change, and like any elite team you need to have well-trained line up on the bench.”

Voice Trials due to take place in January and February have had to be pushed back to Sunday, July 3 – and the 2022 recruitment season gets underway not long after, with the Be A Chorister for a Day event taking place on Saturday, October 2.

To find out more about joining contact Kathy Davies by emailing, or calling 07979 378926.

Application forms can be downloaded via the cathedral's website.  

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