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Southwell Minster appoints first female head chorister in 1,100 years

by Donna Birrell

Southwell Minster, an Anglican cathedral in Nottinghamshire, has appointed its first female head chorister.

For the last 1,100 years, only boys have been appointed head chorister, changing annually and recorded in gold on a wooden plaque at the entrance of the historical Archbishop's Palace.

But this year, 15 year old Ellie-Jean was appointed to the position. She has sung with the Minster Choir for more than five years and is a pupil at the Minster School. 
She said: "I've always loved singing and being a member of the Minster choir. Being part of this movement of change towards more parity between boys and girls is something I'll be proud of for a long time and to be appointed as head chorister is a tremendous honour. I hope to inspire younger singers, especially girls." 
Paul Provost, Rector Chori ("the ruler of the choir"), said he believed it was the time was right for change:
"Our choirs have been evolving over the last five years, since I was appointed. The girl choristers, who traditionally only had a much smaller role in celebrating the Minster's worship calendar, now share joint responsibility with the boys.

"I'm really proud of being able to deliver this and hope it inspires more girls and boys to be part of this legacy."

Salisbury Cathedral was the first of the English Cathedrals to admit girls on parity with the boys and to establish an independent foundation to support girl singers.

The Cathedral will celebrate the founding of its girls' choir almost 30 years to the day since the girls sang their first Evensong, with a gala concert on 9th October. 


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