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Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir


The Cathedral Girls' Choir
The Cathedral Girls' Choir

Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir was founded in September 2006, under the direction of Louise Reid, former director of the Girls' Choirs in both Wakefield and Guildford Cathedrals. Since 2010, the choir has been directed by Sarah MacDonald, who is also Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge.

The 18 girls are members of King's Ely, in Years 9 to 13. They board in Etheldreda House, rehearsing five mornings a week before school. During school term, the girls sing Choral Evensong in the Cathedral on their own on Wednesdays, and with the Layclerks on Mondays. Weekend and additional Holy Day duties occur once or twice a month, and the girls also sing a number of concerts every year, both on their own, and with the men and boys of the cathedral choir. As well as cathedral services, the girls have sung concerts and services outside of Ely, including services in Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame de Paris, and a live broadcast on Radio 3.

Sing reign of fair maid, a recording of Christmas music for upper voices under Sarah MacDonald's direction, is on the Regent label and is available for sale in the Cathedral shop or online. A recording of the Pergolesi Stabat mater and other music for Lent and Passiontide is currently in production with Regent. The girls are also featured on a CD of music by Gary Higginson, with the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Sarah MacDonald
Sarah MacDonald

The Director of the Girls' Choir

The Director of the Girls' Choir is Sarah MacDonald. She studied organ, piano, and conducting in her native Canada, and as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge, before taking up the position of Director of Music in Chapel at Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1999; she was the first woman to hold such a post in an Oxbridge Chapel. Sarah has recorded over 30 CDs, variously in the guises of conductor, organist, pianist, and producer; she has played recitals and conducted concerts throughout Europe, North America, the Middle East, and New Zealand, and has broadcast live on BBC Radio and on Canadian television. Sarah is a Fellow and a Trustee of the Royal College of Organists.

Alexander Berry
Alexander Berry

The Assistant Organist to the Girls' Choir

The Director of the Girls' Choir is assisted by Alexander Berry. Alexander graduated in 2012 from Queens' College Cambridge, where he read Music and held the Organ Scholarship. He received his early musical training as a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral, and began playing the organ there before his voice broke. He spent his gap year as Organ Scholar at Guildford Cathedral. During his time at Cambridge, Alex also played for CUMS Chorus, King's Voices (the mixed voice choir at King's), and the Cambridge Philharmonic Society. He is the founding director of the chamber choir The Mercian Consort, which has sung services and concerts throughout Germany and the UK (including in Ely Lady Chapel last year) and has just completed its first recording. In his spare time, Alex loves cooking, travelling, composing, and jazz.

The Cathedral Girls' Choir

Girl choristers receive bursaries of one-third off boarding fees. Sixth Form Choral Scholarships are also available to members of the girls' choir, and are valued at 50% off boarding fees. Additional means tested bursaries may be available. The school funds the girls' choral bursaries and all associated staffing costs so there is no drain on the cathedral's resources.

Auditions for 2013 will be held on Saturday 26 January 2013 for entry into Year 9 and for Sixth Form Choral Scholarships.

FURTHER INFORMATION about the Girls' Choir can be found on the school web site: www.kingsely.org/senior/choristers/ecgc-girls/

The Cathedral Girls' Choir

Any enquiries about choristerships for girls should be addressed to
Barton Square,

To arrange a visit, or for any other queries concerning admission to King's Ely,
please email admissions@kingsely.org or contact
Sarah MacDonald, Girls' Choir Director
Tel: +44 (0)1353 667362 or
SarahMacDonald@kingsely.org or
KING'S ELY (Senior School)
Admissions Staff
Tel +44 (0)1353 660702