St Albans Cathedral hosts special service to mark 20 years of Abbey Girls Choir

Abbey Girls Choir

Abbey Girls Choir - Credit: Archant

A special service is being held in St Albans Cathedral this Saturday (25) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its girls choir.

The service will be sung by the present choristers of the St Albans Abbey Girls Choir along with the men of St Albans Cathedral Choir.

Former choristers have been invited back to the cathedral to sing in the eight-part Ave Maria by Gustav Holst which will form the conclusion to the service.

Opening the service, the current choristers will give the first performance of Holy Innocents, a work specially-composed by Judith Weir to mark the occasion.

Judith, who will be in the cathedral for the service, is one of the country’s most highly-regarded composers and holds the post of Master of the Queen’s Music.

One of her recent choral works was premiered at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th birthday at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Tom Winpenny, director of the the Abbey Girls Choir, said: ‘We are very pleased to be celebrating this significant milestone in the life of the Abbey Girls Choir.

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“Over 100 girls have progressed through the choir since its formation in 1996, and I am delighted that many of them will be returning for this celebratory service, along with my predecessors Simon Johnson and Andrew Parnell.”

He added: “We are particularly honoured to be welcoming Judith Weir who has composed a beautiful new anthem for us, which I am sure will take pride of place in our repertoire.”

Like the boy choristers in the cathedral choir, the girls attend several local schools and rehearse early in the morning and in the late afternoon before and after school.

Primarily an upper-voice choir, they also sing with the lay clerks (gentlemen) of the cathedral choir for certain services each term and for other special events.