Girl choristers hit the high note with roof top rehearsal at Ely Cathedral

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

Brimming with pride – and not without a modest sense of achievement – the girl choristers of Ely Cathedral climbed more than 100 feet for a visually stunning pre-Christmas rehearsal.

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

Sixteen choristers hit the high note with an ad hoc gathering oN the roof.

St Luke wrote “Glory to God in the highest”, and for the choristers it was a chance to go as high as they could, or was wise to do so.

The choir form parts of the tradition of King’s Ely and are currently in a ‘bubble’ to ensure they can rehearse and sing together.

There has been a boys’ choir at King’s for more than 1,000 years but it was only in 2006 that the girls’ choir was formed.

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson


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Since their foundation the girls have made six critically acclaimed CDs and have sung on television.

Director of music is Sarah MacDonald who held the post of director for a year in 2008, and was appointed permanently in 2010.

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The 18 girls are all boarders at King’s Ely Senior in Years 9 to 13. They come from a wide variety of preparatory schools, including King’s Ely Junior, Exeter Cathedral School, The Durham Chorister School, and Wells Cathedral School.

They also appear regularly on BBC Radio 3, most recently on Armistice Day 2020, when they broadcast Evensong live from the cathedral as part of the BBC’s marking of 100 years since the burial of the unknown soldier.

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

Sarah said: “We are really looking forward to singing at the cathedral this Christmas.

It will be lovely to spread a little joy in what has been a difficult year for so many of us.”

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation

The girls choir from Ely Cathedral enjoying an outside rehearsal on the Octagon roof in preparation for the socially-distanced and ticketed Christmas service. Aerial photos show them performing high up on the roof of the Gothic cathedral. Picture; GEOFF ROBINSON - Credit: Geoff Robinson

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