Girls’ choir for Christ Church

Christ Church, Oxford, is delighted to announce that it is to adopt the girls’ choir, Frideswide Voices, as a permanent part of the choral foundation of the College and Cathedral.

Frideswide Voices was established in 2014 as the first choir in Oxford for girls of chorister age (7-14) to sing the Anglican liturgy in college chapels and the Cathedral. For the past three years the choir has sung termly residencies at Christ Church, New College and Magdalen.

From September 2019 the girls, who are drawn from more than 25 different schools across the city and county, will gather in Christ Church twice a week to rehearse and receive tuition in singing and a wider musical education. They will sing Evensong in the Cathedral once a week.

The formal adoption of the girls’ choir means there will now be four choirs singing throughout the year at the Cathedral, each with its distinct identity. As well as the long-established Cathedral Choir, founded in 1525 and made up of boy choristers and a mix of Academical and Lay Clerks, the Cathedral Singers sing around 100 services a year, and the College choir sings regularly during term-time.

This significant initiative is an important part of the college’s commitment to reaching out to all parts of the community, and towards improving equality of access to the opportunities provided by Christ Church.

Steven Grahl, Organist of Christ Church, commented: “I am delighted that Frideswide Voices will become part of the Joint Foundation at Christ Church. In the first 5 years of its existence, the choir has achieved a great deal, and I salute the work of the Trustees, the Choir Committee, and of dedicated and talented Music Staff. In particular, I should like to laud the achievements of the singers, and am very pleased that these choristers will find a permanent home at Christ Church. I look forward to all that they will contribute in the furtherance of our educative aims, and to their important contribution to our musical life.”

The Sub Dean, Canon Edmund Newey, said, “The girls of Frideswide Voices have already made a significant contribution to the Cathedral’s worship and we look forward to extending its depth and range through this new, closer partnership.”

William Jensen, Trustee of the Frideswide Foundation, said: “This is wonderful news and a tremendous development for the choir; it will secure a distinguished future for the girls to sing the Offices within a very significant, historic, choral tradition.”

Will Dawes, the current Director of Frideswide Voices, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Christ Church will be adopting Frideswide Voices and delighted that the girls can now proudly describe themselves as cathedral choristers. It’s a tremendously exciting move by Christ Church and a wonderful opportunity for the girls and their families.”

Potential girl choristers are auditioned in early May of school year 2. Christ Church will hold several “Be a Chorister” taster sessions (for both boys and girls) early in 2020. For information about joining the girls’ choir, contact choir@frideswidevoices.co.uk.

Notes for editors

For more information about the announcement or pictures of the current choir, contact Sarah Meyrick on 01865 286829 or Eleanor Sanger on 01865 610963.