Girls in the choir
Sir: As a former Head Chorister, and sister of the current Head Chorister, of St Davids Cathedral Choir, it was with great interest that I read Clare Garner's report (17 May), on the inclusion of girls in the traditionally male-dominated cathedral choirs.
St Davids Cathedral Choir , not Salisbury, was the first to recruit girls. Girls have been singing the top line at cathedral services at St Davids since the mid-1960s, and from the early 1990s the top line of the main cathedral choir has been composed entirely of girls - despite the fact that the cathedral also possesses an additional boys' choir. The majority of the cathedral's services are sung by the girls, either independently or with the Vicars Choral of the Choir.
The girls, aged between seven and 17, are all chosen from local primary and secondary schools. This tiny city, with a population of under 2,000, has no choir school
In response to the dismay of the Campaign for the Defence of the Traditional Cathedral Choir, I would invite Michael Howard to visit St Davids Cathedral and attend some of its choral services. It would then become apparent that his comments about "the unfocused nature of little girls' voices" are unfounded. The girls produce a tone quality unparalleled by many boys choirs, and are more than capable of "producing the dynamic range from pianissimo to forte" on a regular basis.
EMMA S WATKINS