Giggleswick School choristers have joined a sacred music elite in singing in the country’s greatest cathedrals.
The pupils, part of the school’s Schola Cantorum group, have sung at a professional level in Liverpool, Gloucester, Durham and St Paul’s Cathedrals over the last year, entering a world usually the preserve of university and college choirs.
Head of music Margie Simper said: “Independent schools will often have a chapel choir, but they don’t tend to tour. It is unusual, actually quite rare, for a school choir to have this privilege. They are taking the place of the professional cathedral choir on the choir’s day off so it is performing at the highest standard.
“We have been invited to return to the cathedrals we have been to and we are actively looking at others to visit in the future.”
With its own landmark chapel and professional standard theatre – bequeathed by the late Richard Whiteley – pupils are not easily fazed by the scale of many of the cathedrals.
Said Margie: “When we sang in St Paul’s the pupils were not intimidated because they just saw it as a bigger version of our chapel!”
As a regularly performing professional singer, Margie is also well placed to bring on young singers when they have finished at a cathedral school. “Their voices are breaking and it can be an unsettling time for them, but we understand that and work with them to continue to develop their singing,” said Margie.
“As well as teaching them to play, the children learn how to perform and they get lots of opportunities to practice these skills, which are so important for building confidence. Our music and drama departments also enjoy a close relationship and every other year we come together to put on a major musical show.”
Headteacher Mark Turnbull paid tribute to Margie and the Schola Cantorum choristers. He said: “We are very proud of our singers and the wider music department, which is going from strength to strength. It is an honour for them to perform in some of our country’s greatest cathedrals.”