Earl and Countess attend events in city
ROYAL visitors The Earl and Countess of Wessex were welcomed to Wells on September 24.
The Countess visited Wells Cathedral and Wells Cathedral School, in her capacity as Patron of the Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Girl Cathedral Choristers.
She met the boy and girl choristers, attended a short musical performance by musicians from Wells Cathedral School, listened to a Chorister rehearsal in the Cathedral and took part in the cutting of a celebratory anniversary cake.
She was later joined by her husband in the Cathedral at a service of Choral Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir.
The service was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, the current High Sheriff, and a large number of other civic guests. Regular worshippers and all the Cathedral volunteers were also invited to attend the service.
The Countess of Wessex in Vicars' Close
Boys first sang in Wells Cathedral in the year 909, and Wells Cathedral School was established the same year. In 1994 girls joined the choral foundation for the first time. Today the choir consists of 18 boys and 18 girls, alongside nine professional male singers, the ‘Vicars Choral’, along with three Choral Scholars who are all trained by the country’s leading music schools and have been selected by competitive audition.
In common with other Cathedral choirs, young Choristers at Wells engage in a rigorous programme of more than 20 hours a week of rehearsing and performing, often seven days a week in term-time, with sessions before and after most school days.
Boys and girls usually sing separately alongside the Vicars Choral for each of the Cathedral’s nine weekly sung services, but all join together for larger services, events, and tours, several times a year.
Both girls and boys generally leave the choir at the end of Year 9 with many of them remaining at Wells Cathedral School to complete their education.