Bath Abbey celebrates female musicians as it marks 25 years of its Girls’ Choir

By Alastair Salmon

Director of Music at Bath Abbey Huw Williams explains how important the Girls’ Choir is to Bath

Situated in the historic Bath Abbey, the Bath Girls’ Choir has been a space for young female vocalists since 1997. The group comprised of girls aged 11-18 from several state schools around Bath are marking the occasion with a performance of a specially commissioned piece and a concert in July showcasing female composers around the UK.

The group is led by Bath Abbey’s Director of Music, Huw Williams, who is incredibly proud of the girls’ achievements since he joined the group in 2017. “The girls have done a fabulous job in 25 years, and they continue to develop and grow”.

The first people to sing on this site was a convent, so in a way our girls’ choir is an extension of the oldest tradition in this space

Huw Williams, Director of Music at Bath Abbey

This anniversary is especially meaningful to Huw and the choir because, after two years of covid disruption, the group will finally be able to perform Handel’s The Messiah at Easter again, a piece that has become quite a tradition within the choir.

Huw says the girls’ performances of The Messiah are a highlight for him because they “really feel they own the piece now, they’re with us for seven years, and when they leave, this fabulous piece of music will live with them forever”.

One of the older members of the choir, Hannah, told Radio Bath’s Petra Jones that growing up with the choir has been foundational to her school experience. “I’m not sure there’s any other way I could have had such a good musical education, and I think I’ll be singing forever”.

The strong community the choir has built is a special part of Bath Abbey’s identity, and Huw describes listening to the girls sing as being ‘good for the human soul’, saying they inspire people worldwide through their music.

You can catch a performance by Bath Abbey’s Girls Choir in a special Choral Evensong broadcast on Radio 3. The group will also be performing at a concert marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June and touring from July.