Girls' Choir Makes History in Canterbury

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Breaking a thousand years of tradition Saturday, the first girls' choir performed at one of Britain's most ancient cathedrals. Since the Dark Ages, the Canterbury Cathedral has hosted an all-male choir. (Jan. 25)

SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Canterbury, England - January 22, 2014

1. Mid - girls' choir practicing

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Abby Cox, chorister (transcript below)

3. Wide - Canterbury Cathedral

4. Close - statue at Canterbury Cathedral

5. Wide - Canterbury Cathedral

6. Mid - girls' choir practicing

7. Wide - girls' choir practicing

8. Wide - girls' choir practicing with director playing the piano

9. SOUNDBITE (English) David Newsholme, director of girls' choir (transcript below)

10. Wide - interior of Canterbury Cathedral

11. Wide - stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral

12. Mid - stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral

13. SOUNDBITE (English) Very Reverend Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral (transcript below)

14. Wide - Canterbury Cathedral lit at night

15. Mid - girls' choir practicing

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VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

GIRL POWER HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES HERE IN CANTERBURY, ENGLAND...

(SOT: Abby Cox, chorister: ++standing alongside two other choristers, 16-year-old Poppy Braddy (left) and 12-year-old Chloe Chawner (centre)++)

"I think that's an amazing thought in the back of your mind that no girl has sung in this cathedral for over an amazingly long period of time. It's such an honor to be chosen."

THAT AMAZINGLY LONG PERIOD OF TIME IS ABOUT A THOUSAND YEARS. EVER SINCE THE DARK AGES, THE CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL HAS HOSTED AN ALL-BOYS CHOIR.

BUT NO GIRLS ALLOWED. UNTIL SATURDAY, WHEN ABOUT SIXTEEN OF THEM WERE SCHEDULED TO MAKE THEIR BIG DEBUT.

IT MARKS THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THAT AN ALL-GIRLS CHOIR WILL SING IN THE CHURCH.

(SOT: David Newsholme, director of girls' choir)

"Well, obviously they all wanted the opportunity to sing in this magnificent building. They felt rightly that this was going to be an historic event and they wanted to be a part of that."

AS THE MOTHER CHURCH OF THE WORLD'S 80 MILLION ANGLICANS, THE CHANGE IS SIGNIFICANT.

WHILE SOME FEAR THAT THE CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL'S ANCIENT TRADITIONS WILL BE LOST, THE DEAN ISN'T TOO WORRIED.

(SOT: Very Reverend Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral)

"We have a boarding choir of boys, and now the girls will - as a volunteer choir from local schools - add to that tradition and give a diversity and richness to that."

FOR NOW, THE GIRLS WILL PERFORM WHEN THE RESIDENT BOYS' CHOIR TAKES A BREAK EACH TERM, BUT THE DEAN OF CANTERBURY PREDICTS GIRLS WILL COME TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE.

JILL CRAIG/Associated Press

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