Lesley Garrett: Girls should be allowed to sing at King’s College Carols

Singer says that the boys’ only line-up at the Christmas Eve event is “cruel” for any girls who enjoy singing and are good enough – and is a “complete anachronism”

For 100 years King’s College Cambridge has held a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve – with an all-male line up.

But acclaimed opera singer Lesley Garett has called on the choir to admit girls for the first time, saying that the exclusion of one half of the population is a “complete anachronism” and a “throwback to a bygone age”.

Writing in the latest issue of Radio Times, the singer notes that the event, which is broadcast by the BBC and around the world, is performed by one of only a few male only ecclesiastical choirs – 11 at the last count – that don’t have girls singing the top line trebles. And she says that needs to change.

.. She adds: “Backward looking traditionalists argue that there’s an exclusive purity in the boy’s voice – what Benjamin Britten called the ‘tremulous beauty’ of the boys’ treble voice – but I think that’s just nonsense.