City schoolgirls take centre stage at Downton Abbey

St Anthonys School  Choir - who took centre stage at Highclere Castle,  known to TV viewers as Downton Abbey.

St Anthonys School Choir - who took centre stage at Highclere Castle, known to TV viewers as Downton Abbey.

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A SCHOOL choir has enjoyed its very own starring role – at Downton Abbey.

The girls from St Anthony’s School, in Thornhill Terrace, Sunderland, took centre stage at Highclere Castle in Hampshire – made famous as Downton Abbey in the hit ITV period drama – on Sunday

“Initially when I enquired about the choir singing at the castle, our request was turned down,” said vocal coach Teresa Dewhirst. “But then the Countess of Carnarvon herself said we could perform.

“Highclere has become hugely popular with visitors since Downton Abbey was filmed, but thanks to the Countess, whose home it is, we will be one of the first school choirs to perform there.

“It is very exciting for the girls to sing at the castle.”

The St Anthony’s choir performed at the castle on Sunday afternoon, as part of a five-day tour featuring performances at Blenheim Palace, Oxford University and Oxford Oratory.

“Our girls are being given the chance to sing at some of the finest buildings in Oxford and Hampshire. These are the opportunities you have to grab, as they are so rare,” said Mrs Dewhirst.

In recent years the choir has toured Poland, France and Italy, where the girls became one of the first British school choirs to sing at the Vatican in Rome.

It was after hearing about their Vatican performance that the Countess of Carnarvon agreed to let the girls take centre stage at Highclere Castle.

“We make a little history each day we perform and I’m sure this tour will remain in the memories of the girls for many years to come,” added Mrs Dewhirst.

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