Wimbledon Choral Society
 
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15
Dec
2018
Christmas Concert
St Paul's, Southfields
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About Us

President:               Ian Partridge  CBE
Music Director:       Neil Ferris  BMus(Hons)  ARCM  MMus
Accompanist:          Michael Higgins  BMus(Hons)  PGDip  LRAM

Wimbledon Choral Society (WCS) has a reputation for being an open, welcoming, friendly and accessible group. We are widely regarded as one of the finest amateur choirs in South East of England and our aim is to grow that reputation even further through developing our repertoire so as to appeal to a wider audience and broaden our membership base. Our repertoire is extensive and versatile, embracing traditional works alongside contemporary and popular music, from Baroque right through to the 21st century and music commissioned specially by us.
 
The choir’s origins can be found in old newspaper archives stretching back to 1880 when the newly formed Wimbledon Choral Society presented its first concert in April of that year. However evidence of subsequent activity is missing in any records and it is not until 1914 that the choir in its present guise was reformed. Further details of this, our early connections with Belgium and the development of the Society can be found on the History page.
 
Now, it is a well-established and flourishing choir with a membership of around 180, an average age considerably lower than many of its neighbouring peers and a healthy intake of new members in an area with a relatively high proportion of transient population. This keeps the choir fresh and changing and many members go on to continue singing in other choirs when they leave this part of south-west London.
 
WCS in Guildford CathedralAlthough based in Wimbledon for rehearsals there are no sizeable venues in the vicinity in which the choir’s main concerts can be performed. Following the demolition of the local Civic Hall at the end of the 1980s to make way for the Centre Court shopping centre, WCS used this as an opportunity to widen its audience and now performs in major venues in and around London. These have included Guildford and Southwark Cathedrals, St John’s Church Waterloo, New Wimbledon Theatre, The Royal College of Music, Cadogan Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.
 
In addition to its own concerts, WCS is invited regularly to participate in events produced by other organisations. Of particular note in recent years are several recordings of BBC TV’s Songs of Praise, two appearances singing from the pitch at Wembley Stadium to capacity crowds as part of the pre-match entertainment for the Rugby Football League, for more than 15 years forming half of the Festival Chorus at the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall, recording the theme music (an adaptation of Faure’s Pavane) played on every programme of BBC TV’s coverage of the Football World Cup 1998, a joint promotion with Barts Choir for a performance of Mahler’s mammoth Symphony No.8 (Symphony of a Thousand) to an audience of over 4000, and a similar joint venture with Vivace Chorus for Verdi's Requiem, both of these last two events also in the Royal Albert Hall.   The centrepiece of the choir's centenary season in 2014-15 saw it perform Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem in the Royal Festival Hall.   Paired with Saint-Saëns' Symphony No 3 (Organ), this played to a 2000-strong audience.   In May 2019, the choir returns to the RFH for the World Premiere of the da Vinci Requiem by Cecilia McDowall, commissioned by WCS to mark its centenary.
 
We work with both well-established soloists and those rising stars in the early years of their careers, as well as some of Britain’s leading orchestras like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Brandenburg Sinfonia, Charivari Agréable, London Mozart Players, Florilegium, Salomon Orchestra and Orchestra Vitae.
 
Please explore the links or contact us to find out more about this exciting choir.
 
Wimbledon Choral Society is a registered charity in England & Wales (No. 263150) with a Constitution, approved by the Charity Commission, and a small set of Rules for members.   The Annual Report and associated annual Accounts Statement are approved at the Society's AGM and are published and made available on the Charity Commission's website for public viewing.   To ensure continued operation, it has a finance Reserves Policy in force and in line with Charity Commission guidance.  In addition, in compliance with UK data protection laws and the 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), WCS has a Data Protection & Privacy Policy.
 

Past Presidents

 

Past Music Directors

1914 - 1919     Mr Richardson Evans        1914 - 1919     Dr. (George) Coleman Young 
1919 - 1931     Sir Joseph Hood MP     1919 - 1928     Kenneth Brown 
1931 - 1938     Lady Emily Roney JP     1928 - 1943     Norman Askew 
1938 - 1944     Sir Henry Wood     1943 - 1948     Cyril Winn 
1946 - 1958     Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams OM     1948 - 1962     George Shrive 
1958 - 1967     Mr Paul Beard OBE FRAM     1962 - 1965      Norman Askew 
1967 - 1992     Sir Cyril Black DL JP MP     1965 - 1978     Michael Stumbles 
1992 - 1997     Dr George Malcolm CBE     1978 - 1979     Colin Nicholls 
1997 -      Ian Partridge CBE     1979 - 2009     Michael Ashcroft 
            2009 -      Neil Ferris
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