Wokingham Choral Society was formed by a small group of enthusiasts in July 1951 and gave its first concert in November that same year. Membership has gradually increased over the years to over 100 singers with strength in all four voice parts.
WCS performs two major concerts a year with professional orchestras and soloists; a charity Christmas carol concert with either a local young persons choir or our associate Wokingham Choral Academy; a summer concert of a generally lighter selection of choral music.
In addition to this diary of four concerts, WCS has sung by special invitation at Guildford Cathedral for Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra and St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Brandenburg Sinfonia.
Rehearsals are held on Thursdays from 7.30 to 9.45pm at The Emmbrook School, Wokingham.
The choir's Musical Director is Alexander Chaplin.
See photos of WCS in rehearsal and concert.
As well as singing together, we arrange social events for members and their partners, including concert visits, quizzes and a major summer event. You can see some photographs of recent events.
WCS also organises Open Choral Workshops which attract singers from many different choral groups over a wide area. See here photographs of the Workshop led by Brian Kay.
Listen to a recording (wait for it to load!) of WCS from one of our summer concerts, Pilgrim's Progress.
The choir developed under a number of very able conductors but it was under the direction of what became the international figure of Graeme Jenkins, currently Music Director of the Dallas Opera and Cologne Opera, that it acquired the high standard that attracted the now equally renowned Paul Daniel CBE who went on to become Music Director of the English National Opera.
Stephen Layton was Musical Director from 1991-1997. Stephen is currently Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia, Musical Director of the Holst Singers and Polyphony, Director of Music at The Temple Church (until 2006), Director of Music and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Edward Gardner, OBE, Musical Director from 1997-2002, after periods assisting Mark Elder at the Hallé Orchestra and Director of Music of Glyndebourne on Tour is now Music Director of the English National Opera. He was awarded the OBE in 2012, for services to music.
Aidan Oliver, Musical Director 2002-2007, is Director of Music at St Margaret's, Westminster, the Parliamentary Church. He is also Chorus Master of the Philharmonia Voices and directs the professional ensemble Spiritus.
Alexander Chaplin, the choir's current Musical Director since 2007, continues to maintain the same high standards achieved by his predecessors.