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About Wokingham Choral Society

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Wokingham Choral Society

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.

Wokingham Choral Society, 2017 (click for larger picture)

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 Senior School, Wokingham.

See more 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 of WCS from one of our summer concerts, Pilgrim's Progress.

Music Directors of WCS

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, previously Music Director of the Dallas Opera and Cologne Opera, that it acquired the high standard that attracted the equally renowned Paul Daniel CBE who went on to become Music Director of the English National Opera.

Stephen Layton, MBE 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. Awarded M.B.E. for services to music, in October 2020

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, Edward became Music Director of English National Opera for ten years (2006-15). He was awarded the OBE in 2012, for services to music. He has been Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic since October 2015. Edward was recently appointed Principal Conductor Designate of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with his tenure commencing in September 2021.

Aidan Oliver, Musical Director 2002-2007, has been Director of Music at St Margaret's, Westminster, the Parliamentary Church. He was also Chorus Master of the Philharmonia Voices and directs the professional ensemble Spiritus. In 2019 he was appointed chorus director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.

Alexander Chaplin, Musical Director 2007-2015, is Musical Director of East London Chorus, Harlow Chorus and The Savoy Hotel Choir as well as Director of Music at Hinde Street Methodist Church in London's West End and a Lecturer at Morley College.

Patrick Allies, Musical Director 2015-2018, founded Siglo del Oro, was until recently Conductor of Blackheath and Bramley Choral Society and of chamber choir Khoros as well as Senior Choral Specialist at Lady Margaret School Parson's Green, and Director of Music at All Saints' Putney.

James Morley Potter, Musical Director (Sep 2018-present), is Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Battersea, where he directs the choir and scholars in weekly choral services. In Oxford, he is Director of Cathedral Singers at Christ Church Cathedral.


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