The WINDSOR AND ETON CHORAL SOCIETY gave its first public performance in Windsor in 1837 while William the Fourth was still on the throne, making it one of the ten oldest Choral Societies in the country. Founded by the then Organist of St George’s Chapel Windsor, it has always had a close connection with both St George’s Chapel and Eton College, conductors having been drawn in almost equal numbers from the two royal foundations. They include Ralph Allwood from 1985 until 2011 who was succeeded by Tim Johnson, the current conductor.
The Choral Society is honoured to have had among its patrons Prince Albert, Princess Christian and, since 1923, the reigning Monarch. Of the present Royal Family, H.M. The Queen, Prince Philip and the late Queen Mother have all attended performances.
The Society is about 150 strong. and has ventured into new territory with works by Howells, Dankworth, Nielsen, Bernstein, Spicer and Ferguson, but generally performs a very varied selection from the main choral repertoire. Most concerts take place in Eton College School Hall or College Chapel but also in St George's Chapel, Windsor from time to time.
Many eminent soloists have appeared with the society from Dame Clara Butt to Dame Emma Kirkby. Many young soloists who performed early in their careers with the society have gone on to great things such as Gerald Finley and Susan Bullock, both now in demand all over the world.
The Society participated in the 2007 Falklands commemoration ceremony televised from Horse Guards Parade and in the hugely successful May 2008 Royal Windsor Tattoo featured on BBC1 and, in September, in the spectacular and much acclaimed 'Music on Fire' at Sandhurst attended by 22,000 people.
A major celebration of the 175th birthday took place in 2012, including a performance of Messiah, repeating the Society’s very first concert.
Our Forthcoming Concerts
Tim Johnson, Precentor
and Director of Music at Eton College took over as Conductor of WECS in
September 2011. Tim was Director of Music at Westminster School and regularly
directed their choir and orchestra in venues such as St John’s Smith Square and
Westminster Abbey. Tim read Music at Cambridge where he was an Organ Scholar
and Co-Principal Cellist in the University Orchestra. In 1995, Tim was
appointed Assistant Director of Music and Head of Strings at Wellington School.
Five years later he became Director of Music at Eltham College. A highlight
during Tim’s period at Eltham was preparing the trebles for a live Radio 3
broadcast of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.