The WINDSOR AND ETON CHORAL SOCIETY (WECS) gave its first public performance in Windsor in 1837 while William the Fourth was still on the throne, making it one of the six 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. The current musical director and conductor is Tim Johnson, Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College.
The Choral Society has Her Majesty The Queen as Patron and the reigning monarch has been Patron since 1923. Members of the Royal Family including The Queen have attended performances.
The Society is about 150 strong and 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 occasionally in St George's Chapel, Windsor.
In 2020/21, suddenly WECS could not rehearse and perform in person and our rehearsals and performances moved online to keep the choir ready for the day things would return to normal. To celebrate enjoying still singing together WECS members joined digitally to perform Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus for YouTube.
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.
John Halsey is Organist & Choirmaster of Windsor Parish Church, performs regularly as an organist, cellist, choral conductor and is Regional Consultant for Berkshire for the Royal College of Organists. John was for six years Head of Music at Langley Hall Primary Academy, a free school in Slough, which became perhaps the most musical state primary in the country as measured by the number of children passing graded music exams each year. As a church musician, John has been a Gentleman of HM Chapels Royal, St James's Palace; Director of Music at St Luke's, Chelsea; Organist of the Anglican Chaplaincy in Strasbourg, France; and, during an interregnum, acting Organist of Wangaratta Cathedral, Australia.