Last update 23/3/16
by Neil Hawes
Whitton Choral Society
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History
Overview

Whitton Choral Society (WCS) was formed in 1968 as a result of a group of people from local churches coming together at St. Augustine's Church once a year to take part in a music and mime production. The group expanded into performing concert versions of Gilbert and Sullivan such as "Patience" and "Trial by Jury" at an ecumenical Harvest Supper, and then incorporated a Good Friday cantata that was generally sung at the Baptist Church.* Many of its members are still from local churches, but there is also a wider membership.

The original conductor was Revd. (now Revd. Canon) Beau Brandie, who was curate at St. Augustine's Church, Whitton. Ian McFarlane took over as Musical Director in January 1971 when Father Brandie left the area, and was in the post for nearly 40 years until his death in 2009. Ian McFarlane was a former saxophone pupil at Kneller Hall and then served with The Highland Light Infantry Band for eight years in Palestine, Malta and touring Benghazi and Torbruk whilst in Egypt. Upon leaving the army he took up choral singing and conducting.

Neil Hawes was appointed as the Director of Music in May 2009.

* Thanks to Canon Brandie for this information.

Highlights from 2000-2006

From 2000 to 2006 our programme was particularly varied and exciting and involved combining with other choirs and groups for a number of events:

  • "Mostly Mozart" in February 2006 with the Corps of Army Music Orchestra and Kneller Hall trumpeters.
  • Two concerts in aid of the Down's Syndrome Association in December 2005.
  • "Chorus - a Classical Gala" in February 2005 with the Corps of Army Music Orchestra.
  • "Gloria! - a feast of Glorious Music" in February 2004 with the Corp of Army Music Orchestra and Kneller Hall Trumpeters.
  • Singing "Music for a Royal Occasion" in February 2003 as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Billed as the "Whitton Community Choir" in the Kneller Hall Royal Military School of Music Royal Golden Jubilee outdoor concert in June 2002, compered by Richard Baker and including fireworks, from which a CD was released ("Kneller Hall Live Vol 3").
  • Singing two performances of Handel's Messiah with the Army Massed Bands at St. Augustine's Church in January 2002.
  • Joining with the church choir at St. Augustine's Church, Whitton in May 2001 to sing Choral Evensong, followed by a concert entitled "A celebration of English Music".
  • Singing in Richmond Borough's Millennium 2000 concert performance of Verdi's Requiem in November 2000 at the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington.
More details of all of these events can been on the Past concerts page.

The choir at the Christmas concert 8th December 1990 in St. Augustine's Church Whitton:
The choir at the Christmas concert 8th December 1990 in St. Augustine's Church Whitton

The choir at a rehearsal in Whitton Baptist Church in March 2007:
The choir at a rehearsal in Whitton Baptist Church in March 2007

The choir at the summer concert 3rd July 2010 in the hall of Whitton Baptist Church:
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