In 1921 a small group of choristers from the United Reform Church in Weybridge decided to get together on a regular basis to sing. Very soon they were giving public performances in support of local charities and community projects, and so was born the Weybridge Male Voice Choir. From those humble beginnings the choir has grown to its present strength of over seventy members and enjoys a national and international reputation.
"Big trees from little acorns grow” seems to be a fair description of the birth and development of the Weybridge Male Voice Choir, for such was the success of a scratch male quartet at a concert in the Congregational Church Lecture Hall in Queen’s Road, Weybridge in 1921 that recruitment was started to form a choir. An inaugural meeting over a cup of tea resulted in the formation of the choir under the leadership of its first conductor, Mr Charles Edwards, and it soon started accepting local concert engagements. Recognition of the choir swiftly spread throughout North West Surrey and demand for concerts in support of worthy causes increased each year. Choir membership grew too, reaching nearly sixty by 1925.
During the twenty seven years under the Musical Directorship of Bob Farrow, from 1950 until his death in 1977, the quality, success and reputation of the choir blossomed, and continued under the subsequent leadership of Malcolm Singer (now Musical Director of the Yehudi Menuhin School at Stoke d’Abernon) and then Thomas Hartman. Under Tom’s baton the choir celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1981 with a series of special concerts, culminating in a performance of Cherubini‘s Requiem in D Minor for male voice choir and orchestra.
With Tom’s departure after two enjoyable years it was not possible to find a full-time Musical Director to replace him immediately, and the choir entered another difficult period with membership starting to fall. The trend was soon reversed, however, with the appointment in 1985 of our present MD, Christine Best, who had already been involved with the choir for many years as accompanist. The Nineties have seen another ‘golden age’ in the choir. As well as its usual programme of twenty or so concerts each year in support of charities and community projects the choir has toured abroad in Holland, Germany, France and the Czech Republic; has participated in World Choir events in Cardiff Arms Park, Atlanta and Dublin; competed with success in many festivals; performed in many cathedrals and other prestige venues (Lichfield, York, Wells, Ely, London Guildhall); and participated in the VE Day anniversary celebrations in Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. Weybridge has been an enthusiastic participant in the regular Six Choirs Festivals involving male choirs across the country, and has hosted the event on two occasions. The choir is always pleased to join with other choirs and in recent years has been pleased to welcome to its Annual Concert in Weybridge choirs from Chicago, Germany, Prague, Vancouver, Tonna and Port Talbot.
In 1996 the choir celebrated its 75th Anniversary by participating in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and staging a special Anniversary Concert at the Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, London. Thanks to the enthusiasm and devotion of its Musical Directors and other officers the choir has gone from strength to strength, becoming an integral part of the artistic and social life of Weybridge and surrounding areas as well as expanding its reputation nationally and abroad. We are resolved to continue and build on these strengths into the 21st century!