Member of the National Federation of Music Societies
President: Malcolm Singer M.A. (Cantab.)
Director of Music, The Yehudi
Director of Music: Jonathan Kilhams
Voice Choir outside Peterborough Cathedral
where they sang on route to a joint concert
Sheffield's Worrall Male Voice Choir
| We are a choir of amateur
singers who :
- Are based in Weybridge, Surrey, England and come
from all backgrounds, age groups, occupations and
levels of singing experience
- Sing for our own enjoyment , to preserve and
extend the male voice choir tradition and to raise
money for deserving causes
- Are a registered charity in our own right ,
performing twenty concerts or more each year for
local and national charities
- Take pride in the reputation we enjoy and the
standard of performance we have achieved under the
expert guidance of our Musical Director
- Delight in sharing our love of singing with
local, national and international audiences
- Maintain an extensive and varied repertoire from
which we are able to build a concert programme to
suit all musical tastes
- Have undertaken many concert tours nationally
and abroad, and participate in festivals and
- Enjoy the unique fellowship and camaraderie of
joint performances and events with other choirs
- Gladly welcome new members without formal
audition - the only requirement is a desire to sing!
|The Weybridge Male Voice Choir was formed in
1921 by a small group of enthusiastic singers and since
then has grown to its present strength of over sixty
members, enjoying a national and international reputation
for performance quality and entertainment value.
Although the choir is based in Weybridge in Surrey our
membership is drawn from all over Surrey and from all
walks of life. We enjoy entertaining audiences throughout
Surrey, the South East and many other parts of Great
Britain, raising funds through our performances for many
local and national charities. The choir has also travelled
extensively, performing concerts and joining with other
choirs in competitions and festivals throughout the UK and
We offer exciting and varied programmes of
popular opera choruses, spirituals, hymns and devotional
pieces, traditional songs and ballads and choral
arrangements of songs from musical shows and the current
popular music scene, all performed in the spine-tingling
four-part harmony which is unique to traditional male
voice choral singing.
The choir continues to
flourish and following the untimely death of our
long-serving Musical Director Christine Best in 2012 we
have been fortunate to benefit from the direction of our
Deputy MD Ed Pepper; from Gareth Giles; and from our
present Director Jonathan Kilhams, under whose
enthusiastic leadership we look forward to singing through
to our centenary year in 2021 and beyond!
How It All Started
In 1921 a small group of choristers from the
United Reformed 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
"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.
Like any amateur organisation the choir has had its 'downs' as
well as 'ups'. After the burgeoning success of the first years
the choir hit hard times in the early thirties, with falling
membership resulting in an unbalanced choir. With hard work and
enthusiasm, however, this trend was soon reversed and the choir
re-structured to continue its growth, entering the local
competitive arena in 1933 at the Kingston Music Festival.
Participation in festivals has continued ever
since with some notable successes. The Second World War
interrupted activities, but at a special general meeting in 1946
the choir was reunited once more to resume where it had left
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 Christine Best as Musical Director, who
had already been involved with the choir for many years as
Voice Choir in Cathedral Concert, Liverpool
The last decade has 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
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, Peterborough, Wells, Ely, London
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!
Jonathan Kilhams Bmus(hons) ABRSMdip,
started his music career as a Chorister in Chichester Cathedral,
where from an early age he realised his love of choral singing.
This continued to flourish at his secondary school, Lancing
College and resulted in him gaining a choral scholarship to
Royal Holloway University of London where he was a member of the
prestigious Chapel Choir. Through this choir Jonathan has
recorded nearly ten discs on the world renowned Hyperion record
label and toured this music around Europe, America and China.
Being a soloist on several of these albums has resulted in him
performing live on Estonian, British and American radio.
Jonathan enjoys a successful singing career as well as his
conducting and has performed to people such as Charles, Prince
of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge as well as performing in
prestigious venues such as The Barbican Centre, Royal Festival
Hall and The Royal Albert Hall. Jonathan is a member of the
cutting edge choir, Lumina and also sings regularly with the
National Portrait Choir and several Cathedrals across the South.
Much of Jonathan’s work is taken up with conducting a
variety of choirs from Weybridge Male Voice Choir to children’s
choirs in Shepperton. Since leaving university in 2012 his
conducting career has continued to flourish and is in high
demand in London and Surrey. His belief that choral singing is a
universal language that has the power to bring people together
in times of need is infectious and has resulted in his choral
society, Walton Voices, doubling in size in just one year.
Ed Pepper, Deputy Conductor
Ed joined the choir in 1974 as a Baritone and subsequently
transferred to the Bass section. Coming from a musical family
his singing career started at a young age, joining his local
church choir at the age of 9. He has been singing ever since,
currently with WMVC and Mosaic Chamber Choir. Along the way he
performed with a quartet which came third in a Radio Two
Barbershop Competition, subsequently recording 4 songs for later
During his time with WMVC Ed has served as
Baritone Section Representative, Secretary, Stage Manager and
Chairman. As one of the Choir’s solo entertainers he is renowned
for his humorous monologues.
His role as Deputy Conductor
is to complement and support the Musical Director and he has
relished the opportunities to conduct both in weekly rehearsals
and in concert. During the period of uncertainty following the
illness and subsequent passing of Christine Best in 2012 and
again in 2013 with the retirement through ill health of Gareth
Giles, Ed was pivotal in ensuring that the choir's performances
continued, taking over all rehearsals and concert performances,
including participation in 2012 in the Five Choirs Concert in St
James' Church, Weybridge and the Diamond Jubilee Massed Male
Choir Festival at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon.
Wood - Accompanist
Mike Wood's enjoyment of music and musical
performance has endured from his early teens when he learnt the
flute. He played in many orchestras and also found the
opportunity to teach himself to play the organ. He was appointed
church organist when he was 16.
Mike joined WMVC as a chorister, but after a brief spell became
the choir's accompanist.
He describes himself as an amateur musician who is delighted to
have found a beneficial outlet for his talents.
As well as playing for other choral societies
and groups, he was for some years Organist and Choirmaster at St
Mary's Church, Sunbury and St Nicholas' Church in Shepperton.
Best BA Cert Ed. A Cert CM, Musical Director 1985 - 2012
Christine Best died on Tuesday 2 October 2012, after a year-long
fight with cancer. She had been re-admitted to St Peter's
Hospital, Chertsey a few days before and passed away peacefully
in her sleep.
Christine Best had been a well known and
loved figure in the musical life of Weybridge and the
surrounding area for many years. She attended Woking Grammar
School and later went on to Whitelands College of Education to
study English and Drama. Here she also became part of the
musical life of the college, studying with Gordon Reynolds,
Master of Music at Hampton Court Palace. She returned at
weekends to play the organ at St. Michael’s Church, the then
daughter church of St James’ in Weybridge.
Christine left college and started teaching at St. James Junior
School, at the same time becoming accompanist for the Weybridge
Male Voice Choir. She continued in that role for the next
eighteen years, apart from one or two short periods filling in
as conductor whilst the choir was between MDs! She took over as
full-time Musical Director in 1985.
In 1982 Christine was
appointed Deputy Head of St James Junior School and subsequently
became Head Teacher at St Mary’s Junior School in Long Ditton.
On her retirement she became a Governor of what is now St James
C of E Primary School in Weybridge.
As Director of Music
at St James’ Church in Weybridge she was awarded the Maynard
Prize in 2008 for gaining the highest marks overall in the
course for the Archbishops’ Award of the Guild of Church
Musicians. In the same year she was made an Honorary Member of
the Guild of Church Musicians for her work in the field of
Christine was also Musical Director of
Treble Clef Ladies' Choir and of the Weyward Singers.
Want To Join
|Want To Join Us?
"But I can't sing..."
This is the reply which often comes back when someone is
invited to join the choir. in actual fact most of us can
sing, but many of us don’t realise it!
And it's true! Singing and making music is as
instinctive to us humans as breathing, eating and
drinking! It helps if you can hold a tune in your head,
but beyond that everything else can be taught.
|So if you live within reach of Weybridge
and you'd like to give us a try, just come along to one
of our weekly practice sessions, any Tuesday evening,
8pm at St James'
Parish Centre, Weybridge. Park in the adjoining
Churchfield Road Car Park.
There is no formal audition, only an informal test after
a few weeks. You will be made very welcome and can
decide for yourself whether or not you want to join us.
Of course, we're always happy to welcome experienced
singers too, so if you live or work in the area, please
James' Parish Church
|We have built up an extensive and varied
repertoire of items ranging from traditional male voice
numbers to modern arrangements, and regularly add new
items, many of them suggested by members themselves.
We also sing bespoke arrangements and original numbers
written by past & present musical directors!
We perform about
a dozen or so concerts each year, mostly
in support of local and national charities at home and
abroad as an important element of our choral and social
For more details, contact the Secretary on this email :
Please mention the All
About Weybridge Website.
Bernard Andrews Photography
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