Winchester and County Music Festival

We are not a choir, as such, but an umbrella organisation that organises annual gatherings of seven constituent choirs in the Winchester Area, on two successive Saturdays in May to perform wonderful works from the choral repertoire.

The Festival originated from a meeting in the Winchester Guildhall on 30 September 1921 with the support of several distinguished musical personalities. Originally it was competitive with school choirs included but it also gave opportunities for participating choral groups to combine for the performance of major works under eminent adjudicator-conductors. The latter included Ralph Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells, Sir Henry Wood and Sir Adrian Boult, working alongside soloists like Isobel Baillie, Owen Brannigan and Leon Goossens.

Audience sizes and expanding choir numbers required a move to Winchester Cathedral in 1942 and in 1977 the growth in choir sizes led to the use of Romsey Abbey as well. A programme for a week-long Festival in the 1980s included a social event, a Cathedral performance, a youth choir, a ladies choir, choral evensong, a chamber music recital and a performance in Romsey. Latterly, the established pattern is for two annual Spring concerts in Winchester Cathedral and Romsey Abbey respectively, a series of combined choir rehearsals, an advance ‘taster day’ on the selected repertoire and a choral workshop or ‘Come & Sing’ in the Autumn.

The Compton & Shawford Festival Choir is the only society still in existence which performed in the first Festival, although Easton & Martyr Worthy (now known as the Itchen Valley Choir) and Winchester City Festival Choir joined the following year, followed by Botley Choral Society in 1925.

We enjoy ourselves immensely, and would commend our performances to you, or even welcome you to one of our choirs!

Do read on…

David Burgess
Director of Music



As WCMF members already know, Compton and Shawford Festival Choir are planning to celebrate their Centenary year with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem in Winchester Cathedral on Saturday 27th Feb. 2021 at 7.30pm. We are inviting “Friends” to join us in this concert, especially if they are able to attend the Verdi Sing Day at Colden Common Community Centre on 13th Feb, or Monday rehearsals from January at Shawford Parish Hall, or both. We already have some 50+ “Friends” registered to sing with us, and there is obviously a limit to the numbers we can accommodate, so please get in touch very soon (link below?) if you are interested. We emphasize that this is NOT a “Come and Sing”; you will need your own vocal score, know your part and, as mentioned above, attend rehearsal(s).

As with everything choral, all this depends on the Covid 19 situation and Government advice and directives, probably to be released in November. For this reason we are arranging with the Cathedral to have some alternative dates available – possibly in April or May now that the WCMF Anvil concert has been cancelled.

We hope this finds you and yours continuing to keep safe and singing.