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




Verdi Update December 2020

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. Due to possible Covid restrictions in the New Year, this date has been moved to the 15th May, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter. This date change gives us more time to rehearse, and both singers and audience more time to get vaccinated! Social distancing measures will hopefully also be relaxed by then.

(The Verdi “Sing Day” will similarly be moved – date tba.) All other arrangements for this concert – costs, times, soloists, orchestra, etc. – remain as before ie singers are all invited to join us for regular Monday rehearsals from whenever rehearsals restart in the New Year. (please see CSFC website for updates).


There may be a problem for you to get library copies of the Verdi, so if you can borrow, beg or buy one, please do. (Ricordi or Novello edition). Charity shops, or on line sellers often have new or used copies available. Today on eBay there was a used Ricordi for £4.99, so maybe ask Santa for an extra pressie!! Another possible source is Presto Music –


We emphasise that this is not a Come and Sing performance. All singers must have their own copies, know their part and attend any rehearsal (s).


Planning ahead, here are the two dates for your diaries in 2021:-


1.CSFC Centenary Verdi Requiem, Winchester Cathedral, May 15th 2021 (timings tba)


2. The next VfH concert, once again in aid of ALL Hampshire. Hospices will be a performance of Karl Jenkins’ “Armed Man” (again by popular demand!). Venue to be confirmed soon.


Finally, keep safe, singing and well, and however you spend it, have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.