Numbering 20 to 30 singers, the choir presents at least 3 concerts a year. We participate every year in the Winchester County Music Festival, coming together with other choirs from Hampshire and a professional orchestra and soloists to perform in either Romsey Abbey or Winchester Cathedral.
Our conductor is Paul Timms of Andover, who is a former Director of Music at Farleigh School and is now an independent music teacher. Our long serving accompanist is Nicholas Hussey.
Overton Choral Society is a member of the National Federation of Music Societies.
Here we are with 'O Little One Sweet', a piece for our 2015 Christmas Concert.
Over the past few years Overton Choral Society has developed links with two European Choirs and several exchange visits have taken place between the three choirs. Our French partners are the Ensemble Arnaut de Mareuil from Périgueux, and from Germany the Sängerkreis Euskirchen. 1997 saw all three choirs come together for a very successful Three Choirs Festival at the Anvil in Basingstoke. In 2000 we visited Euskirchen Euskirchen, Germany for a joint performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. In 2004 we played host to our German partners in a joint concert at Overton to celebrate the Sheep Fair. In 2008 we visited Euskirchen for a joint performance of Haydn's Creation.
Performing in Périgueux
Entertaining our hosts
Brahms Requiem Workshop,
In May 2015 the Sängerkreis Euskirchen visited us in Overton. We were able to return their excellent hospitality with a lunch and visits to the Whitchurch Silk Mill and Blue Sapphire Gin at Laverstoke. The weekend concluded with a joint concert, singing extracts from Brahms Requiem and other scared works.
Overton Choral Society evolved from a Glee Club, established in the early 1900's under the direction of a Mr Bennet, who travelled from Andover with his violin to accompany and direct the group of local singers. Anyone who could play an instrument was encouraged to bring it along and join in.
One of the earliest Music Festivals was inaugurated in Winchester in the 1920s and the majority of Overton singers were keen to take part. However, Mr Bennet was not in favour of competing, so the direction of the choir was taken over by the first of a remarkable series of sisters - Charlotte Portal. Charlotte never actually went to the festival with the choir, and after her marriage the second sister Hyacinthe took over the reins, successfully winning the competition. She later went abroad, and so the third sister, Margaret inherited the leadership, and when at times she could not attend, it often fell to the fourth sister Cecilia to take over the baton.
This was fortunate for the choir, since Cecilia became a student at the Royal College of Music and was able to give inspired leadership until the second world war temporarily put an end to the singing.
In 1946 Cecilia (Hoare) and her husband returned to Overton, the choir was reformed, winning the Winchester Festival several times. In the early sixties the direction of the choir passed into the able hands of Helen Pugh, who led the singers to many further notable festival successes.
The choir was led from 1977 to 1998 by David Holland, under whom it continued to flourish and to widen both the scope of its singing and the catchment area for members.