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New and prospective members are always welcome. Please come along and try us out! We meet on Monday evenings at 7:45pm in St Mary's Hall, Overton. See the 'Joining' page if you need directions.

Please read the Guidance for Covid Secure Rehearsals before you come.

About OCS

Numbering 20 to 30 singers, the choir presents at least 3 concerts a year. We participate every year in the Winchester County Music Festival (WCMF), coming together with other choirs from Hampshire and a professional orchestra and soloists to perform in either Romsey Abbey or Winchester Cathedral.

This year we are celebrating 100 years of the WCMF with a performance of Handel's Messiah in The Anvil, Basingstoke. See booking details here.

Our conductor is Paul Timms of Andover, who is a former Director of Music at Farleigh School and is now an independent music teacher.

Overton Choral Society is a member of the National Federation of Music Societies.

choir image

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.

This year, 2018, we visited Euskirchen and joined Sängerkreis to sing Schubert's Mass in G at St Bruno's Cathedral, Cologne. The picture below was taken in the Major's Parlour and shows the joint choirs, the Mayor of Euskirchen and our visitors.

image of the joint choirs

Image: choir photoPerforming in Périgueux

Image: Entertaining our hosts at Euskirchen Entertaining our hosts
at Euskirchen

image from Brahms workshopBrahms Requiem Workshop,
March 2015

image of Silk Mill visit

May 2015 visit of Sängerkreis Euskirchen to Overton, on a visit to Blue Sapphire Gin at Laverstoke.


Musical Director Paul Timms
Accompanist Claire Ellis
Chairman Lyn Hardy
Secretary Emily Brady
Publicity Claire Bailey / Lyn Hardy
Treasurer David Carter
Librarian Cathy Robertson
Member Communications Nicky Nicklin


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.

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