It seems impossible that each concert exceeds expectations, but this continues every time! Audience member

Henley Choral Society first met in the music room of Henley Grammar School in 1973 and gave its first concert in the Spring of 1974. Since then we have sung music from a wide range of styles and periods: from Monteverdi, taking in the old favourites, Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Brahms, right through to original works commissioned especially for us from Ian D. Crew, and, most recently, from celebrated British choral composer, Cecilia McDowall.

Concerts with the choir in Leichlingen, Henley’s twin town in Rheinland, Germany, have been a consistent part of our musical life and many of our members have made strong friendships as a result. More recently we have made exchange visits with the choir in Falaise, Normandy.

We celebrated our 40th Anniversary in 2013 with a sold-out performance of the Verdi Requiem at the Concert Hall, Reading, under Will Dawes. You can read the review, and watch a video of  the rehearsal for our final concert with Will.

We maintained our membership and close bonds throughout the covid pandemic when it was not possible to rehearse or perform through online rehearsals led by Peter Asprey.

We celebrated our 50th Anniversary with a commission from celebrated British choral composer Cecilia McDowall. You can watch a video describing the genesis of The Ice is Listening here, and read a review of the World Premiere in Henley here. 

Our 50th Anniversary celebrations also included the very first Henley Big Sing. Designed to encourage everyone, young and old, to experience the joy of singing in a large group, this free community event was a great success and also raised money for the Riverside Counselling Service.

Our co-founder, Wendy Hawkins, is a recipient of the Henley Town Medal for services to the community. You can read more about Wendy’s reflections on our 50th Anniversary here.



  • Richard Harker 2022 –
  • Peter Asprey 2016 – 2022
  • Benjamin Goodson 2013 – 2016
  • Will Dawes 2006 – 2013
  • Will Carslake 2004 – 2006
  • Robert Webb 2000 – 2003
  • Frances Brewitt-Taylor 1993 – 2000
  • Chris Walker 1987 – 1993
  • Brian Richardson 1977 – 1987
  • Graham Gooder 1973 – 1977