Harrow Philharmonic Choir

The Choir

Harrow Philharmonic Choir was founded in 1959 so the season, from Autumn 2019 to June 2020 was its Diamond Jubilee Season. 

We are a very friendly group of 50 or so singers. Our conductor, John Wyatt, draws from us high standards of performance, but he does so in a genial manner that makes rehearsals a pleasure. We have a talented accompanist, Heather Toyn, and an accomplished Chorus Master, Ian Lawrence, who takes some of the rehearsals. 

We are privileged to have Dame Janet Baker as our President. She attends our concerts whenever she can and we are grateful for her interest in the choir’s activities and her encouragement. 

Our normal programme is to give ‘serious’ concerts in the Autumn and the Spring with a more informal concert in the summer. In addition we have a Christmas Carol Concert. We also run workshops that lead to a ‘concert from scratch’ where we welcome singers from outside the choir. Occasionally we invite a voice coach to come and give us advice and exercises. 

Programme for the Season 2023-2024

Programme for the Season 2023-2024

When: Saturday 16th Dec 2023

Time: 4.30pm

Location: St John’s Greenhill, HA1 2JE

When: Saturday 13th April 2024

Time: 7.30pm

Location: Pinner Parish Church, HA5 3AA

When: Saturday 11th May 2024

Time: 1.30pm

Location: Wealdstone Methodist Church, HA3 7ND

including pieces marking composers’ centenaries

When: Saturday 8th June 2024

Time: 7.30pm

Location: Wealdstone Methodist Church, HA3 7ND

New Members

New members are always welcome and can be sure of a friendly reception! An informal audition is arranged after attending a few rehearsals. The ability to sight-read is useful but not essential: commitment is more important. Rehearsals are recorded and the recordings are made available to members who want to be able to go over the music in their own time.

We rehearse on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm (with a refreshment break) in the hall of Harrow High School (Gayton Road, Harrow, HA1 2JG).

If you are interested in joining us, please contact our membership Secretary; Kathryn Sweet on 020 8866 0382 or at kathryn.sweet@btinternet.com

 

Our Repertoire

Recent performances have included, on the serious side, Vivaldi’s Magnificat and Haydn’s  Maria Theresa Mass (both included in a concert of European Masters). On the less serious side, we recently performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore  Over the years we have sung most of the ‘classical’ repertoire, including Handel’s Messiah, the Bach Passions, Haydn’s  Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’s A German Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and many others. We are also keen to introduce audiences – and of course ourselves to relatively unknown works such as Bliss’s Pastorale. In March 2019 we joined two other local choirs to perform Verdi’s Requiem.

Friends of Harrow Philharmonic Choir

Friends of the Choir support the choir’s activities by paying an annual subscription that entitles them to a ticket for each of the three main concerts. They are also welcome to attend the Annual General Meeting which is held after the last concert of the season in June. The subscription is currently £25.00 per year. 

John Wyatt

Conductor

John began studying the organ with Richard Hickox at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster at the age of fourteen having started with the piano at the age of seven. He continued his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included Douglas Hawkridge for organ and Paul Steinitz for harmony and continuo playing. John has been conductor of Harrow Philharmonic Choir since 1991, bringing enthusiasm and humour along with his commitment to excellence in the choral singing tradition.

Heather Toyn

Accompanist

Heather Toyn has been accompanist with Harrow Philharmonic Choir since 1989 and has appeared as soloist with them on a number of occasions. She studied piano from an early age with Ella Pounder (a student of the renowned pianist Solomon), and continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music gaining her LRAM, GRSM hons and where she was awarded prizes for Piano Accompaniment. In her role as accompanist she has appeared at music centres throughout the UK and has also performed on BBC and ITV. She taught piano at the junior department at the Royal Academy of Music, was Assistant Director of Music at Orley Farm School from 1997 – 2015, subsequently becoming Director of Music there from 2015 – 2017. Heather is co-founder of the G & T School of Performing Arts for Children aged 3 – 16 and combines this with her work as professional accompanist, teacher and coach.

Ian Lawrence

Chorus Master

Ian has been Head of Music in three London Schools. He has also been the conductor of other local choral societies. As well as conducting he has also been bass soloist in many parts of this country and abroad.

Dame Janet Baker

President

We are privileged and honoured to have Dame Janet as our longstanding president. She actively supports us, for which we are extremely grateful.