Harrow Choral Society was fortunate to have Simon Williams as our Music Director from 1992-2022 and we are pleased to announce his continued involvement with the choir as our Vice President. Simon's association with us goes back to 1982 when he was first invited, as an organist, to play for our Christmas Celebration concert. After a few years as accompanist he was unanimously invited to take over as Music Director in 1992.
Following his musical education at Durham University and the Royal College of Music, Simon began his professional career as Assistant Director of Music at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood. He subsequently became Director, RCO Academy, the education programme of The Royal College of Organists, and Organist and Director of Music at St George's Hanover Square, where he was responsible for directing the professional choir. Simon has made numerous radio broadcasts both as conductor and organist.
Through his inspirational leadership Simon was able to obtain exceptionally high standards from the choir. His musicianship and teaching skill, humour and dedication made the learning of challenging pieces not only achievable but also enjoyable.
Simon believed it was important to mix well-known choral works with new or less familiar repertoire and won a Performing Rights Society Award for enterprise in programming. Under his direction the choir gave first performances of several major works by composers such as Bryan Kelly, Jonathan Ayerst and Lorna K. Dawson. Simon also received a BT/NFMS Innovation Award for his part in establishing HCS’s training choir, Singing for Starters.
Simon was pro-active in leading the choir through the Covid pandemic, managing to maintain a high standard of weekly online rehearsals as well as other events. His dedication was enormously helpful in maintaining choral skills and raising morale amongst members during this challenging period.
Simon stepped down as Music Director in the summer of 2022 after 30 successful years and accepted the position as Vice-President in Autumn 2022.