When making an episode of BBC Countryfile on music and the countryside, Surrey was a natural place to visit as the home of the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The programme contacted Leith Hill Musical Festival for whom Vaughan Williams was Festival Conductor from 1905 for around fifty years, and recently spent a morning filming at his Surrey family home, Leith Hill Place.
Capel Choral Society, one of the original village choirs formed to take part in the Festival, joined Countryfile presenter John Craven at Leith Hill Place, now a National Trust property recently opened for the public to enjoy. On the lawn overlooking the Surrey Hills, the choir sang Linden Lea, Vaughan Williams’ first published work, directed by conductor Christopher Warren-Green whose musical life has been heavily influenced by the composer.
LHMF Publicity Manager, Jo Forrest said “We were thrilled that Countryfile wanted to feature our founding conductor and come to Leith Hill Place to film with Capel Choral Society. The Festival is celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2015, and the 20th year for our current Festival Conductor, Brian Kay, and we still firmly believe that singing in a choir is something that everybody should be able to take part in. It certainly brings communities together.”
The programme was broadcast on BBC One at 18:20 on Sunday 12th October 2014 - Vaughan Williams’ birthday