The Dorking Halls was built to house the Festival and opened in 1931;
'Song for a Spring Festival', written by RVW to celebrate the Festival's 50th year, may only be performed at the Festival;
RVW retired as Festival Conductor in 1953, but continued to conduct the St Matthew Passion until 1958;
Whilst living in Dorking, RVW composed works including Serenade to Music, Symphonies 4 - 7 and The Pilgrim's Progress;
RVW conducted the first combined choirs concert at the Festival on 10 May 1905;
The first competition day at the Festival exclusively for children was held in 1921;
In 1934 the BBC broadcast part of the Festival performance of Dream of Gerontius;
The first Festival performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1931 had 800 singers;
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Sunday, 8th March 2020
B Minor Mass
Conductor: Jonathan Willcocks
Helena Moore (soprano)
Amy Holyland (contralto)
Aaron Godfrey-Mayes (tenor)
Michael Ronan (bass)
Dear J S Bach – Mass in B Minor singers,
As I hope was evident on the night, I was absolutely delighted with the energy and musical confidence that you all brought to our performance at Dorking on Sunday evening.
Congratulations and a big thank-you to you all for making such a special occasion possible. It was a big musical challenge, with many of you learning the work for the first time, but you simply sang your socks off and the response from the audience at the end said it all.
The Leith Hill Musical Festival is all about singers coming together to share their love of choral music, and to feast together on this truly monumental work was a very special occasion. And thank you also for ensuring that on the night we had such a good audience to enjoy our performance.
I do hope that you all also have equally vibrant and positive memories of Sunday and will now ring-fence in your diaries Sunday March 7th 2021 which we are planning to be the date for the LHMF performance of another of Bach’s greatest works, the St. Matthew Passion.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Festival in April, but hopefully all of you again for rehearsals and performance in January – March 2021.
With very best wishes - Jonathan
Jonathan Willcocks conducted the internationally-acclaimed baroque orchestra Canzona, with rising stars of the concert platform as soloists and an amateur choir expertly trained by our chorus master Ben Costello. The accompanist for the rehearsals was Festival Accompanist, Jean Douglas Tutt.