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; 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;

Leith Hill Musical Festival
Bringing choirs together
for competitions and concerts in Dorking since 1905

Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets

March Concert


Sunday, 11th March 2018


George Frideric Handel

Conductor: Jonathan Willcocks

We were joined for the performance by the wonderful baroque orchestra Canzona and a team of professional soloists. March 208 heard a performance of Handel's Messiah, conducted by our  Festival Conductor, Jonathan Willcocks, who writes:-


Dear Leith Hill Messiah choir,

Congratulations on a really exciting and vibrant performance of Messiah in Dorking yesterday!

I was really thrilled with the way that you all rose to the occasion and brought to life so much of what we worked hard to develop during our series of rehearsals together. There was a wonderfully vibrant feel to the whole evening - we were strongly served by our soloists and orchestra, but at the heart of this great work has to be the choir, and you really delivered.

  I am very grateful to Ben, who did so much to develop choral confidence in the rehearsals that he led, and to Jean for her stalwart accompanying - returning from her broken arm with such commitment earlier than we could imagine!
I like to think that Vaughan Williams would have been very proud of us, and do put the date of the next year's J S Bach - St. John Passion (Sunday March 10th 2019) firmly in your diaries. The rehearsals for that concert will again be a mixed pattern of Fridays evenings and Sundays afternoons beginning in January 2019.

Ever onwards - and I look forward to seeing you all soon at the main Festival from Thurs April 12th to Saturday April 14th - either as singers or as audience. We have a great series of concerts in store.
Very best wishes, and thank you all - Jonathan