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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;

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Events and tickets

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Beethoven - Mass in C

Rehearsal Schedule

Messiah - June 19

March Chorus Master

Ben Costello

Ben Costello Ben is a freelance musical director, adjudicator, singing coach and accompanist, working internationally. He is also Artistic Director of Thames Concerts, Founding Director of Kingston Chamber Singers, on the faculty at Laine Theatre Arts, with regular visits to Trinity Laban and Mountview Academy. He is also a busy generalist music adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals. Ben has been Chorus Master for the Leith Hill Musical Festival March concerts since 2014.

A specialist in musical theatre, with his work in that field embracing musical direction, singing teaching, accompanying and dramaturgy, Ben has worked extensively for almost all of the leading London performing arts colleges, together with the Royal Academy of Music, and the London College of Music, where he was staff MD for seven years. Countless of his former students enjoy successful careers in London’s West End and beyond.

Born and based in London, Ben trained initially as a flautist, before majoring in piano, singing and conducting. His early career included répétiteur work for London opera companies, and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, and he remains much sought-after as an accompanist in many genres, notably vocal repertoire.

He is a guest conductor and workshop leader with various choirs, and as an accompanist performs with countless singers and instrumentalists. Ben is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, organizing and chairing the Company’s annual musical direction scholarship.

Outside of music he is a keen motorcyclist.