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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

Music

The music to be sung at the three-day Festival in April is chosen by a Music Committee chaired by Jonathan Willcocks. Each group of four choirs prepares a different set of music in the five main classes:

Competitions:

Each choir will present an ‘own-choice’ recital (max. 20 mins), to include:

i. A piece with accompaniment

ii. A piece sung unaccompanied (a cappella)

iii. A piece written by a living composer

iv. Excerpt(s) from the major work(s) being performed in the evening concert, which will be announced to choirs two weeks before the Festival.

Ensemble Competition:

              As a ‘prelude’ to the Competitions, there will be an optional Ensemble Competition where groups of between 4-12 singers will perform a single unaccompanied piece, selected by the Music Committee. Choirs may enter as many groups as they wish. The Ensemble pieces for 2020 will be as already announced:

Blue div: Passereau – Il est bel et bon (Novello)

Red div: Finzi – My spirit sang all day (Boosey and Hawkes)

Green div: Ireland – The Hills (Stainer and Bell)

 


At the traditional March concert all those choir members who want to take part (and a growing number of independent singers) perform in rotation Bach's St Matthew or St John Passion or Handel's Messiah.

This year Bach's B Minor Mass.

Youth Choirs choose two pieces of music to showcase their skill and talent.