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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

Come and Sing

Verdi Requiem

October 2015:
Come and Sing with John Rutter

Held to rave reviews from a sell-out crowd!

John Rutter, President of LHMF, hosted this tremendous event in front of a full house of 450 singers at the Dorking Halls. Of these, some 130 were new to the Festival and we trust that they enjoyed it - our feedback was very positive from everyone about the organisation*, the music and especially the presenters. John was joined by Brian Kay, LHMF Conductor, as a surprise guest and their double act was much appreciated.

Brian kicked off the day at 10.30 with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus, followed by a song composed only this year by John, especially for the Festival. This was 'Awake, ye heavenly choirs' - as yet unpublished and receiving only its second outing after its performance at the Festival in April.

John then took over and interspersed working on movements of his 'Requiem' with a wide variety of other music, mostly but not all by him. From time to time he handed over to Brian, and their informal exchanges and sense of fun engendered made this a very special and unique day, which ended with a sing-through of the 'Requiem'.

This was the second 'Come & Sing' that we have organised (last year it was Bob Chilcott who had Brian Kay with him when introducing his commission for LHMF -'Dances of Time' - in celebration of Brian's 20 years as our Conductor). Such has been their success that we are already planning a third - with our new Conductor Jonathan Willcocks - on Saturday 15 October 2016. Put the date in your diary and watch this space for more details.

[* Regrettably our catering arrangements did not go according to plan, with such a large crowd, but this did not appear to mar the day. We have taken on board all the feedback we received and will do things better next time!].

The photos below were taken by a good friend of the Festival, Brian Bailey