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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



Following Government guidance on the Covid-19 situation in general, and the closure of the Dorking Halls, the Leith Hill Festival that was due to run from 16 April to 18 April 2020 was first postponed and later cancelled. It was hoped that a two-day Festival featuring two evening concerts but no choral competitions would take place in Dorking Halls on 18 September 2020 and 19 September 2020, but this too proved impossible. It has also been decided that the Come and Sing event planned for 10 October 2020 and the performance of the St Matthew Passion planned for 7 March 2021 would not go ahead.

Holders of tickets for the April concerts can apply to have their ticket costs refunded. The position is as follows:

Tickets bought through the Dorking Halls:

Anyone wishing to have a refund should approach the Dorking Halls directly. Their website states that as the April Festival has been cancelled the Dorking Halls Box Office will email or call all those who bought tickets through them to confirm that the cost of their tickets will be fully refunded.

Tickets bought through the LHMF Booking Office:

Anyone who bought tickets through the LHMF website should contact the LHMF Hon Treasurer Mrs Pat Frankland. before 30 September 2020. Her address is Mrs Pat Frankland, Fernbrook, The Street, Betchworth, Surrey RH3 7DJ.


The refund request must include the tickets for which a refund is required and details of the bank account you wish the refund paid to. Bank account information must include Account Name, Account Sort Code and Account Number. If repayment by cheque is required, please include a stamped addressed envelope.


Any queries can be emailed to Pat_frankland@hotmail.com.

A number of ticketholders have asked that the refunds to which they are entitled should be treated as donations to the Festival to help offset the costs incurred during this unprecedented season. We are most grateful for this generous support and would encourage others to do the same. Any donations received will be eligible for Gift Aid in the normal fashion.

The 2021 Leith Hill Musical Festival will be held on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 April 2021 (provided the Covid-19 situation permits it). It will consist of two evening concerts but there will be no choral competitions. The programmes for the two concerts will be as follows:

Friday 16 April 2021: Beethoven - Mass in C; Jonathan Willcocks - The Song of Mary


Saturday 17 April 2021: Bob Chilcott – A Little Jazz MassGershwin – Porgy and Bess Suite; John Rutter – Feel the Spirit


The Festival Choirs performing in these concerts will be:

Friday 16 April 2021 Beethoven/Jonathan Willcocks:  Capel, Dorking, Epsom, Leatherhead, Oxshott, Shalford + Independents Choir


Saturday 17 April 2021Bob Chilcott/Gershwin/John Rutter Beare Green and Newdigate, Bookham, Buckland and Betchworth, Holmbury St. Mary, Horsley, Mickleham


Deirdre Hicks, who was Festival Chairman from 1991 to 2005, died in July 2020. The performance of John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit on Saturday 17 April 2021 will be dedicated to her memory.


For many years LHMF has welcomed independent singers who wished to join us to sing in the March concert. We do not want to lose contact with these singers and are therefore investigating whether it would be possible to raise an ‘Independents Choir’ to sing with us in the Friday concert in April 2021. This is only possible because there will be no competitions that day. We will start to recruit such a choir once we are pretty sure the April 2021 concerts will be able to take place in the post-Covid world and at that stage we will give details of rehearsal dates, venues and so forth.


This website will be kept under constant review and updated when appropriate.

Graham Aslet             LHMF Chairman

Mandy Begg             Festival Organiser

9 August 2020