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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

Sing with us

Love to sing in a Surrey choir that is part of a wider community?

Why not join one of the twelve choral societies that are part of the Festival family? None of the choirs audition, and they’re all very friendly. 

If you can’t commit to joining a choir, independent singers are welcome to sing with us in our March concert, but you’ll need to attend the rehearsals. They’re part of the fun and an important opportunity to learn the music in depth and enable us to deliver a polished performance.

If you’re under the age of 18, why not ask your choir leader if they’d like to bring your school or youth choir to our Youth Choirs’ competition?

Since its foundation in 1905, the community spirit of the Festival has been a priority. When the Festival was founded in 1905 by Evangeline Farrer and Margaret Vaughan Williams, whose famous brother Ralph was Festival Conductor for nearly 50 years, their idea was that everybody who wanted to should be able to take part. It united the workers from the fields with the lords of the manor and has been a successful formula to this day.

For more information on how to take part, click on the photo links below.