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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;

Book tickets at Dorking Halls:
01306 881717


Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets

Come and Sing

Verdi Requiem


How we are run

The Festival is a Charity registered with the Charities Commission, no. 275176.   The objects of the Festival are the study and practice of music in order to foster the public knowledge and appreciation of such music by means of public concerts, the holding of musical competitions and other activities. The full LHMF Constitution is available through the link below.

Members of the Festival are either:

  • members of participating Member Choirs (not including Youth Choirs, who take part on an ad hoc basis) who have paid the annual singer's entry fee; or
  • independent singers who have paid an annual subscription.

       The financial year for the Festival is 1st July to 30th June.

All Members may attend the Annual General Meeting, held in October, which has the power to:

  • adopt the Annual Report and Accounts (see link below), as required by the Charities Commission
  • ratify the appointments of honorary President, Vice-Presidents, Conductor, members of the Music Committee and Independent Examiner of the accounts
  • elect members of the General Committee and of the Executive Committee.

The General Committee is responsible for the overall management of the Festival, with the exception of professional matters decided by the Festival Conductor or Music Committee.  It meets three times a year and comprises:

  • Principal Officers and Trustees
    • Chairman
    • Vice-Chairman
    • Festival Secretary and Organiser
    • Treasurer
  • Assistant Officers
    • Archivist
    • Assistant Secretary
    • Assistant Treasurer
    • Assistant Treasurer (Funds Co-ordinator)
    • Assistant Treasurer (Gift Aid)
    • Box Office Manager          
    • Choral Librarians (one for each of the 3 Divisions)
    • Friends & Patrons Secretary
    • Fundraising Co-ordinator
    • Making Music Representative
    • Orchestra & Soloist Liaison
    • Press & Publicity Manager  
    • Programme Advertising
    • Programme Editor (April Festival)
    • Programme Editor (March Concert)
    • Trophies and Banners Custodian
    • Webmaster
    • Web Assistant (Mailing)
    • Youth Choirs' Competition Organiser
  • up to twelve other members, normally a representative of each Member Choir
  • ex officio, the Conductor (or his or her representative) of each Member Choir
  • the Vice-Presidents of the Festival.

The Executive Committee, a sub-committee of the General Committee, has devolved powers for the day-to-day management of the Festival, meets as required (approximately monthly) and comprises:

  • the four Principal Officers
  • up to three of the Assistant Officers
  • two other members.

The Executive Committee may co-opt additional members.

Job descriptions for Principal and Assistant Officers may be obtained from the Festival Secretary and Organiser.


1. Choirs will be placed in Divisions as decided by the General Committee, who may also determine the maximum number of members of each choir who may sing in the competitions or concerts or both. All eligible choir members must sing in all classes (except the Ensemble and Open classes).

2. Any choir member wishing to participate in a Festival Competition:

(a) must be over 14 years of age

(b) must not earn his or her living by singing

(c) must be a regular member of a participating choir and have attended 8 full practices of that choir (6 in the case of students) during the current season

(d) may not sing in more than one ensemble unless singing a different voice part.

3. Any choir member wishing to participate in a Festival Concert must have sung in the competitions and in the combined rehearsals for that concert unless permission for absence is given by the Festival Conductor.

4. Ensemble Class - each choir may enter no more than 3 ensembles and each ensemble may consist of any number between 4 and 12 singers.

5. Music for all classes (except the Open Class which is own choice) will be chosen by the Music Committee and choirs must be prepared to sing any part of each piece set for their Division by the adjudicator.

6. Choirs competing in the Open Class choose the music that they sing. The music chosen shall not last for more than four minutes in performance.

7. Any breach or potential breach of these regulations should be drawn to the attention of the Secretary or the Chief Steward for the class in question before the results for the class are announced. The matter shall then be referred immediately to a sub-group of three members of the Executive Committee (normally the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary) who may discuss the matter with the Festival Conductor and Adjudicators (if appropriate) before deciding in their absolute discretion what action to take or penalty to impose.