The Leith Hill Music Festival was started by Lady Evangeline Farrer and Margaret Vaughan Williams, sister of Ralph Vaughan Williams, in 1905. Since then, the annual April event has showcased outstanding choral music. Evoking the Surrey Hills and the world beyond, the programme is performed by some of the area’s most talented singers and musicians. Ges Ray, Chairman of the Leith Hill Music Festival, shares the joy of singing and invites us all to join in later this year.
You love singing. You really love singing. You have joined your local choir, perhaps coming back to the joy of singing at a point where life’s travails enable you so to do. You are revelling in the bonhomie – even the bon-harmony! – of voices from all walks of life coming together to celebrate in sound. Regular rehearsals. Regular local concerts. A stress reliever and mental health workout like no other. You love it.
In an elated moment you imagine performing from a professional stage in a major venue, in the midst of two hundred or so voices, a live professional orchestra just yards in front of you, singing your heart out to a welcoming audience, an international conductor crafting a crescendo as trumpets burst through the balcony doors to blow the roof off the auditorium in a blast that sends a shiver down your spine, let alone the audience…
You don’t need to imagine. This is the Leith Hill Music Festival. Right here, right now. The vignette above is a memorable moment from our performance of Verdi Requiem! Thanks to the vision of two founders, the professional skills of six international conductors, the enthusiasm of thousands of amateur voices over the years, LHMF has been bringing the joy of singing to choir members and audiences alike since 1905.
As an audience member you are supporting an amazing organisation, rich in history, abundant in potential. As a choir member you have an unparalleled opportunity – out of reach for many choirs – to sing major works in the choral repertoire, and we haven’t even started on the fun of competing in the morning – all in the best possible spirit – to the discerning ears of a professional adjudicator for cups and trophies to polish with pride.
Our 2022/23 programme opens with a glorious ‘Come & Sing’ day of Ralph Vaughan Williams music on 15th October, in celebration of RVW’s 150th anniversary. This is followed by a fantastic ‘open to all singers’ Verdi Requiem in March 2023 (rehearsals begin January ‘23), before our main Festival in April ’23. All in the Art Deco setting of Dorking Halls, built for the Leith Hill Music Festival in 1931.
This is the Leith Hill Music Festival. The joy of singing. Right here, right now.