The Godalming Music Festival began in 1947 as a competition for choirs. Piano classes were added in 1962, with stringed and wind instruments in 1966. 1968 saw further growth with the addition of speech and solo singing. An organ competition was instituted in 1977 and dance introduced in 1991.
Whilst the music competitions have continued to hold their own the non musical classes have grown to the point where for the 2019 festival there has been a record entry of over one thousand solo entries for dance, drama and musical theatre, together with substantial numbers of ensembles competitors. Entries for the speech competitions are also up again. The committee has therefore taken the decision to change the name to “Godalming Performing Arts Festival” better to reflect the growth of the festival.
This year’s festival promises to be really exciting. The dance classes have transferred to the splendid surroundings of St Catherine’s Bramley Anniversary Halls. The dance competitions begin on Monday February 18th continuing all day every day until Friday February 22nd. St Catherine’s purpose built theatre will enable competitors to spread their wings and audiences to have an unrestricted view of the performances.
Music classes begin on Tuesday March 5th at 2pm with the school choirs competitions in the magnificent Charterhouse Great Chapel. Some of the finest choirs from local public and state schools will provide competition and entertainment of the highest quality in this historic building, the largest memorial in Britain to the Great War.
Godalming Borough Hall, Priorsfield School, Godalming Baptist Church, the Church of St Peter and St Paul and Rodborough School are the venues for the other music and speech, drama and musical theatre competitions. These run from March 5th until March 22nd. The festival ends with a concert for festival winners and some of the best entries being held at St Catherine’s Bramley Anniversary Halls starting at 4pm on Sunday March 24th.
Programmes for all the events will be available shortly at Ballethoo and Record Corner in Godalming High Street. Entry to most events costs a very reasonable £2 with children free.