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     A Constituent Choir of the Leith Hill Music Festival



Oxshott Choral Society was founded in 1936 by Margaret Willis, and was one of the first choirs to become part of the Leith Hill Musical Festival (LHMF), inaugurated by the Vaughan Williams family in 1905 for amateur choral societies and conducted for many years by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Apart from a brief suspension during the war, the society operated until 1970 and then from 1975, when it was re-formed by Valerie Beynon. With her expertise and enthusiasm, the choir has gone from strength to strength, celebrating Val's 40th anniversary as conductor in 2015.

  Our conductor is Valerie Beynon ARCM DDMES.

Valerie was born and brought up in Sheffield. She always enjoyed music - dancing, singing and piano from an early age. As a child, she attended weekly concerts by the Halle Orchestra under the baton of Sir John Barbirolli - a fabulous experience.
She went to school in North Wales where she furthered her musical studies, playing 3rd violin (no less!) in the school orchestra and being leader of the choir. After school she went to Dartington College of Arts and on to Rolle College, Exmouth following a course for musical education in schools.  She continued her singing studies and achieved her ARCM in singing teaching.

Returning to Sheffield to begin her teaching career, she joined the Bach choir, often travelling to Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford to give concerts.  In 1970 she moved to Oxshott with her parents, taking a teaching post at Danes Hill School, where she moved from Director of Music to Head of Pastoral Care. She still conducts the Chamber Choir there.

As she became more involved in village life, she formed a village choir for children, the Oxshott Junior Singers, and took on the WI choir, whilst still enjoying her own choral singing with the Leatherhead Choral Society.  Her involvement in the Leith Hill Musical Festival through her singing led her to re-found the Oxshott Choral Society in 1975, which immediately took part in the Festival in Division 2.  Although she now lives in Cobham, she retains a very active life in Oxshott, being also Director of Music at St Andrew's Church. Valerie is now also Assistant Secretary (Music) to the Leith Hill Musical Festival.

She continues to enjoy every aspect of her career, particularly her musical life.  Her work with choirs and her connections with the Festival have brought much happiness and many wonderful friends.

Accompanist    -    David Harvey comes from Witley in Surrey. He studied at the Royal College of Music with John Blakely and specialized in piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music with Iain Ledingham and Andrew West. He spent a further year at the Academy as recipient of the one-year Shinn Fellowship. Besides Oxshott Choral Society David is also the accompanist for Horsley Choral Society and has worked with a number of other choirs including the Holst Singers. At the Benjamin Britten International Opera School (RCM) he has played for many language coaches and has played opera scenes for directors including Mike Ashman and John Copley. He has been repetiteur for Stowe Opera and Pavilion Opera. Most recently David has enjoyed working on Lindsay Posner's new production of Carousel (Tour/West End); The Mikado for the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival Company in Buxton; Cabaret with singer Laura Armstrong at Lauderdale House, North London.

The choir is managed by a committee, elected annually.
The current committee is as follows:

Chairman : Mike Newman
Secretary : Sue Rees
Treasurer : Teresa Allen
Librarian : Jenny Major
Publicity : Helen Foster

Voice representatives

Soprano: Esme Twist
Tenor: David Burdett
Bass: Peter West

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