Godalming Music Festival - 'Matches'

Godalming Museum, ref: 3625


This mounted black and white photo shows the 'Matches' led by 'Mack the Match' in a piece called ' Soap Clears the Air' by Stanley C Dedman. It was performed by the Godalming Library Junior Play-Reading Group at Godalming Music Festival in the 'Speech' section, 1972. The photograph was taken by Keith Capon.



Started in 1947, it was part of the backdrop of nationwide efforts to re-generate the cultural life of communities in Britain, which had gone into decline as a result of the Second World War. The festival started as a showcase and competition for local choirs. It was supported by, amongst many others, the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who had been a pupil at Charterhouse.

Vaughan Williams presented the certificates for the first festival (Herbert Howells presented them in the 2nd year). Among the committee who first set up the Festival were Dr Hunt (organist of parish church), John Wilson (director of music at Charterhouse) and Arthur Trew (director of Godalming Operatic)

It gained steadily in popularity and has expanded to include other music and arts areas. Now the festival has sections for:- piano; wind; strings; solo singing; recorders; speech; drama; and dance. There are nearly 300 classes in all and competitors come from all age-groups. With over 2,000 entries from Godalming and the wider area, it is not surprising that Godalming Music Festival now lasts for three weeks, instead of the very local two-day event that it sprang from.






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