History of the Festival

1904

Festival starts as Stour Choral Union in Shipston-on-Stour by Miss Ruth Dickins & Mrs Eleanora Dickins for the "encouragement of part-singing in the country districts"

1905

Festival moves to Moreton-in-Marsh

1907

Extended to three days due to popularity - one day devoted entirely to school singing. Small string orchestra introduced

1911

Festival moves to Chipping Norton

1914-19

No Festivals

1920

Festival restarted by Ruth Savory (née Dickins)

1927

Sir Richard Terry becomes President

1935

Financial difficulties restrict Festival activities to one day

1938

Sir Hugh Allen becomes President

1943-45

No Festivals

1947

Sir Thomas Armstrong becomes President - a position held for over 40 years

1958

Instrumental section introduced

1962

Stour Choral Union adopts a formal constitution and festival extended to two days

1963/4

"Friends of the Festival" formed

1968/9

"Stour Choral Union" becomes "Chipping Norton Music Festival" and becomes non-competitive. Combined choirs rehearsal introduced for final concert - this continued until 1998. Festival extended to three days

1972

Founder Mrs. Eleanora Dickins dies

1975

Children's Concerts introduced

1976

Affiliated to the Federation of British Festivals for Music, Dance & Speech. Extended to four days

1980

Strings and woodwind classes withdrawn

1981

General instrumental class introduced for strings, woodwind & brass

1986

Strings class separated from woodwind and brass

1993

Guitar class introduced

1994

The Rotary Club of Chipping Norton introduced a cup for the most promising participant under 18 years with a bursary for furthering musical education. Festival activities now spread over a week

1995

Dr Philip Cranmer becomes President

1996

New President's Cup for the most promising participant under 14 years

1997

Vocal Recital Class introduced for experienced, diploma standard singers

1998

Opening concert introduced at Chipping Norton Theatre

2000

Speech and Drama classes introduced, adjudicated by James Patrick

2001

Anthony Williams becomes President

2002

Composition class introduced. Wychwood Trophy (donated by Pauline Carter for the most promising pianist of primary school age up to and including Grade 5), and Padawa Award (bursary of £50 for the most promising performance by a pupil attending a Chipping Norton Partnership School). Festival goes on-line and launches website

2003

Folk classes introduced

2004

Festival Centenary, including opening concert by Joanna Macgregor

2005

William Bailey Folk Award donated by the members and friends of the Folk Club, Highworth given in his memory

2006

Open recital class extended to experienced, diploma instrumentalists

2007

One-Act Play Festival to open the Festival. Folk award donated by the Chipping Norton Folk Club. The town of Chipping Norton celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Charter. Hummer Prize for Creative Writing in memory of George Hummer

2008

First masterclass given by President Anthony Williams for piano students

2009

Youth Jazz Band Challenge introduced in association with Chipping Norton Rotary Club. Festival runs its own children's workshops for the first time. Master-classes for strings and piano

2010

Debut UK concert of Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood

2012

The 100th Festival. The Padawa award comes to an end

2014

A new award introduced: the "Chipping Norton & Stow Methodist Circuit Bicentenary Trophy"for the junior vocal performance that best communicates with the audience

2018

Fiona McLean-Buchel gives presentations on "Mindfulness for Musicians"

1924 Festival - Stour Choral Union in the Town Hall, Chipping Norton

1924 Festival - Stour Choral Union in the Town Hall, Chipping Norton

"Voiceworks" from Chipping Norton School at the 2002 Festival conducted by Peter Hunt (right)

"Voiceworks" from Chipping Norton School at the 2002 Festival conducted by Peter Hunt (right)