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

Brief History

(Dates and facts are as currently known - if you know anything different please contact us.)

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1980 Strings and woodwind classes withdrawn.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.
2007 Hummer Prize for Creative Writing in memory of George Hummer. To find out more and read winning entries click here.
2008 First masterclass given by President Anthony Williams for piano students.
2009 Youth Jazz Band Challenge introduced in association with Chipping Norton Rotary Club. More about the Challenge! 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 perfomance that best communicates with the audience.
2018 Fiona McLean-Buchel gives presentations on "Mindfulness for Musicians".
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"Voiceworks" from Chipping Norton School at the 2002 Festival
conducted by Peter Hunt (right)


Recent Adjudicators

  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Vocal Luise Horrocks Gaynor Keeble Bryan Husband David Kirby-Ashmore
Louise Horrocks
Luise Horrocks
Peter Hunt
Elizabeth Stafford
Peter Hunt
Choirs Donal McCrisken Ben Costello Steven Roberts Colin Touchin Steven Roberts Elizabeth Stafford
Strings Fiona McLean-Buchel Nadia Hinson Andrew Sherwood Nadia Hinson Nadia Hinson Lesley Shrigley Jones
Wind & Brass Liz Childs James Stretton Malcolm Green Melanie Ragge Liz Childs Anne Hodgson
Piano Eva Maria Doroszkowska Anthony Williams Eva Maria Doroszkowska James Kirby Eva Maria Doroszkowska Alan MacLean
Guitar Gary Ryan Craig Ogden Mark Ashford Craig Ogden Mark Ashford Gary Ryan
Ensembles Fiona McLean-Buchel Nadia Hinson Andrew Sherwood Nadia Hinson Nadia Hinson Lesley Shrigley Jones
Speech & Drama Ann Bauer Ann Bauer Jenny Thornton Cally Foster Rebecca Thompson Priscilla Morris
Folk Dave Townsend Dave Townsend Ben Costello Dave Townsend John Kirkpatrick Suzanne Higgins
Youth Jazz Band Challenge Keith Allen - Steven Roberts Colin Touchin Steven Roberts Anthony Williams

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Award winners

  Rotary Club Cup President's Cup Wychwood trophy Padawa Award to (>2012)/Methodist trophy for Junior Vocal (2014 on)

William Bailey Folk Award

Chipping Norton Folk Club Award

Hummer Prize for creative writing

Rotary Youth Jazz Band Challenge

2018 Jessica Foxwell Samuel Howard Samuel Howard Millie Eyles Strawberry Thieves - - Oxfordshire Youth Big Band
2017 Simon Crew Imogen Murphy Millie Eyles Frakie Scrivener Rachel Chai Shep Sheppard - -
2016 Emma Pascoe Venetia Moir Cheska Vasquez Elizabeth Moulson 16 Strings & a Dead Goat Fiddles & Feet - Reading School Big Band
2015 Bella Bourne Swinton Hunter Alice Davis Joanna Pike Theo Laird Rachel Chai Chloe Rodger - Cokethorpe School Jazz Band
2014 Eléonore Organ-Jennings Jessica Foxwell Louis Jukes Eléonore Organ-Jennings Bill Pullen Four in a Bar - Oxfordshire Jazz Collective
2013 Esther Mead Benjamin Thompson Leah Ng - Chris Gardener Lucinda Bourne Swinton Hunter Jan Harvey Frank Jazz
2012 Jack Gee Sophie Harlow & Louisa Anderson Aidan Hughes Zoe Foster Rachel Chai Fiddles & Feet Freda Volans Reading School Big Band
2011 Alex Chalstrey Lydia Ballam Benjamin Thompson Kitty Veale Jeremy Walton Chris Gardener Mary-Louise Crown King Eddie's Revival, Stratford-upon-Avon
2010 Catriona Bourne Swinton Hunter Lydia Ballam Benjamin Thompson Kingham Primary School Bill Pullen Sandra Shallis John Wheatley CNS Allstars, Chipping Norton
2009 Jonti Smith Benedict McCaw Darcy Watkins Hannah Lewis Mervyn Penny Sandra Shallis MS Clary King Eddie's Revival, Stratford-upon-Avon
2008 Therese De Souza Isabelle Bourne Swinton Hunter Esme Calcutt Imogen Mead Jeremy Walton Fiddles & Feet Rachel Bentham -
2007 Carys Butler Corinne Ellul Abigail Piercy Rosi Callery Fiona Kent & Mary Chowen Fiddles & Feet - -

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Concerts and events held at the Festival

2017 Craig Ogden (guitar)
2016 Helen Abbey Quartet
Ellipsis trio
2015 Eva Maria Doroszkowska (piano) & Vivien Munday (soprano)
Jacqui Dankworth & Charlie Wood
2014 The Allegri Quartet
Eight in a Bar
2013 Adderbury Ensemble with pianist Viv McLean
The Magic of the Alphorn, with Frances Jones
2012 Claire Martin & Sir Richard Rodney Bennett
Anthony Williams (piano)
2011 Craig Ogden (guitar)
"Brassed Up!" James Stretton & Iain Jackson
2010 Jacqui Dankworth & Charlie Wood
Diabolus in Musica
2009 Mike Bardsley (harpsichord)
Guy Johnston (cello) & Tom Poster (piano)
2008 Charleston Chasers
Phoenix Recorder Orchestra
Orichalcum (World of Brass) James Stretton & Iain Jackson
2007 Diabolus in Musica
Fairport Convention
Charter at Chastleton - Elizbeth Gray (harp) and Tina Gandy (flute)
2006 Beats4Three (percussion)
Stekpanna jazz trio with Digby Fairweather (trumpet)
James Gilchrist (tenor) & Anna Tilbrook (piano)
2005 Tom Poster (piano)
Ralph Allin (violin) & band
North Cotswold Chamber Choir
2004 Joanna MacGregor (piano)
Banchieri Singers
Oxford Classic Jazz Band
2003 Emma Johnston (clarinet)
Oxfordshire Youth Percussion Ensemble
The Adderbury Ensemble (string quartet)
2002 Craig Odgen (guitar)
The Adderbury Ensemble (string quartet)
Tom Poster (piano)
2001 The Adderbury Ensemble (string quartet)
Oxfordshire County Council Music School Chamber Ensemble
2000 John Suchet - the life & works of Beethoven
1999 Instant Sunshine
The Fountains Quartet
Baroque workshop & master-class

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