SATURDAY’S annual music festival at Ripley outshone the shows of previous years, easily achieving its fundraising target on behalf the village scout group.

Free Peace Sweet were one of the early evening bands on stage

Ripley Rocks attracted hundreds of people to Court Meadow, with the proceeds expected to buy a replacement minibus for the group as well as providing funds for the community organisations that helped stage the event.

The teenage members of Minty Hindu.

Richard Ayears, who organises the show with Peter Hookings said “The performers were all great and we can’t thank them enough. The profits for the scout group will be around £10,000, which will pay for a minibus which will also be available for community groups to use, as well as the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers.”

The organisers are already planning next year’s Ripley Rocks, which will take place on Saturday 11 July.

For the full story get the 18 July edition of the News & Mail

THE box office is now open to the public for the annual Chobham Festival, with tickets available online for the first time.

Bookings can now be made and paid for via the festival’s website, as well as by post using a downloadable form.

Pianist David Soo is one of the festival stars for this year

The festival opens on Saturday 28 September and runs until Saturday 12 October, featuring events ranging from a jazz party to a flower festival.

There are six music performances, along with special church services, children’s entertainments, morris dancing and a festival café.

Dave Stradwick and his Sussex Jazz Kings will open the season in Chobham Village Hall, on stage for an evening of trad jazz, along with supper.

Also in the festival line-up is Chobham Rock Choir Live, a performance by the exuberant community singing group at Gordon’s School in West End.

Young Chobham Festival events for children and families include a performance of Goldilocks and Friends by the Cat’s Grin Theatre Company, making music for babies and toddlers at Tempo Tots and the Schools prom.

This year will also see three days of Flowers at Chobham Festival in the church.

For full details and dates, and to book tickets for most of the events, visit

For more details on the festival and upcoming events get the 6 June edition of the News & Mail

A JOYFUL production of the stage version of the musical Grease by The Winston Churchill School played to packed houses at The Rhoda McGaw Theatre.

THE T-BIRDS: Kenickie (Andrew), Sonny (Olly), Doody (Ethan) and Roger (Matt)

A flurry of colour, music, and classic hand jive moves was performed by a cast of 180, guided by a dedicated team of drama and music teachers.

For many audience members, the T-Birds’ performance of Greased Lightnin’ was a highlight. Many of the female roles, including the Pink Ladies were shared between girls. Each performer brimmed with feisty attitude and sweet excitement, and handled their musical numbers with power and maturity.

THE ONE THAT I WANT: Sandy (Jess) and Danny (William)

The backstage team of students was led by stage manager Jake, while others handled lighting, sound, and special effects, under the direction of former students.

Students and staff worked side by side in the pit band to electrify this ambitious musical and keep the audience singing along.

You couldn’t help but walk away from this show with a buzz of energy and emotion, as the cast shared their joy and filled the theatre with a touch of stardust.

For the full story and picture spread get the 14 February edition of the News & Mail

THE WOKING Music Festival season came to a triumphant end last Saturday with the prestigious Young Musician of the Year Competition which was held in front of an enthusiastic audience, which included the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster, at Christ Church Woking. 

Young Musician of the Year 17 year old Sophie Kauer (centre) with fellow contestants (from left) Zac Brandman, Hollie Tibbotts, Felix Rockhill, Iman Kashim, Annie McCrystal, Clem Pickering, Phoebe Baxendale, Christian Leslie, Rhia Thomas and Eleanor Bray

The winner, was Sophie Kauer, a 17-year-old cellist, who began lessons at the age of 8 and entered the Junior Division of the Royal Academy of Music before she turned 10. Sophie came second in the Woking competition last year.

Clem Pickering, also 17, on viola was awarded second place, with 16-year-old pianist Annie McChrystal in third place.

The adjudicator was Jonathan Willcocks who is currently Musical Director of Guildford Choral Society, The Chichester Orchestra and Southern Pro Musica and is Festival Conductor for the Leith Hill Musical Festival.  His compositions encompass large scale orchestral scores and chamber music in addition to many choral works. He has been engaged in musical activities throughout the world.

Woking Young Musician of the Year Sophie Kauer

Willcocks praised all those competing, saying: “The standard of performance from all of the seven finalists for the Woking Young Musician of the Year was really outstanding, and in cellist Sophie Kauer we have a truly worthy winner.

“It is a mark of the prestige of this 40-year-old Award that attracts annually such a strong field from the finest young musicians in the South of England.”

For information on how to take part in the 2019 Woking Music Festival in November, visit or email

For the full story and pictures, pick up this week’s edition of the News & Mail (Feb 7th).