A group of singers, including staff from Sir John Deane's High School came together in 1972 with a common interest in classical choral music. They were led by Cliff Peartree (MD1973-1984) and their numbers soon grew to around thirty members. They chose to call themselves the Rivendell Singers, a mutation of Riversdale, the name of the Headmaster's house and this was formalised in the issue of a Constitution in January 1973. They grew in confidence and soon started giving public performances in and around Northwich.
Rehearsals in the early years were at Sir John Deane's, but in the late 1980s under the Musical Directorship of Mike Jones (MD1984-1990), the choir moved to Forest Street school in Weaverham.
In the early 1990s the choir were first led by Margaret Henry (MD1990-1991) before handing over to Gwen Corradine (MD1991-1995) which saw their return to Sir John Deane's Music Department. Shortly before the Millenium, the choir moved to the recently built Northwich Methodist Church, where they continue to rehearse every Tuesday evening to this day.
Apart from the usual round of concerts and carol singing in the district, the choir has occasionally branched out and done something a little different. Under the leadership of Gwen Corrradine, the choir took part in a singing competition. Later when Ken Fayle took over as Musical Director (MD1995-1999), the Rivendell Singers recorded two hymns as part of a Sunday morning service on the radio. They had to attend the radio studios to record the hymns in advance of the broadcast which proved to be a very interesting and enjoyable experience, giving the choir the opportunity to listen to their own recording.
As their reputation spread, so did the list of venues at which they performed. Many of the concerts were to support local charities and St Luke's Hospice was a firm favourite with the choir. For many years the choir sang at Arley Hall, both in the Barn and in the Hall during their flower festivals at Christmas. Christmas concerts at Weaverham Parish Church became a regular feature in the programme, together with carol singing at Blakemere Craft Centre, all in aid of St Luke's. For a few years, the choir took part in the Christmas Service of Blessing at the Cheshire Dogs Home in Grappenhall. The choir has also performed for the Joshua Tree, Brain Injury & Rehabilitation (BIRD), Riding for the Disabled, Cheshire Autism Practical Support (ChAPS), to name but a few.
Time flew and it was not long before the choir "came of age". Their 21st Anniversary concert was held in the Memorial Hall Northwich and all the previous conductors were invited to perform a piece or two with the choir. It was great fun, very well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all. The Rivendell Singers' fame continued to spread and in the 1990s and onwards requests for concerts in Whitchurch and on the Wirral, Neston and Hoylake in particular took them further afield.
In 1999 the choir were fortunate to see the return of Cliff Peartree for a second period as Musical Director (1999-2008) in what was a very successful eight years.
Paul Morley took over as Musical Director following Cliff Peartree's well deserved retirement in 2008 and the choir has continued to extend its capabilities by singing larger, more challenging works along with the accompaniment of a chamber orchestra in the Spring concerts at St Wilfrid's Church in Davenham. The choir recently performed in the new Northwich Memorial Court theatre in 'Two and a Half Sopranos' concert for Rotary International as well as a regular concert performance at St Helen's Parish Church alongside the fabulous local Bostock Band. The repertoire has expanded into oratorios and cantatas, but also to include a number of jazz arrangements which have been reinforced by a supporting jazz trio, again with the aim of broadening the offering and interest that this choir is able to deliver to a wider audience.
It is heartening to know that in this digital age, many people still prefer to attend a live performance of varied music delivered by a local very competant group of amateur enthusiasts - long may this continue !