Thirty years on and still an established chamber choir, The Rawstorne Singers continue to strive.
Founded by Michael Sands and officially established as a mixed voice chamber choir in 1980 the Leyland based musical ensemble initially opened its doors to pupils of Bishop Rawstorne High School in Croston.
As music director of the school Mr Sands began plans for the choir in 1972.
He said: “Although we were only officially established as a legal constitution in 1980 I began gathering members for the Rawstorne Singers choir eight years previously. I wanted any one who had a willingness to sing and had a good sense of humour!”
The fundamental idea for the choir was to focus on children from the ages of 11-16 however the choir soon grew to mixed gender and age. We wanted to extend what the students could do musically by bringing into the school’s choirs the more mature voices of parents, staff, friends and former pupils however we came up against some difficulties when the current legislation came in which made it necessary for all the adults of the choir to need full police checks to continue to be around the children, which was not a problem but as a choir we just could not afford it.”
Faced with a problem, the choir split from Bishop Rawstorne High School and re located to Bamberbrige were they currently reside in St Saviours Church near the M6 Junction 29.
Becoming a member of ‘Making Music’, an establishment which helps music groups and individuals to set up, run and develop music groups in their communities, led to the choir acquiring a registered charity status.
The classical repertoire that the Rawstorne sing is welcomed and performed in neighbouring churches in Preston and Leyland but also goes further afield.
“Our choir is singing the service at Bangor Cathedral on Monday until Sunday and we have also got events coming up such as Preston ‘Night Light’ which is at the end of September”.
For Founder Michael Sands plans for Rawstorne are humbling.
“I just want the choir to continue and carry on in the same mode as we are, I hope we can achieve this.”
Rawstorne Singers meet once a week, every Wednesday, at St Saviour’s Church.