St Ives United Choirs was the union of the Free Church and the Methodist Church choirs in St. Ives, who gave their first performance during Holy Week in 1966. The programme was Maunder's Olivet to Calvary under the direction of Charles Cannon, with John Morley playing the organ. The choirs continued to perform annually and in 1974 the new St Ives Choral Society was formed. Initially, two concerts were performed a year - at Christmas and Easter; in recent years there has been an additional summer concert.
Charles Cannon's direction continued until 1982, when Richard Walshaw took up the baton, followed by Christopher Moore in 1987, Gary Mallins in 1992 and Robert Webb who was with us until December 1996, when he moved to Oxford. Chris Jessop led us from our first concert in 1997, Bach's Mass in B Minor, until the summer of 2001.
Since becoming St Ives Choral Society, we have given over 100 performances and sung in many locations. Recent concerts have included Handel's Solomon and Haydn's The Seasons. Occasionally we have joined forces to sing with other local choirs to perform larger pieces such as Verdi's Requiem, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, both in Ely Cathedral.
For most of our concerts we have an excellent orchestra to accompany us, composed of local musicians of the highest standard. Over the years, the choir has seen many changes, and our links with tradition have also stretched to incorporate more contemporary ideas for the choir. Our annual Family Christmas Concert has included the St Ives Girls Choir, and more recently, Westfield Junior School Choir. The Christmas concert has become an annual 'landmark' which draws a lot of new faces into our audiences!
See the detailed archive of performances from 1964 to date, compiled by John Smoothy.