Oriel Bennett (nee Tawn)
Formed in 1973
When Roger and Oriel moved to Truro from Surrey, where Roger had been a car salesman, they met and were joined by Don Sleigh and Liz Blackler to form the group Rivendell, named after J.R.R. Tolkein's elven village in The Lord of the Rings.
The group spent two years playing the clubs and venues around Cornwall, including regular gigs at the Talk of The West. They would become one of the top Vocal Harmony groups in the South West.
In 1974 they entered the Pan Celtic song competition and festival in Killarney, Ireland singing in the Cornish language a song written by Don.
After auditioning for New Faces and Opportunity Knocks they had to choose between them when both shows invited them to appear. They chose Opportunity Knocks following guidance from the industry professionals and appeared three times as well as performing in the 1975 series All Winners show.
As a result of this success they released their first record; You've Gotta Love Me More/After The Goldrush (RCA 2539), and were taken on by Dick James Music.
This led to the decision to turn professional and ‘go on the road’, touring the country in a transit and caravan - but before too long pressures from home meant that Liz and Don left the group and Angie and Trevor joined the tour. Trevor had previously been known to Roger when they went to school together in Surrey.
During the next couple of years the group regularly drove up and down the motorways to perform at various nightclubs and working men’s clubs around the country, amusingly seeing themselves billed as Rivendale or Riverdell, and on one occasion Rhythm Girl! They had a fun summer season on the end of the pier in Cleethorpes with Norman Collier, a tour of Northern Ireland to entertain the troops during the conflict (their hotel was one bombed shortly after they left), and a month in the sun playing twice-nightly at the luxurious Estoril Casino in Portugal, as well as finding time to record two more singles…
1) That Old Feeling/Listen to The Melody (DJM DJS 641) 1976
2) Whispering/And When We Love (DJM DJS 10686) 1976
That Old Feeling narrowly missed entering the top 30, while Whispering had regular airings by Jimmy Young and Terry Wogan and became the 24th most played record on Radio Two in 1976.
Angie and Trevor both had reasons to move on and when Jeannie and Adrian became the last new members to join the group they enjoyed the excitement of playing the nation’s top gig – the prestigious London Palladium, as support act for Frankie Laine.
Eventually realizing that they hadn’t made it ‘big’ the four faced the tough decision to fold and go their separate ways at the end of their long 1978 summer season at the Princess Theatre in Torquay with Cilla Black and Don Maclean.
Roger and Oriel returned to Cornwall where Roger met up with Don again to form White Lines and Oriel took up amateur dramatics. Angie is still singing having relocated to France. Adrian still occasionally accompanies himself singing at restaurants in the Bolton area. Jeannie found a new singing partner and for a while continued to work under the name Rivendell. Trevor tragically died three years ago during an unsuccessful liver transplant.
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