The Helensburgh Oratorio Choir are calling for new members as they prepare to welcome an acclaimed choral composer and jazz artist for a performance.

Jonathon Swinard, the conductor of the group, is encouraging new members to get involved with the choir as the new season after a sell-out performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah earlier this year.

People of all ages and abilities, especially gentlemen, are invited to join the choir at their first rehearsal of the new season on Tuesday, August 28.

Jonathon told the Advertiser: "The doors are open to everyone to try out but we say it is good experience if you can read music or have been in a choir.

"Out youngest member is in their late 30s, early 40s, but we would encourage more young members to get involved because we want to encourage young talent and this jazz concert is a pretty good moment for everyone to come along."

The choir's weekly rehearsals for the first part of the 2018-19 season will be focussed on preparing for 'A Winter Uplifter', the title of their concert on Sunday, December 9, featuring George Shearing's 'Songs and Sonnets', John Rutter's 'Birthday Madrigals' and 'Skylark', and Will Todd's 'Mass In Blue'.

The last of these will be performed in the company of Will Todd himself, as the composer brings his Trio to Helensburgh for the concert.

And that's not the only reason the performance is set to be a memorable one – for it will be Jonathon's last time leading the choir before he leaves to take up a new job with Garsington Opera.

"It's a sad moment for me," he said. "because I love Helensburgh and the people there.

"I will miss them, but this is a great last concert."

The choir usually performs classical choral pieces, however, after the success of their performance in April of Mendelssohn's Elijah – the very first piece the choir sang in public after its formation in 1963 – Jonathan decided they are ready for a challenge which showcases their range as a group.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the Oratorio Choir," he continued.

"The Mass in Blue effortlessly fuses sacred choral music with jazz and is widely considered Will Todd's defining work.

"It has already received hundreds of performances across the world and we are honoured that Will and his Trio will be joining us in Helensburgh for this concert."

He added: "It's pretty exciting but it is pretty daunting that the composer will be there.

"I feel like they have reached the standard musically and that they are ready."

The choir's rehearsals for their December concert start on Tuesday, August 28, and continue each Tuesday thereafter from 7.30pm until 9.30pm in the small hall of Helensburgh Parish Church.

For more information about the choir, or to register your interest in joining, email or for more information visit