THE oldest choir in Helensburgh celebrated its 70th birthday this month – but it’s on the future, not the past, that its eyes are firmly fixed.

Set up in 1949 by James MacTaggart, and with a repertoire that in its early years featured mainly Scots songs, the Dorian Choir has come a long way since those post-war early days – and its journey was aptly illustrated by a programme for its concert, held at the United Reformed Church, which featured music from all seven of the decades the choir has been in existence.

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The birthday concert also featured two guest soloists – Catrin Woodruff, a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Alexander Gibson Opera School, and 15-year-old Louise Holman, a member of the National Youth Choir of Scotland’s Girls’ Choir.

The music for the night, which also included a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial By Jury, was all sung under the direction of Sian Winstanley, who has been the choir’s musical director since 2017.

Lynn Henderson, who co-chairs the choir with Lesley Lauren, said: “Sian is a one-off. We’ve gone from strength to strength since she joined, particularly in the last year.

“But we’re hoping that we can advertise ourselves a bit more and encourage new people to come along. We’re not a young choir, but our numbers have increased since Sian joined us, and there’s a really good feeling about the choir now.

“Although the choir started singing mainly Scots songs 70 years ago, we’ve found over the years that you have to sing songs that younger people want to sing – they don’t want to concentrate on older material, and our concert programme reflected that.”

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Next up for the choir’s regular members, though, following a brief summer break, is a ‘Come and Sing’ event pencilled in for August 17, giving people – of all ages – a chance to find out more about the choir, and perhaps even to join up.

“We’re planning to sing Zadok The Priest, O Fortuna and something by Abba,” Lynn continued. “Hopefully people will like what they hear, will be encouraged to join in, and might even stay with us.”

If you can’t wait until August, though, you can find out more at