A HELENSBURGH choir is one of just a handful of musical groups across the UK to have been chosen to take part in an innovative project teaming them up with renowned composers.

The Helensburgh Oratorio Choir (HOC) will team up with folk musician Aileen Sweeney, who teaches accordion at Lomond School and is a member of up-and-coming ‘trad’ group Eriska, over the next 12 months.

As part of the ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme, Aileen will compose a new work specifically for the choir, which will then be performed at a concert next summer.

The project is part of ‘Making Music’, the UK’s number one organisation for leisure-time music, with a membership of more than 3,600 groups representing around 200,000 music makers.

READ MORE: Cardross singer on Eurovision stage with Gaelic choir

The choir found out that it was to be part of the scheme at a launch event held in London on Saturday, attended by the choir’s treasurer Margaret Hastings and musical director Susannah Wapshott, as well as David Horne from Making Music, who will act as a mentor for both Aileen and the choir throughout the life of the project.

Margaret said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the choir to be selected for this project.

“The choir will collaborate with Aileen to produce a piece of new choral music for the 21st century. We already have a date for our premier and recording at our end of season concert on May 31, 202 in Balloch.

“Will it be classical, jazz, traditional or reflect our local heritage? We’ll have to wait and see.”

The link-up between Aileen - who couldn’t attend the launch in person as she’s touring Scotland and Switzerland to promote Eriska’s new album, ‘At The Wrong Gig’ - and the choir is one of just seven ‘Adopt a Composer’ pairings for 2019-20, and is the only one in Scotland.

The others are Claire Victoria Roberts and the Camden Symphony Orchestra, Laura Shipsey and the City of Bristol Brass Band, Alex Paxton and the Haslingfield Choir, Carmel Smickersgill and the Junior Leeds College of Music Ensemble Creative, Jonathan Brigg and the Sussex Folk Orchestra, and Rob Jones and the Edge Chamber Choir.

READ MORE: Choir's eyes on the future after 70 years

As well as making music and touring with Eriska, Aileen is currently studying for a Master of Music qualification in composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, having graduated as a Bachelor of Music with honours from the same institution in 2017.

HOC itself was established 56 years ago, and has a repertoire of work spanning four centuries in classical, jazz and opera genres.

Its members have paid two visits to New York to sing as part of mass choirs, performing Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light in 2016 and Will Todd’s Mass In Blue earlier this year.

The Helensburgh choir’s partnership is funded by Creative Scotland, which provides financial support to ensure the ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme extends to rural Scotland.