MEMBERS of a Helensburgh choir celebrated a very special milestone in the group's history with an "amazing" birthday concert.

The City Halls in Glasgow played host to the Helensburgh Oratorio Choir's 60th anniversary concert on Sunday, February 18.

The choir teamed up with the Rosenethe Singers from Dunblane, the orchestra of Scottish Opera, and professional soloists to sing ‘A Sea Symphony' by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The choir and part of Scottish Opera OrchestraThe choir and part of Scottish Opera Orchestra (Image: Helensburgh Oratorio Choir)

Chair Alicia Tindal said: “What an impressive sight and sound we made.

“Our choir, together with the Rosenethe Singers, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and professional soloists singing ‘A Sea Symphony’ really did raise a storm in Glasgow’s City Halls.

“I want to thank everyone who came to the concert, but especially all the choir members and volunteers who worked so hard to make this a success. It was a great night.”

This was the finale to the choir’s diamond jubilee celebrations, and was their largest ever concert.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The choir with soloists David Stout and Lee BissetThe choir with soloists David Stout and Lee Bisset (Image: Helensburgh Oratorio Choir)

The choir’s patron, Jamie MacDougall, said: “The standard of singing reached another level thanks to the fabulous support of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

“The choir sounded amazing – the full force of the sea captured properly to the music."

The concert was in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution [RNLI], which marks its 200th anniversary this year.

Through a stall and collection buckets, more than £500 was raised to support the charity's life-saving efforts in Helensburgh and around the British Isles.

The choir can trace its origins back to Wednesday, October 2, 1963 and a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah at the then Park Church in Helensburgh, following a summer's worth of rehearsals.

By 1964 it had both a name and a future programme, and since then has sung Elijah on numerous occasions, as well as performing works by a wide range of composers, including many compositions rarely sung in Scotland.

Its founding conductor was Arthur Brocklebank, and since then the baton has been wielded by Andrew Kinloch, Walter Blair, Peter Christie, Martin Speller, Jonathon Swinard and, since February 2019, Susannah Wapshott.

Later in 2019 the choir was awarded funding from the Rural Scotland 'Adopt a Composer' initiative, working with composer Aileen Sweeney on a new work, Breathing Place, which was performed - after a lengthy delay thanks to Covid - in November 2021.

With the anniversary concert, and the 60th birthday celebrations, now complete, the choir will return to rehearsals next week for their ‘Choral Favourites’ concert on Saturday, May 11 at Helensburgh Parish Church.