A HELENSBURGH choir is marking 75 years of singing with a special concert in town - with music ranging from the sunrise to Toto.

The Helensburgh Dorian Choir started out in 1949 and is celebrating its anniversary with a special concert on Friday, May 3.

Pupils from Hermitage Primary School will join the choir for some of the songs, along with a string quintet.

The idea Dorian Choir dates back to December 1948, when local resident James MacTaggart wrote an open letter to the Advertiser's predecessor, the Helensburgh and Gareloch Times, suggesting the setting-up of a Helensburgh and District Choir.

James was one of the Dorian Choir's three founding members, along with resident Alastair McDougall, and Bob Clark, gardener at what was then the Victoria Infirmary.

Helensburgh Advertiser: James MacTaggart in 1967James MacTaggart in 1967 (Image: Contributed)

James was blinded in his youth, but went on to be the first conductor of Campbeltown Gaelic Choir, before starting the Dorian Choir.

He was also an organist, a teacher of piano and singing, and a choral conductor and arranger.

READ MORE: Eye on Millig: The remarkable story of the blind organist who founded Helensburgh's Dorian Choir (from 2019)

In its early days, the Dorian was a mixed-voice choir singing sacred music, Scots songs and part-songs.

They later expanded their repertoire to include classical, popular and show music.

Grant Montgomery, chairman of the choir today, says the programme for their anniversary concert will include 'Sunrise Mass' by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, and a choral arrangement of Toto's 1982 UK and US chart hit, 'Africa'.

"The theme is 'What a Wonderful World'," Grant told the Advertiser. "It was essentially inspired by climate.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Helensburgh Dorian Choir preparing for their May 3 concertHelensburgh Dorian Choir preparing for their May 3 concert (Image: Contributed)

"We are trying to appeal to a larger audience. It's a mix of all abilities.

"Singing is very good for the mind and body. It's great to be surrounded by people who can lift each other."

There are about 50 members of the group attending Tuesday rehearsals. 

Since 2017 they've been led by music director Sian Winstanley, who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2009, and pianist Jane Hepworth.

The non-auditioned choir is aimed at giving opportunities for the community to "enjoy companionship, development and fun through singing".

Their programme notes for the upcoming concert includes this passage on the introduction of school pupils for the show: "The choir is sure that James MacTaggart would welcome this aspect of it’s work as he once held a position, funded through the Carnegie Trust, which involved him in training and encouraging others to form children’s choirs."

The concert will be held at the United Reformed Church in Helensburgh on May 3 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available from Destination Helensburgh, The Scandinavian Shop, Ardardan Farm Shop or from choir members.

Tickets cost £15, or £10 for students. Under-12s are free.