Preview: Bathgate Menzies Choir at 90

Bathgate Menzies Choir
Bathgate Menzies Choir
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THE Bathgate Menzies Choir celebrates its 90th anniversary with a special concert is at St John’s Church, Bathgate, on Friday.

The choir started during the general strike of 1926 when laid-off workers in the North British Steel Foundry, looking for something to fill their time, decided to form a choir.

The choir remained male voice until 1958 when ladies joined the ranks.

In the early days the choir performed concerts in the Bathgate Corn Exchange and later moved venue to the Regal Cinema.

Some years were then spent performing in Bathgate High Church before the choir made its home in St John’s Church where it has rehearsed and performed its main concerts since 1987.

Many famous names have been the guests of the choir throughout its history. Names such as Moira Anderson, Anne Lorne Gillies, Peter Morrison and Alistair McDonald have all graced the Bathgate stage.

The choir enjoyed the support and backing of the North British Steel Group for many years and on the demise of the steel works agreed to adopt the name of Bathgate Menzies Choir in recognition of the role that the Menzies Family had held over the years.

Since 2011 the choir has been under the musical direction of Alan Gilmour assisted by accompanist Alan Hastie.

This change ushered in a new era. The repertoire took on a lighter more popular blend of music from a variety of modern composers and arrangers who still provide challenging choral works for the choir to tackle.

The new approach has been well received by audiences and choristers alike and making a special return to perform with the choir at the anniversary concert will be popular entertainers Graeme Danby and his wife Valerie Reid.

Bathgate Menzies Choir Anniversary Concert, St John’s Church, Bathgate, Friday, 7.30pm, £8, at the door