NEXT Christmas, Les Sirenes, Glasgow’s prize-winning choir of young women studying or recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, will be marking the tenth anniversary of the seasonal concert in the exquisite setting of the Mackintosh Church. Not until this year, however, have they had to contend with crowds arriving at next door Firhill stadium at exactly the same time to watch a league fixture between Partick Thistle and Celtic, unusually scheduled for a Friday evening.

Although it delayed the start, I don’t believe the clash will have damaged the recording being made at the event for the European Broadcasting Union’s Let The People Sing Competition. Two pieces in the programme, Lionel Salter’s arrangement of The Coventry Carol and Paul Mealor’s Autumn Evening, which was written for the choir as a prize for winning 2012’s UK Choir of the Year, were included for exactly that purpose, and it was no hardship to listen to the latter – not an easy sing, especially its wordless sections – twice, just to be on the safe side. Those were among the unaccompanied highlights, while other music, from the new Sing Willow album, collecting settings of Shakespeare songs, and a set of modern Christmas songs, had regular accompanist Gillian Daly at the piano, while the concert began with four songs by Brahms with harpist Helen Thomson and Hayley Tonner and James Goodenough on French horns.

With a brace of Billy Joel songs and a fine arrangement of It’s Raining Men to conclude, this made for an over-rich pudding of a concert, but – unlike the Jags next door – these young women are definitely part of a winning team.

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