THERE has been a remarkable change in the student body in the city of Glasgow since I was a small part of it. Back then, and until quite recently in fact, the art students kept themselves to Garnethill and us University of Glasgow folk didn't stray much from Gilmorehill. The Glasgow School of Art hipsters didn't talk much to the musicians and actors at the RSAMD either, even when they moved to a new home three blocks away. And the only time any of us ever went to Strathclyde was to see a band in the John Street Union.

These days, it is not in the least remarkable to see students from across the institutions collaborating on a big theatre piece in the Bute Hall, working with Professor John Butt on an opera in a Merchant City bar cafe, or staging a scratch night of performance art in a West End club. A friend at Glasgow Uni, who is now a senior member of the Theatre Studies department, was, I am sure, the sole student of theatre design working with both the art school and the university back in the 1980s. The way students now skip gaily across the disciplines, demonstrating their awesome skillsets on the way, could hardly be more different from the persistence she had to exercise to achieve that.

Glasgow School of Art Choir is another wonderful example of that openness, in its case extending beyond the student body to include long-graduated alumni of the school as well as folk who are just good friends of the organisation and like to sing. In my mind the choir is indelibly associated with the structural change at the art school, because I first heard them at the opening of the new Reid building and the choir's recent recording Light Through Tall Windows commemorates the Mackintosh building as it is being restored following the fire in 2014.

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In fact it predates both events, and celebrated its fifth anniversary with a superb concert in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum last Saturday. The Musical Director of Glasgow School of Art Choir is the dynamic, boyish Jamie Sansbury, who began the choir in January 2012 when he was a student at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 2015. Sansbury is a product of the remarkable National Youth Choir of Scotland network and has been singing since he was in primary school, starting in the various ensembles under NYCoS Edinburgh Area Choir banner and working through the NYCoS National Boys Choir to the senior National Youth Choir of Scotland itself. In this he is exactly the same as my own son, which probably explains why Arthur Bruce was the baritone soloist (alongside mezzo soprano Amanda MacLeod) for the concert's performance of Durufle's Requiem – Arthur having continued to pursue musical studies, rather than architecture.

Whether or not Sansbury designs any prize-winning structures, he deserves enormous credit for the choir he has built, now well over five times the size of its earliest incarnation. Before they were joined by a small orchestra for the Requiem, the first half's music included the first live performance of that original song by the conductor and lyricist Muriel Barbour, two works by James MacMillan and the world premiere of a piece by Shona Mackay, with whom the choir had been teamed under the Adopt a Composer scheme run by Making Music is association with BBC Radio 3, for whom it was recorded. The choir's fifth birthday concert would have been a programme of considerable ambition for students of music, never mind one whose recruits come from a visual art background.

Of course, much of our choral singing is provided by people for whom it is a serious hobby, and tonight and tomorrow the RSNO Junior Chorus are part of the season finale performances of Mahler's Third Symphony. They will be the last the young singers do with Christopher Bell in charge, because the architect of the National Youth Choir of Scotland network has been signed up by the Washington Chorus. Although Bell is remaining in post as artistic director of NYCoS, his increased commitment on the other side of the Atlantic, where he currently directs Chicago's Grant Park Chorus, means that he will also be stepping down as director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus after the 2018 event. Via Jamie Sansbury, who obviously also learned from Bell's drive and enthusiasm, the GSA Choir is another part of the huge debt music-making in Scotland owes him.