In the autumn of that year, some members of the Stirling Choral Union were disappointed when the rehearsals for a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta were terminated in favour of Verdi's Requiem and they founded the Stirling Operatic Society, which presented the operetta Les Cloches de Comeville in the Albert Halls, Stirling.

Up to the outbreak of the First World War, the society continued to present French operettas that are no longer heard of, such as Pepita and Falka. Meanwhile, the Bridge of Allan Operatic Society gave its first production, HMS Pinafore, in March 1908 in the Museum Hall and continued to perform G&S until 1913.

One of the side effects of the First World War was the loss of local halls, which had suffered from having troops billeted in them, but the Stirling group resumed in 1921 with Pepita in the Alhambra Theatre, a tiny venue in the Arcade but now used as a furniture store.

In 1905, Bridge of Allan and Stirling were nearly an hour's journey apart by horse-drawn tram, but by the 1920s the motor-bus had made it easier for patrons to travel and the two societies were catenng for the same audience - and when the Stirling society decided to perform G&S in 1923 they came into direct competition.

As years went by, the same people appeared in the productions of both groups and in 1933 the Bridge of Allan society went into suspended animation.

The Stirling society, however, went from strength to strength and the 1930s could be said to be its golden age. With Margaret Eadie as producer and Adam Lennox as musical director, the annual productions were enthusiastically reviewed in the local press - and the 1938 production of The Gondoliers even reached the national press, with the Bulletin doubting that a better performance could be seen in any city theatre.

Three of the stalwarts of those years, Willie Clark, Joshua Petty and Jean G Bruce, were in great demand to guest with other societies. Once more, world war intervened. Just why the Stirling and Bridge of Allan groups amalgamated afterwards is not clear from the records. The reasons may have been financial or simply sentimental. Nevertheless, the Stirling and Bridge of Allan Amateur Operatic Society - what a mouthful! - was formed under the presidency of J J Munro, owner of the Stirling Observer, and presented The Mikado in February 1949 with the pre-war team still intact but 10 years older.

The following year saw the first appearance on stage of Mae Younger, whose long years of service have been recognised by her election as honorary president. She was in the centenary production of My Fair Lady this year [2006] - and is still going strong, only 20 years younger than the society.

During those post-war years, among those who appeared on stage were Clifford Hughes, Fay Lenore and Anne Ballantyne, who would later return as producer.

The biggest upheaval in the history of SABOS came in 1971, after the production of Orpheus in the Underworld, when the committee, under the strong leadership of president Willie McEwen, took the decision to move from the Albert Halls to the newly constructed MacRobert Theatre at the University of Stirling.

The move brought many advantages: among them were improved facilities for staging and dressing-room accommodation. There were some disadvantages, however - chiefly the reduced seating capacity, and from 1977 the productions were staged over two weeks to cover their costs, which was quite a commitment for an amateur society.

Since 2004, the society has reverted to a one-week run, but this means that a sell-out at the box office is essential. Productions such as Annie andOliver! have attracted a younger audience, but it remains to be seen whether this will have a permanent effect.

Last February [2006], members of the society were invited to a civic reception in the Stirling Council chambers, at which a silver quaich was presented to the group's president Gay Burt by Provost Colin O'Brien to mark the centenary.

Despite disruption because of heavy snowfalls, My Fair Lady was generally regarded as one of the society's most successful shows and leaves SABOS optimistic about the next 100 years. All we require is a full house every night...