EFO principal trumpet Joseph Atkins in rehearsal for 'The trumpet shall sound'


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Why were there empty seats at the concert when you said it was sold out?

Of the 5,300 seats in the Royal Albert Hall, roughly 1,300 are privately owned by the Members. This has been the case since the Hall was built in the reign of Queen Victoria and the Members make an annual contribution to the running costs of the Hall. Only in special circumstances are their seats made available to promoters, and rarely for concerts. So if a Member does not attend a particular concert, and does not sell his/her seat(s) back to the Hall or to a third party, the seats remain empty.

Why doesn’t the Royal Albert Hall sell singing tickets?

Singing tickets cannot be sold by the Hall because their Box Office has no means of allocating you to the correct voice-part within the choir, and we might end up with half a dozen tenors in the middle of the altos! Audience tickets are sold by the Hall, but our booking process starts several months ahead of theirs and the best seats are often sold by us before booking opens at the Box Office.

When will I receive my tickets?

Tickets are not despatched until a few weeks before the concert. This way we can balance the size of the different vocal sections. If you are expecting tickets, be sure to look carefully at every letter you receive from The Really Big Chorus—people have been known to overlook their tickets thinking it is a routine mailshot. Sometimes people who order two tickets think they have only received one. Look carefully, as they are folded together accordion style. If you have not received your tickets two weeks before the concert, please write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ, and be sure to tell us the name and postcode of the person who actually made the booking. You can then come and see us at the Box Office on the day of the concert, and we will be able to issue passes in lieu of lost or missing tickets. If there isn’t time to write, come to the Box Office anyway, and we will do our best to help.

How do I add to my booking?

Simply make an additional booking; we will connect your booking if the surname and postcode are the same (please write clearly). To be safe, send a covering note with your second and subsequent bookings. However, there are situations in which we may not be able to seat additional bookings with your earlier ones. That occurs with female voices when the early bookings have arrived soon enough to be seated in the Stalls, and the subsequent request arrives after the Stalls are full. We do not consider it fair to push someone out of the Stalls in order to join a later booking with an early one, although we may offer you the option of moving your friend(s) out of the Stalls so they can sit with you if they wish. Surprisingly, this option is not often taken up! We may also not be able to seat you together when the early bookings are seated Downstairs and the Downstairs is full by the time the second booking arrives.

How do I rearrange the voices or audience categories in my booking?

To do this you must write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ and explain your requirements. Be sure to identify the surname and full postcode of the person who made the booking. Please enclose a payment if the total price is increased. We will not normally refund any price difference, and if we do there will be an administration charge.

How do I reduce or cancel my booking?

Please write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ. We are happy to be told about reduced or cancelled bookings so that we can fill gaps in the seating, but we will not normally make refunds unless your section is sold out and we are able to resell the tickets. Even for sold-out events this is not always possible, particularly if you leave it to the last minute. If we do make a refund, there will be an administration charge of £5.00 per seat.

I sent my booking form in ages ago; when can I expect to hear from you?

Unless you enclosed an SAE for a confirmation that we received your booking, we will have assumed that you trusted both us and the postal system. If you did enclose an SAE, but did not receive a confirmation, we regret that mail does unfortunately sometimes go astray! Your tickets will be sent a few weeks before the concert, but if the concert is less than two weeks away and you have not received them, please write to us immediately at PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ and we will sort it out for you.

Where will I sit at the Royal Albert Hall?

Choir tickets are sold in three categories, Boxes, Downstairs and Circle. The earliest bookings are always given what we consider to be the best seats. You can view pictures of the choir at our events in our photo galleries.  Boxes and Circle are self-explanatory, but here is some clarification about how we allocate seating ‘Downstairs’.

Downstairs Sopranos are first of all seated in the Stalls. We may then put in two or three rows of Arena seats behind the orchestra violins, and then two or more rows behind the Basses at the back of the Stage. Finally, we fill the Choir East Section from front to back.

Downstairs Altos are first of all seated in the Stalls. We may then put in two or more rows behind the Basses at the back of the Stage. Finally, we fill the Choir West Section from front to back.

Downstairs Tenors are usually seated on a stage extension behind the orchestra. Rows 1 and 2 in that section are farthest from the conductor but are the most raised, so we consider them to be the best position.

Downstairs Basses are seated on the Stage, from front to back. The chairs for Tenors and Basses Downstairs are not as wide as they might be and, because of Health and Safety requirements, they now have to be strapped together. The number of end-of-row seats is limited, but if space is a problem for you, please tell us when you send in your booking form and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Any singer with a particular request should specify their requirements at the time of booking.  This is particularly important for Messiah from Scratch®, as the lack of rehearsal means there is no chance for you to swap your seat for one which is more suitable.

Can I sit with my friend?

Maybe, although it would only be possible if your friend sings the same part as you. The safest thing is to book together. Alternatively, write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ asking to be seated together. Please be sure the other person has booked, and tell us who made their booking—these requests sometimes cause us much head scratching. We need to know the surnames and postcodes of the people who actually made the booking(s). However, there is one situation in which we will not be able to comply with your request to sit you with your friend. That occurs with female voices when the first booking has arrived early enough to be seated in the Stalls, and the subsequent request arrives after the Stalls are full. We do not consider it fair to push someone out of the Stalls to join a later booking with an early one. We may offer you the option of moving your friend(s) out of the Stalls so they can sit with you. Surprisingly, this option is not often taken up!

I am disabled. How do I get easy-access seats?

There are some seats on special platforms suitable for wheelchair access, and there are other seats that are easier to access for those not in wheelchairs. For disabled and easy-access seats, and any special request of a similar nature, please explain your requirement at the time of booking.