Mozart’s friends sing the Requiem the day before his death (detail of a picture by Thomas Shields, 1882)

Sunday 12 May 2024


Royal Albert Hall, 7.00 pm


Pssst! Important!
As most of you already know, 12 May is the actual day of Brian Kay’s 80th birthday. At the beginning of the afternoon rehearsal (starts 3.30pm) we will therefore sing Happy Birthday to him to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus. We are assured that Brian is unlikely to look at the website to see this announcement, and you are asked not to mention it if you see him. You can download the two A4 pages here (opens in a new window), and copies will also be sent with your tickets in April. Needless to say there will be no rehearsal, so please print the score and make sure you know how the words fit the music.

Vocal scores. You need to bring your own music, since it will not be possible to purchase scores on the day. Mozart’s Requiem will be sung in Latin using Süssmayr’s completion without additional modern editing. Many singers will already possess the Old Novello edition, still available as a reprint, but the Bärenreiter edition is compatible. If you cannot find a copy, and your local music shop cannot help, then the extremely knowledgeable staff at Blackwell’s Music Shop in Oxford will certainly be able to do so. Telephone 01865 333582 and you will be able to speak to Peter McMullin, or email your order to Include all relevant details in the email, but please do not include credit card details as these should never be sent over the Internet unless via a secure website where the data can be encrypted.

Learning the music. Singers should arrive already having learnt the music, since there is not very much rehearsal time (see below). Brian Kay has compiled a sheet of chorus instructions specific to this performance which you can download here (opens in a new window). These instructions will be sent automatically when we acknowledge your booking; we will also send further copies when we post your tickets. Please copy all instructions into your score, as they will help with your practising. For details of learning resources to help you practise at home, see our FAQs, including information on the app from ChoraLine giving you hundreds of learning files at the click of a button. Why not join our Facebook group (opens in a new window), find other singers in your area, and set up a joint practice session?

Rehearsals on the day. There will be a morning piano rehearsal (12 noon to 1.30 pm) and an afternoon rehearsal with orchestra from 3.30pm to 5 pm (with orchestra). Please do not skip these: this is the last chance for The Really Big Chorus to rehearse together at the Royal Albert Hall, as Messiah from Scratch, which continues into 2025 and beyond, has no rehearsal for the chorus. The more we sing together the better the evening performance will be, and it is easier to sort out any seating or musical problems at this stage rather than encounter unforeseen difficulties at 6.55 pm. 

Lunch. As on previous occasions where there has been a morning rehearsal, the RAH caterers (Rhubarb) are offering singers a pre-ordered snack-pack lunch which can be eaten in one of the two Foyer Bars (this is a blessing if wet weather is forecast). Comprising your choice of sandwich (with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available), crisps, fruit, chocolate, a bottle of water and unlimited tea or coffee, the price is £16 and packs must be ordered before 3 May. Order forms can be downloaded here: an Excel version which can be completed on your device and emailed straight to Rhubarb; or a PDF which needs to be printed out, completed, scanned and returned. Rhubarb’s details are on the form – please do not send these forms to us as we don’t deal with catering! 

Dress for the concert should be elegant. Tenors and basses usually wear dinner jackets or suits; sopranos and altos are asked to abide by the TRBC colour code: something including blue for sopranos (bright or mid-blue if you can), and something with red for altos (as close to poppy red as you dare). Further details on our FAQs page, including suggestions for female tenors and male altos.

Dressing rooms. Changing facilities for so many singers are limited at the Royal Albert Hall. There are designated changing spaces for men and women, with a few lockers for secure storage of personal possessions (the rooms themselves are not locked at any time). You can find details in our Chorus Notes

For other questions you might have, click here to go to our page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); information specifically about Central Hall Westminster will be sent with your tickets.

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