Latest news

For more information, click the link(s) given in each news item.

14 February 2024
Vienna singing holiday open for booking
Booking is now open for this truly unique winter singing holiday. This is a fantastic opportunity to sing in the cathedral where Mozart was married and where his body received its pre-burial blessing. Our concert starts at midnight and ends just a few minutes after 1am – the recorded time of Mozart’s death; this is a spine-tingling moment with the cathedral in total silence. The Requiem will be conducted by Gerald Wirth, Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys Choir, and TRBC participants also have the privilege of hearing a private concert from one of the VBC choirs in the Augartenpalais, home to the choir since 1948 and not normally open to the public. We will, as usual, be superbly looked after by a team from Specialised Travel Concert Touring, which deals with the logistics for all our singing holidays.

Don’t delay: when we first offered this tour in 2018 it was fully booked within weeks – we could have sold it three times over! Book now: https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/singing-holiday-vienna-mozart/

29 January 2024
Announcing soloists for Mozart’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall
We are delighted to reveal the names of the soloists for our performance of Mozart’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 12 May. Beginning at the top of the vocal range we have Scottish soprano Rachel Speirs, who will be singing with English Touring Opera this Spring in venues from Exeter to Newcastle upon Tyne; mezzo-soprano Bethany Horak-Hallett, who sang Messiah for us in 2022 and also joined the team in Faro for Haydn’s ‘Nelson’ Mass; Ruairi Bowen, fresh from a run of performances over Easter as the Evangelist in Bach’s St John Passion; and bass-baritone Ossian Huskinson. A splendid soloist in TRBC’s Verdi Requiem in 2023, Ossian was named by the Critic’s Circle as Young Talent of the Year (2022–23) and has recently joined the impressive roster of Harewood Young Artists at English National Opera.

In addition to this vocal quartet, the soloist in Mozart’s Third Horn Concerto will be Ben Goldscheider, who enjoys an international career as a soloist and chamber music player. He last played for us at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017.

For more details and booking information visit https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/mozart-requiem-royal-albert-hall/

09 January 2024
A Happy 50th Anniversary Year to all our singers and supporters!

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the very first performance of Messiah from Scratch® at the Royal Albert Hall. The idea was conceived in off-duty moments by young scientists on the teaching faculty of Imperial College, and Messiah from Scratch® first saw the light of day on Thursday 7 December 1974 after some nine months of planning. It has been an annual fixture at the RAH ever since. In the months that follow, we will bring you stories about that first performance and the people who made it happen, and we hope everyone will want to join in the 50th anniversary performance itself on Sunday 10 November (booking will open at the very beginning of March). 

As for previous important anniversaries of Messiah from Scratch®, we will be auctioning the chance to conduct an additional performance of the Hallelujah Chorus after the concert interval. If you are not in the habit of conducting a choir of 3,000 singers and a large orchestra, it’s probably not too early to equip yourself with a conductor’s baton and to start to practise in front of the mirror. If you already conduct a choir, be sure to get them all to sponsor you, as this auction has been known to raise six-figure sums for the British Heart Foundation which will once again be the beneficiary.  

To read more about the first-ever performance of Messiah from Scratch®, click here:  https://www.trbc.co.uk/about-us/how-it-all-began/.

30 October 2023
Update on Messiah from Scratch®
Tickets continue to sell steadily for Messiah from Scratch®, but if you want to sing with us you will need to hurry, as almost all the best singing seats in the Royal Albert Hall have now gone. We can still accommodate tenors and basses downstairs in the main area, with a few seats dotted about for sopranos and altos, otherwise you can join the throng singing from the Circle. To book Singing Seats in all areas, or Audience Seats in the Circle, please click here to download our booking form, or visit our booking page for more details.  For Audience Seats in the Stalls or the Circle, please visit the Royal Albert Hall website.

Programmes will be sold by RAH staff, but all profits, and all donations made on top of the programme’s cover price, will be donated to the British Heart Foundation whose volunteers will be out in force to persuade you to part with your money.  Cardiovascular diseases claim almost 18 millions lives each year, so your cash goes toward vitally important research work. 

Messiah from Scratch® signals the start of their Christmas preparations for thousands of singers, with numbers approaching 3,000 this year – more than half the Hall. Singers come from near and far: from round the corner in  North Kensington, from ‘across the pond’ in North America, and from all over Europe. Come and join them for a totally unique experience. Find all the information you need here: https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/messiah-from-scratch-2023/.

13 October 2023
A Spring Singing Holiday. Our 2024 singing holiday in Cyprus could be just what you need to chase away the winter blues. There’s a lot to like. Probably top of the list, especially for those of us in the UK who have seen very little sun these past few months, is the weather: Cyprus has one of the warmest climates in the Mediterranean. At the time of our visit, day-time temperatures average 22–23 degrees; delightfully warm spring weather without being too hot.

Close on the heels of the agreeable weather, however, comes the music, and this promises to be one of the most exciting singing holidays we have run in a while. The work to be performed is Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace – a modern choral classic with a very contemporary text on the destructive nature of war. This is highly relevant to us all at present, and very resonant for the people of Cyprus as memories of conflict are still fresh for some communities.

Our orchestra is the highly regarded Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra, who are as thrilled to be performing The Armed Man with us as we are to be performing with them. TRBC’s Principal Conductor, Brian Kay, is at the helm, and our mezzo-soprano soloist is Emily Gray who has twice performed this work with us to great acclaim at the Royal Albert Hall.

Our travel partners, Specialised Travel, are offering a 3-day extension to the usual 4-day singing holiday, meaning you can stay on to explore more of this beautiful island, either on your own or by taking advantage of our organised excursions.

For full booking details and other useful links, visit https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/singing-holiday-cypriot-delight/.

28 September 2023
Soloists for Messiah from Scratch®.
Following a day of auditions earlier this week, we are delighted to announce the names of our team of soloists for Messiah from Scratch® on Sunday 12 November at London’s Royal Albert Hall. We will be joined by soprano Hilary Cronin, countertenor Tom Lilburn, tenor James Micklethwaite and baritone Johannes Moore.

These four talented young singers will complement a chorus which already numbers in excess of  2,000, with singers filling the Stage, Choir, part of the Stalls and Arena, and spilling into the Circle. The orchestra is the English Festival Orchestra, and the RAH ‘Father’ Willis organ will be played by Jane Watts.  Brian Kay, Principal Conductor of The Really Big Chorus, conducts.

Messiah with The Really Big Chorus is always a joyous occasion, regarded by many as the start of their Christmas preparations. It is a unique event: there is no rehearsal at all for singers, who outnumber the audience sometimes by as many as three to one; there is a real sense of excitement, year after year; and singers join us from all over the world, from as far afield as Australia and the USA.

For Audience, seats in the Stalls and Gallery standing places are available from the Royal Albert Hall box office;  Singing seats, and Audience seats in the Circle, are available only from us. For full details and onward links, visit https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/messiah-from-scratch-2023/

7 July 2023
Tickets for Messiah from Scratch® are selling fast!
Sales of tickets for Messiah from Scratch® on Sunday 12 November at London’s Royal Albert Hall are approaching pre-pandemic levels, so you need to get a move on if you want a really good seat. Already we are completely sold out of singing boxes and Arena Audience seats, and there are a mere handful of Alto singing seats left in the Main Singing Area. There are still good seats for Sopranos, Tenors and Basses, and room up in the Circle for both Singers and Audience. Singing tickets for Messiah from Scratch® are available only via our booking form; Stalls seats and Gallery standing places for Audience are available online from the Royal Albert Hall Box Office, by telephone from 020 7589 8212, or in person at the Box Office in Kensington Gore.

The hunt is on for a team of soloists, drawn from the best young prize-winning singers to emerge during the past season. We will hold auditions in the autumn for those who have been recommended to us and will announce their names at the end of September.

We will be accompanied, as always, by the English Festival Orchestra, and the RAH ‘Father’ Willis organ will be played by Jane Watts.  TRBC Principal Conductor, Brian Kay, conducts. For full details, visit https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/messiah-from-scratch-2023/.

28 June 2023
TRBC to perform Mozart’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall.
Next year’s TRBC spring concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall is confirmed for Sunday 12 May 2024. The headline work will be Mozart’s Requiem, with a supporting orchestral programme to be announced in the autumn when booking opens.

The Really Big Chorus hopes to attract around 2,000 singers for this performance, as Mozart’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall remains one of our most popular promotions, as well as one of the best-loved choral works ever for singers and audiences alike. Not only is the music wonderful (listen to it here if you don’t know it), but there are intriguing  circumstances surrounding the writing of the work following its commission by an Austrian nobleman, Count Walsegg,  who was in the habit of asking composers to write music which he then passed off as his own compositions!

Mozart died before he could finish the work, so it was completed at the time by his pupil Süssmayr. There have been several other completions of the score in recent years, as musicologists delve into Mozart’s style to find clues as to what he might have written had he lived a few more weeks: this article on the Requiem lists some of the completions available. 

Full details, including booking information for singers and audience, can be found here: https://www.trbc.co.uk/events/mozart-requiem-royal-albert-hall/.

20 June 2023
Soprano Rebecca Hardwick to appear at the Three Choirs Festival.
Rebecca Hardwick sings the soprano solos in the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival performance of Bach’s St John Passion on 27 July.

Rebecca was one of four outstanding soloists in our Verdi Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall last month, and will also be joining us for our singing holiday in Berlin later in the year with its twin attractions of Christmas music and Christmas market shopping. 

It might feel a bit early to be booking a singing holiday with a Christmas theme just as summer starts, so we are offering an incentive in the shape of a £100 discount on the price if you book before 15 July. Full details on our booking page.

7 June 2023
We are pleased to announce details of our singing holiday to Cyprus next April. 2024 is our fiftieth anniversary, and our ‘Cypriot Delight’ singing holiday is the first of some very special events that year arranged to celebrate 50 years of providing singing experiences for many thousands of people. We will sing The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace by Sir Karl Jenkins, a work which will doubtless have special resonance for many people in Cyprus, for whom conflict is within living memory. It is a particular delight to be working with the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra on this project, as they are ranked amongst the top European Youth Orchestras. 

Our Principal Conductor, Brian Kay, will conduct. Brian, together with Sir Karl, reaches a milestone birthday in 2024, a fact which will, no doubt, be mentioned!

Click here for more information about this singing holiday abroad, or send an email with Cypriot Delight in the subject line to our travel partners, Specialised Travel Concert Touring Ltd (Scratch@STLon.com). Give your name, address and a daytime contact phone number so that they can send you the full brochure as soon as it is ready. They are offering two options: the four-day musical package, or a seven-day package which gives you three extra days after the concert to explore this wonderful island. 

31 May 2023
Many congratulations to Ossian Huskinson who has just won The Critics’ Circle 2022 Young Talent (Voice) Award. Furthermore, the winner in the instrumental category was Ben Goldscheider who, in May 2017, performed Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto for us at the Royal Albert Hall, shortly after winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year concerto finalist award.

Concerts from Scratch has an excellent track record when it comes to talent spotting. Many who sang for us at the RAH in the early stages of their careers have gone from strength to strength; they are now represented by the UK’s most prestigious artists’ agents and are names to conjure with in the music business. Singers of the calibre of Roderick Williams, Christine Rice, Lucy Crowe, Andrew Staples, Anna Stéphany, Nick Pritchard, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Helena Dix, Ashley Riches and Mary Bevan have all sung with us, so you can be sure of first-class soloists if you join in with one of our events. Our Summer School (1–6 August) features Harriet Burns, Georgie Malcolm and Richard Dowling in Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praisebook now to share a platform with these stars of the future.

11 May 2023
Click here to read all about our highly successful singing holiday in the Algarve over Coronation weekend, including a video of the opening bars of Zadok the Priest.

08 May 2023
Just back from a terrific trip to the Algarve singing Handel and Haydn. Next singing holiday is Berlin Christmas Markets in December: more details here.

01 February 2023
Soloists now announced for our Verdi Requiem concert on 21 May at the Royal Albert Hall: more details here.

11 January 2023
Messiah from Scratch® returned to the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 13 November: click here for details.