Concerts from Scratch

The UK’s largest choral society

The Really Big Chorus is the UK’s largest choral society with more than 12,000 singing members.  Founded in 1974, and promoted by Concerts from Scratch Ltd, it hosts three concerts a year at the Royal Albert Hall: Messiah from Scratch® in November, a May event, and a Summer Singday in July (always the ‘last night before the Proms’). The premise is straightforward: you learn the music, turn up, and sing!  Messiah ‘from Scratch’ is just that – no chorus rehearsal at all, just an electrifying, adrenaline-filled performance.

In 2013 an offspring of Messiah from Scratch® was born. The Scratch® Youth Messiah was created to encourage young people to perform Handel’s iconic work in its much-loved SATB version. Over 1,000 young singers took part with conductor Suzi Digby OBE in the first performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 1st December 2013.

Following the second performance of Scratch® Youth Messiah, Concerts from Scratch are delighted that it has won the Best Classical Music Education Initiative in the 2015 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. The winner was chosen by public vote via Classic FM, sponsor of the award.

I have been singing with The Really Big Chorus since 2005 and set up a Facebook Group for them in my capacity as a singer. In March 2011, I joined them as Press and Publicity Manager. I run @ReallyBigChorus and @Youth_Messiah on Twitter and have helped to build their profile in the national media. A highlight was our appearance on ITV London Tonight when our singers were travelling to New York to appear in the 9/11 memorial concert at Avery Fisher Hall with Karl Jenkins.

12 March 2015 – Scratch® Youth Messiah wins Best Classical Music Education Initiative in the 2015 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence

2 December 2014 – Scratch® Youth Messiah has been nominated for Best Classical Music Education Initiativesponsored by Classic FM in the 2015 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.

2 December 2014 – The Telegraph: Photograph of the Messiah from Scratch on page 3 of The Telegraph (no link available)

27 November 2014 – The Really Big Chorus to usher in festive season with double Messiah

19 June 2014 – Music Teacher Magazine: Scratch Youth Messiah returns!

18 June 2014 – Classic FM: Jonathan Willcocks chats to Classic FM’s Tim Lihoreau in his weekly Web Chat 

May 2014 – Cotswold Life: Carrying the baton – Brian Kay features in “My Cotswold Life”

1 December 2013 – Classic FM: Photo gallery for the first Scratch® Youth Messiah 

December 2013 – Saga Magazine: People we Love – The Hallelujah Man – an interview with Brian Kay

29 November 2103 – BBC Radio 3 In Tune: Suzi Digby chats and tangoes with Sean Rafferty

20 November 2013 – Classic FM: Suzi Digby joins Classic FM’s Tim Lihoreau in the Wednesday Web Chat

November 2013 – BBC Music Magazine: Suzi Digby talks about guiding over 1,000 young singers through Handel’s Messiah

3 June 2013 – Early Music Today: Young people invited to apply for Scratch Youth Messiah event

28 May 2103  Young people invited to sing Handel’s Messiah free at the Royal Albert Hall with Suzi Digby OBE