Scratch Messiah

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A Scratch Messiah, People's Messiah, Come Sing Messiah, Sing-it-yourself Messiah, or Sing along Messiah (the first two British and Australian usage, the last two common in North America) is an informal performance of Handel's Messiah in which the audience serves as the unrehearsed chorus, often supported by a carefully prepared core group. Orchestra and soloists are usually professionals, though their services are often donated for charity benefits. The name should by no means be confused with the experimental scratch orchestra tradition, but rather derives from the idea of cooking from scratch.

Such performances have become a tradition among music lovers in the English-speaking world, especially around Christmas time, and appear to be developing a following in the Netherlands and China as well[citation needed]. Often a "Sing-along Messiah" is organised in a concert hall or church, where a choir has rehearsed the music, but the public are invited to bring scores and join in. On a smaller scale, a Messiah party may take the form of a group of friends gathered around the piano in someone's home, and this is typically sung entirely a prima vista. Usually these are informal events, though occasionally there is a dress code: formal concert dress or even 18th century period costume.[1] Frequently these events are held during Advent, and often they are associated with fund-raising for charitable purposes. '

Scratch Messiah, Royal Albert Hall 2015

One example of a large-scale event is the "Do-It-Yourself Messiah" held in Chicago since 1976, organized by the International Music Foundation. It is held in the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. There is a volunteer orchestra and hired soloists, and the audience serves as the chorus.[2] Similarly, CAMMAC in Canada organizes "Come! Sing Messiah" events.[3] Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center is another large-scale annual event, with professional orchestra and soloists. It uses nearly two dozen conductors chosen from various choirs in New York City, who each conduct one selection from the work.[citation needed]. A similar event,[4] among the first in the USA, has been held in Lexington MA since 1962.

The largest regular performance in the UK, the "Messiah from Scratch", is held annually at the Royal Albert Hall, London. This event, which now attracts more than 3000 singers each year,[5] was first held in 1974. From 1979 until 2009, the performance was conducted by Sir David Willcocks.[6] Brian Kay has been conducting the event since 2010.[6]


Country State City Date Link
USA CT New London Dec 20, 2014 Eastern Connecticut Symphony
USA CO Boulder Dec 20, 2015 Boulder Messiah Chorale
USA VA Charlottesville Dec 10, 2013 University of Virginia
USA MA Lexington Dec 16, 2016 Masterworks Chorale
USA MA Lexington Dec 17, 2016 Masterworks Chorale
USA MA Cambridge Dec 10, 2015 Harvard
USA MA Brookline Dec 7, 2008 Saint Paul's Church
USA DC Washington Dec 23, 2015 Kennedy Center
USA MA Belmont Dec 21, 2014 Powers Music School
USA PA Octarora Dec 29, 2016 Chester County Messiah Singalong
USA PA Westminster Apr 21, 2017 Lancaster County Singalong
USA MA Great Barrington Nov 28, 2015 Berkshire Bach Society
USA CA Stanford Dec 11, 2015 Stanford Memorial Church
USA OH Columbus Dec 9, 2016 ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
USA OH Cleveland Dec 17, 2015 Episcopal Diocese of Ohio
USA OH Springfield Dec 1, 2014 Wittenberg University
USA OH Kent Dec 12, 2015 Kent State University
USA UT Salt Lake City Nov 28, 2015 Utah Symphony
USA UT Salt Lake City Mar 24, 2016 Mormon Tabernacle Choir
USA NY New York Dec 20, 2016 Lincoln Center
USA NY New York Dec 6, 2016 West Village Chorale
USA NY White Plains Dec 4, 2016 Westchester Symphony
USA CA Los Angeles Dec 18, 2016 Los Angeles Master Chorale
Great Britain . Bath Nov 27, 2016 The Really Big Chorus


  1. ^
  2. ^ International Music Foundation: DIY Messiah
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ a b "How it all began ". The Really Big Chorus

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