Scratch Messiah Zeeland

17 June 2024

On March 2, the Scratch Messiah Zeeland was performed for the 23rd time in the St. Jacobskerk in Vlissingen. A scratch performance means that the work is rehearsed and performed in one day. The participants in this scratch performance, i.e. both choir and orchestra members, rehearsed their parts at home. They then jointly rehearsed all day to perform the Messiah in front of an audience in the evening. Starting with nothing in the morning, or “from scratch” and performing the Messiah in full in the evening, hence the name Scratch Messiah.


The first Scratch Messiah dates back to 1974 (so half a century ago this year!) at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London under the direction of Gavin Park, later taken over by none other than Sir David Willcocks who did so until 2010. Every year he stood in front of some 3,000 singers, and an orchestra with the great concert organ to support this massive ensemble. Now Brian Kay has been doing the conducting for years.
Years later this was taken up in Leiden and in 2000 in Vlissingen by Leo Smit who then asked Jules van Hessen as conductor, who to this day directs this special music event.

Vlissingen 2024

The Scratch Messiah Zeeland was successfully performed on March 2. Some 200 singers, 40 musicians and four soloists, led by conductor Jules van Hessen, performed G.F. Handel’s Oratorio Messiah to an audience of 220. The organisers look back on a musically and organisationally successful event with many happy participants and auditors.

Website Scratch Messiah Zeeland

This event was made possible thanks to a financial contribution from the Hurgronje Family Fund.

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