Scala's progress has been phenomenal from the very start. They quickly gained a reputation as one of Europe’s leading vocal ensembles, and achieved outstanding success at choir competitions throughout the world.
In November 1999, Scala won the Choir of the Year biannual competition, held by the three Belgian choir federations. They retained this title for three years in succession and were featured in the Choir of the Year 1999-2000 television report by CANVAS TV.
In May 2000, they won the 48th European Youth Music Festival in Neerpelt, Belgium. Scala was the only choir to receive the first prize in the Wimpel Series (the category of choirs with an established reputation). Scala's success was enhanced by the fact that it had been 40 years since a Belgian choir had outshone their foreign competitors at this festival!
Towards the end of 2000, Universal Music released Scala's first CD - Christmas Time Is Here. The album release was followed by a Christmas Tour of Belgium, during which they performed many successful concerts. The tour concluded at the Royal Palace with Scala presenting a Christmas concert for the Belgian royal family - a performance that was broadcast on Christmas Eve by many TV stations.
The following year, Scala enjoyed a remarkable collaboration with the successful Belgian rock group Hooverphonic. Scala were invited to perform alongside Alex Callier & co on the main stage of Rock Werchter, in front of a 50,000-strong audience. Since then, Scala have enjoyed accompanying many popular Belgian artists during their On The Rocks concerts, including performances with Jasper Steverlinck (Arid), Stijn Meuris (Noordkaap/Monza), Anton Walgrave, Koen Buysse (Zornik) and Sarah & Gert Bettens (K's Choice).
In July 2001, Scala travelled to Japan to participate in the Hamamatsu World Youth Choir Festival, which is only held every five years. This was a great honour as very few foreign choirs are invited to this prestigious Japanese festival.
At the end of April 2002, Scala won 1st prize once again summa cum laude at the 50th International Youth Music Festival in Neerpelt. And in May 2002, Scala won 2nd prize at the 51st prestigious Florilège Vocal de Tours choir contest in France. Then in July 2002, Scala were awarded 1st prize in the contemporary music category of the International Choral Kathaumixw contest in Powell River (Canada).
During 2002, Scala began experimenting with a new repertoire of more contemporary pop and rock songs, which they performed that Autumn in front of a wildly enthusiastic audience of thousands at Lowlands festival in the Netherlands.
The overwhelming popularity of Scala's pop and rock song interpretations led to several sold-out headline shows in Belgium, during which their Scala On The Rocks CD was recorded. Scala On The Rocks was released in Benelux on the PiaS label towards the end of 2002 to public and media acclaim.
Scala On The Rocks was supported with the release of their first single - a cover version of the popular song She Hates Me, originally performed by Puddle Of Mudd. Scala’s version of the song was met with exceptional enthusiasm from the public, which culminated in the song being voted to the #1 position in Studio Brussel's Chart.
As a result of the album's exceptional popularity, Scala On The Rocks was subsequently released throughout many countries worldwide, including: Israel, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Greece. It has already proved to be phenomenally successful in France, where it has already sold more than 18,000 copies.
In 2003, Scala was also awarded first prize in the 'Equal Voice Youth Choirs' category at the 9th International Choir Competition, Budapest, in which 72 choirs from 23 countries took part. Scala impressed the judges with their performance, which included works by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Vic Nees, as well as several new compositions by Stephen Hatfield. Stijn Kolacny was also awarded a special conductor’s prize at this important competition.
Scala was the overall winner at the 6th International Choir Competition in Austria. They were also awarded 1st prize in the 'Equal Voices' and 'Light Music' categories.
During July 2003, Scala had the honour of performing together with Indochine at the X-Festival.
This Autumn and Winter, Scala are looking forward to touring extensively throughout Belgium. And on 4 October their second album of contemporary songs - Scala On The Rocks: Dream On - will be released.
When asked about Scala's revolutionary success at fusing different musical genres, Steven and Stijn Kolacny explain that: "Whether it's Brahms or Garbage, in the end it's all music. And wouldn't it be stupid and arrogant to think that an open-minded audience cannot or should not love both extremes? As a matter of fact, that's just what the audience does."