About Capella Regalis
A free music education in a centuries-old tradition. Inspiring and accessible professional performances.
Capella Regalis is a Canadian charity dedicated to training singers and to offering excellent choral music presentations to the public. Founded in Nova Scotia by director Nick Halley in 2010 to build upon the best aspects of the centuries-old European tradition of church choirs and to revitalize this method of music training in Canada, Capella Regalis now comprises a Boys Choir, Girls Choir, and professional Men's Choir (including Young Men with recently changed voices). Our children's choirs are free and open to any child who passes a basic audition.
Capella Regalis Choirs regularly sing Choral Evensong in the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, as part of the Cathedral's Sundays at Four series. The choirs also perform concerts around Nova Scotia and beyond in a busy September – June season, and engage the public in many music outreach initiatives.
Annual performances include tour programs of sacred and secular repertoire from across the Western tradition, and the popular, annual Christmas series, A Chorister's Christmas. In addition, Capella Regalis frequently collaborates with other groups and world-class musicians in productions of major works such as J.S. Bach’s Easter Cantata BWV 4, J.S. Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Bizet’s Carmen, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Handel’s Te Deum, Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Paul Winter Consort’s Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, and Schütz's Musikalische Exequien.
Capella Regalis has hosted other choirs and performing artists from the local community as well as from across Canada for special projects, and has completed seven performance tours in the Maritimes presented by Musique Royale. In June 2022, the Scotia Festival of Music featured Nick and the boy sopranos of Capella Regalis alongside Canadian violinist Kerson Leong and string orchestra in the Canadian premiere of John Rutter's "Visions" (a violin concerto written for Leong and boys choir).
Capella Regalis has released four CDs: Benjamin Britten: A Ceremony of Carols (2023), Love Came Down: Carols for Christmas (2019), Greater Love (2017) and My Eyes for Beauty Pine (2014), as well as many online performance broadcasts (visit our Audio and Video pages to view and hear recordings). Capella Regalis has also collaborated with other non-profit organizations on charitable causes in Nova Scotia ranging from nature conservation to food drives, and has given performances hosted by different Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia over the years.
In addition to services, concerts, and recordings, the young choristers of Capella Regalis enjoy an annual summer choir camp in the last week of August and other musically and socially enriching outings and experiences.
Our philosophy: Access to excellence.
In the performing arts world, a major barrier to participation is cost. At Capella Regalis, we are passionate about making professional-level choral music available to everyone because we know music has the power to transform the life of a person, whether that person is a child finding their voice or a listener finding beauty in a soul-stirring performance. We are committed to maintaining a level of excellence in choral music because we believe it is essential to the preservation and development of our cultural heritage.
The two goals of musical excellence AND accessibility for everyone inform all Capella Regalis programming decisions. Capella Regalis regularly offers free or pay-what-you-can live and online performances for the public, and shares a diverse range of musical repertoire with schoolchildren through free, interactive performances in local elementary schools. Capella Regalis is currently developing a Community Music Literacy Course to teach the basics of music reading through a free online course where anyone may learn at their own pace.
Our free Probationers Program introduces children as young as six years old to the basics of music literacy and the joy of singing.
Our free Boys Choir and Girls Choir advance the musical and social growth of choristers through a disciplined approach to music studies. The result of this training for the children is access to some of the greatest music humankind has produced over the last 1,000 years, including new repertoire that responds to and expands that heritage.
Our free Young Men’s Program gives teenage boys with changing voices a pre-professional music training with an emphasis on leadership skills that help them navigate the challenging journey to adulthood. Many of our Young Men go on to become paid singers in our Men's Choir.
Capella Regalis supports the artistic practice of professional musicians living and working in Nova Scotia and across Canada. Our Men’s Choir employs a roster of professional adult singers to provide the alto, tenor, and bass voices for Capella Regalis performances, forming the backbone of our annual season of professional presentations, together with instrumentalists and other collaborating artists.
By modeling itself on the great Cathedral choirs, Capella Regalis offers a rare culture of mentoring through which the children can thrive and learn. And it does this within the context of developing musical literacy by singing some of the greatest works in our tradition, which is to say, it trains young people to be attentive, wakeful, disciplined and courageous.
Paul Halley, excerpt from an audience letter in December 2010