Director's Report for the King's Chapel AGM 2013

Mar 18, 2013

Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir 
Report for the King’s Chapel AGM 2013 

Nick Halley, Artistic Director 
Nick Veltmeyer, Assistant Director 
Vanessa Halley, Manager 

Capella Regalis in the Chapel Community 
This 2012-13 season marks the third year that Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir has been a part of the King’s College Chapel community.  The choir continues to be deeply enriched by its connection with the King’s College Chapel and its Chaplain, Father Thorne.  The choir sings weekly Evensongs in the Chapel, every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.   We are trying out a new schedule this year: boys and men the first Tuesday of each month, boys only the second and fourth Tuesdays, and men only the third Tuesday.  Not only do weekly Evensongs provide the boys (and men) with a religious education in a thriving university Chapel community with excellent liturgy; there are musical benefits as well.  Learning new music on a weekly basis and having to present it on relatively little rehearsal time speeds up the development of skills such as sight-reading, ensemble music-making, discipline and focus.  And the weekly services allow the boys and men access to some of the greatest music in the western world – far more than would be available merely through concert repertoire.  

We know that a liturgical men and boys choir is counter-cultural in our current time and place, and we hear from boys and parents that weekly Evensongs present significant challenges in a world of tight schedules, multiple extra-curricular activities, and differing family, societal and religious values.  But we also know that all of this adds up to a rare education and experience for the boys not only in music, but in independent thought, leadership, and commitment.  We feel it is the connection to the Chapel community and the weekly Evensongs that define Capella Regalis and set us apart from the vast majority of boys choirs now found in North America.  We extend our deep thanks to the King’s Chapel community for welcoming the choir into your worship, your space, and community life.  

Our hope is that we, in turn, contribute significantly to the Chapel and College communities.  May we share with you an excerpt from a lovely message written by one of our stalwart supporters, Dr. Wayne Hankey, this past December: 

“Last night Capella Regalis sang their last Evensong of the Michaelmas Term at King’s. I want to share with you my enthusiasm for the choir as they reach a new high stage of quality and range in their singing. ‘Adam lay ybounden’ as the Introit, Psalm 23 to Turle, Canticles to Stanford, a devilishly (or angelicly) hard anthem by Byrd, and ‘Lo He Comes’ with a descant which left me with goose pimples from the top of my head all the way down!  I know of nothing more hopeful in the College and in the North American Church than the creation and ever greater success of this choir.” 

Administration Update 
Capella Regalis is no longer administered through the University of King’s College.  Capella Regalis is a registered society under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia, and in August 2012, Capella Regalis became an educational outreach programme of Musique Royale, a charitable organization with a mission to support and present music programming and education across Nova Scotia.  Also in August, I became the new Manager.  Father Thorne stepped down as Chair of our Operating Board, and Barbara Butler (Founder & Director of Musique Royale) became our new Board Chair. 

Capella Regalis is blessed with a team of wonderful, key volunteers, without whom we would not be able to do what we do.  Paul Halley spends many hours accompanying the choir, assisting with rehearsals, and providing experienced support and encouragement in a multitude of unpaid ways.  Sarah Stevenson takes care of our Internet and information services, including design and maintenance of our website and social media, putting in countless hours on a purely volunteer basis.  Scott Beard is our Librarian, overseeing our music library, assisting to put together music lists, and maintaining music folders for all men and boys on a weekly basis, also completely for free.  Liz Kobes designs concert posters and coordinates our transportation programme, purely out of love (for the choir and for Nick) and not for payment.  Henk Fisher drives the boys to and from rehearsals on a weekly basis, without compensation of any kind.  Other volunteers include Jesse Blackwood (so many free photos to date), Jolanta Lorenc (vocal coaching), Elizabeth Orenstein (transportation), parents, our Board of Directors, and of course Father Thorne, who continues to welcome and shepherd the choir and its individual members in these formative years.  

There are many volunteer opportunities with Capella Regalis for students at King’s.  Capella Regalis is truly an outreach programme – we provide a completely free choral programme for boys from all walks of life.  Capella Regalis does not charge dues; all funds are by donation only.  We provide free transportation to and from rehearsals to those boys who otherwise would not be able to participate.  Please contact Vanessa or Nick if you are interested in volunteering in any way. 

Programme Update 
We started the 2012-13 season with our first annual Capella Regalis summer choir camp for the boys at the wonderfully rustic St Anne’s Camp in West Dalhousie.  Photos and a lively day-by-day account of the fun at summer choir camp can be found on our website at   

In addition to our weekly services, we have had a busy concert season.  In November, the men and boys were invited by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia to perform a concert at St John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  The choir sang a chock-full programme to a full house on November 10 and the boys received their first autograph requests at the reception following the concert.  Two weeks later, the senior boys sang with the King’s Chorus in a sold-out performance of Carmina Burana with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra at St Mary’s University.  In December, the men and boys did a mini-tour of their Christmas concert programme, To Bethlehem With Kings.  Over the course of three nights, the choir performed as many concerts at Christ Church, Windsor, St John’s Church, Lunenburg, and First Baptist Church, Halifax, to full houses.  They were joined by the Maritime Brass Quintet for the final, Halifax performance.  It was a joyful and triumphant celebration of the Christmas season.   

Also in December, Nick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada and Nova Scotia through the arts, and specifically for his work with Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir.  Nick received the award at a formal investiture ceremony at Government House, Halifax, in February.  

Coming Up 
The men and boys have only a few weeks of regular services left this term and are honored to be involved in Holy Week.  Special services to note are the men and boys Eucharist service on Tuesday of Holy Week (March 26 at 5:00 p.m.), the men and boys Evensong service on Tuesday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m., and the Evensong service on Tuesday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m., with Capella Regalis joined by the King’s College Chapel Choir for a joint, final choral service of the term. 

In May, the men and boys will be hitting the road for their second-ever Nova Scotia Tour.  This year’s tour will take us to St Stephens Church, Chester (May 17), Trinity United Church, Shelburne (May 18), St Ambrose Cathedral, Yarmouth (May 19), St John’s Church, Port Williams (May 21), and an end-of-season concert at St Andrew’s Church, Halifax the following weekend (May 26).  Stay tuned at


Submitted by Vanessa Halley, Manager - March 18, 2013