Director's Report for the King's Chapel AGM 2019

Mar 26, 2019

Capella Regalis Report for Chapel AGM  
Spring 2019 

Capella Regalis is ‘in residence’ in both the University of King’s College Chapel and the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, rehearsing twice weekly and singing special services in the King’s Chapel, and also singing Evensongs regularly in the Cathedral as part of the Sundays at Four series. The boys also sing approximately three Sunday morning Eucharists a year in the Cathedral. 

Capella Regalis activities since last year’s AGM include singing with the Chapel Choir in their performance of pieces from Monteverdi’s collection, Selva Morale e Spirituale, in the concert titled ‘Splendour of Venice’ in April 2018; Evensong services in May; and hosting Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal (a group of about 70 people) in Halifax for a few days of joint music-making in June. Capella Regalis – mainly CR parent Kate Therien – took on the task of finding billeting and other accommodation for the visiting choir (half were billeted, half stayed on the King’s Campus), connecting them with Musique Royale for a South Shore performance, and setting up a joint concert in the Cathedral that took place on June 29. This was the second boys choir that CR has hosted in Halifax, following on the visit of the Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys from Ottawa the year before. 

The 2018-19 season began with our annual, five-day Choir Camp for our Senior Choir choristers and Young Men, in the last week of August. Our usual haunt, St Anne’s Camp in West Dalhousie, was rendered unavailable by blue-green algae, so we packed up our knapsacks, called up the chit-chaps, and headed off to Sherbrooke Lake Camp. It was lovely. The waterfront, with massive beach and bonfire area, was remarkable and we made extensive use of it. But we all, old and young alike, agree that we’ll be back at St Anne’s this year. 

In early September, we began our regular rounds of weekly rehearsals (four each week) for the Senior Choir, Probationers, and Young Men, our twice-weekly basketball games in the King’s Gym (all are welcome to join – we are always looking for more players!), and regular Evensong services. Janelle Lucyk gave individual voice lessons to the boys.  In December, we made our annual trek to Windsor, Lunenburg, and Halifax for our To Bethlehem with King’s Christmas concerts, with particularly packed houses in Lunenburg and Halifax and funding from Arts Nova Scotia to hire the Maritime Brass Quintet for another collaboration. This month of March is proving particularly busy for the boys: In addition to three Evensongs, they sang beautifully with the King’s Chorus in March 24th’s IKOS concert and they’ll soon be joining the Chapel Choir, soloists, and orchestra for the St Matthew Passion. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – to get to sing the soprano ripieno bits of this work of staggering genius is a moment in the life of these youngsters that will return to their imaginations many times throughout the rest of their earthly pilgrimage. We are so very grateful for this opportunity – and so many others – provided by the Chapel community (including Choir), for the lads to catch glimpses of the Kingdom.  

At our annual Service of Investiture in October, three boys were invested into the Senior Choir. Since then, two more boys have been promoted from the Probationers’ Programme. We now have 16 boys in the Senior Choir and it is in better shape than ever. 

Much of this building is due to the training the boys receive before being brought up to the Senior Choir. Gabriel O’Brien (former boy chorister, now a part of the CR bass section, and Sunday Organist for the Chapel) is doing an amazing job with the toughest of our inmates: the vertically-challenged spring chickens in the Probationers’ Programme. This is a lovely development for the choir – one of its own having received the training it offers to such a degree that he can now train others. Gabriel also runs Senior Choir rehearsals when Nick is away (and is doing a superb job of it). Karis Tees has been a wonderful stand-in director of the probationers’ rehearsals many times over the last couple of years.  

Capella Regalis is planning to make a full-length Christmas recording in June, to be released late next fall. We are looking down the road to a particularly grand To Bethlehem With King’s 2019 show (featuring Britten’s Ceremony of Carols with CBC’s Tom Allen as a host), tours over the next few years to the west, south, and eventually, east, and various other projects including a musical production of The Prince and the Pauper.  

Hannah Fisher has joined Nick and Vanessa on the Capella Regalis staff this year, helping in all sorts of administrative areas. The team is growing! Our thanks are due to more supporters, parents, and volunteers than could possibly be mentioned here. But we would like to thank our Cathedral Chaplain Mother Ryding, our King’s Chaplain Father Ingalls and our CR Chaplain Father Thorne, keeping us in prayer from afar. Scott Beard continues to give immeasurably to the choir in his role as Librarian. Sarah Stevenson is to be thanked profusely for our website. Peter and Irene Wilkinson are indescribably wonderful, as the Chapel community well knows. Beth Boudreau helps to drive far-away choristers to rehearsals twice weekly. Paul Halley (a.k.a. Maestoso) continues to offer his volunteer services as organist, bulletin-designer, and mentor and supporter of all CR endeavours. We are blessed daily by a cloud of witnesses and are honoured to call this place home.  

Respectfully submitted, 

Nick Halley, Artistic Director 
Vanessa Halley, Manager 

March 26, 2019