Director's Report for the King's Chapel AGM 2020

Jun 15, 2020
King's Chapel

The 2019-2020 season marked the tenth anniversary for Capella Regalis. Many things were supposed to take place this spring/summer that didn’t, due to the restrictions of COVID-19 (a Canada Westward tour in May, an anniversary party in June, Choir Camp, etc.). We did not cancel these things, but they are postponed.

What did happen in 2019? We kicked off with the usual festival of mirth that is Choir Camp. To our delight, we were back at dear trusty old St Anne’s Camp over on Gibson’s Lake. The boys began work on Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. Then rehearsals kicked off in earnest (and the Chapel) in September. We sang the usual spate of Evensongs and the occasional Eucharist at the Cathedral throughout the first term and held our annual service of Investiture in November. Sam Swain carried on doing great work as Head Boy. Our first full-length CD (Love Came Down) was released in late November, just in time for the Christmas season to which it appertains. In Lunenburg and Halifax we performed our most ambitious To Bethlehem with Kings programme to date, featuring A Ceremony of Carols (the boys accompanied by the fabulous harpist, Lori Gemmell) and an entirely new second half featuring a band of traditional Irish/Scottish/Cape Breton musicians and carols from those respectable traditions, all arranged smartly (in every sense of the word) by The Maestro Paul Halley. Between St Nicolas, A King’s Christmas, and To Bethlehem with Kings, as well as the holy deluge of services in the Chapel and All Saints Cathedral, 2019’s Christmas season was one to be remembered (and hopefully not repeated) for quite some time by the music staff.

The second term began so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear…oh, wait I’ve wandered off a bit. Sorry about that! Did I mention that the CBC’s Tom Allen came and narrated our Christmas shows? How could I not: he was a great shot in the arm for us, a huge source of encouragement as well as inspiration. But where was I…ah yes, the second term began much like any other, with rehearsals and services commencing in January. We had survived many a Feast Day relatively unscathed and were happily engaged in studying up for Holy Tuesday in the Chapel (featuring O Saviour of the World set to the music of John Goss, which the boys seem to sing more and more beautifully as the years go on) when all the world went into hiding and the darkness descended on dear Nova Scotia and we’ve all been missing one another ever since. This is good, this “saudade”, as the Brazilians call it. It has been made clear to me that Capella Regalis holds a particularly warm spot in the hearts of its choristers, their families and friends. In my case, not having rehearsals has certainly resulted in an increased appreciation of them. There is a void now, and I am being asked how we might fill it. Virtual Choir does little to scratch the itch: it is a process in which each choir member makes their own video, by themselves, in their own room: an experience that is ipso facto quite the opposite to the real thing. So Capella Regalis will wait to sing together until we can be in the same space. If for a while we must be split into smaller groups, so it shall be. In the meantime, aside from finding ways to encourage everyone to do their singing and playing and music-making and life-giving stuff as much as they and those around them can stand, we (Vanessa, Hannah, and I) are also investigating and preparing for the ways in which, once we’re back singing unto the Lord a new song, we can most effectively and accurately bring that song to the ears of congregations and audiences. John Adams, our nearest and dearest recording engineer has been and will continue to be instrumental to that endeavour.

On behalf of Capella Regalis, the boys, parents, men, staff, volunteers, and friends of the choir, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the King’s Chapel, for being our home, and such a welcoming one at that, these many years.

Submitted by Nick Halley - June 15, 2020