May 13, 2014
When he was in his eighties, the great conductor Sir Colin Davis was asked why he still conducted youth orchestras. He said that he felt the most important thing for the young mind was, at some point, to come into contact with greatness. Of course, in talking about greatness, he was referring not to himself (great conductor that he was) but to the music.
When we are involved in the pursuit of something superb, and through that pursuit we get a glimpse of the possibility of extreme beauty, we are encouraged. This has been my experience in working with kids and Capella Regalis is no exception: They are not discouraged by excellence, but rather profoundly encouraged by the possibility of personally encountering it.
So we continue to bring ourselves face to face with great music, simply because we can. I am consistently astounded by the sheer breadth and depth of truly great music in the world – and by just how much of it the boys are learning in their time with Capella Regalis. At times of discouragement, they will always be able to turn back to this early encounter with music. They will be able to walk into a room where music is being made, they will understand it, be able to read it, and gain nourishment from it.
I would venture to say further that whatever the Capella Regalis choristers do in future, be it a musical pursuit or not, they will carry what they’ve learned in Capella Regalis with them. They will bring their understanding of what is beautiful with them everywhere they go, not in some snobby sense, but in the real, deep intuition that develops without our even being aware of it, when we learn to do something – anything – well, and we apply ourselves fully to a pursuit of something great.
On a recent trip to New York City, I was speaking with the father of one of the choristers in the famous choir school of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (one of the CR boys’ favorite settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis was written by the founder of that school, T. Tertius Noble). In his excitement about his son’s education there, one thing that this parent said really stuck with me. He said, “Of course I love the musical education he’s getting over there, but really I don’t even care what he does in the future – whether it’s music, or anything else – I just know that it will be great. The level of education he’s getting in music sets him up for everything else.”
I hope that with Capella Regalis we can say the same thing: that we will play some part in that positive future for a whole host of young men. So I ask you to consider participating in this most rewarding process by making a gift to Capella Regalis. You can do so by returning a cheque with the postage-paid reply card enclosed with this letter. Cheques should be made payable to Musique Royale with Capella Regalis in the memo line. A charitable donation receipt will be issued. Thank you - your support makes our mission possible.
Nick Halley, Artistic Director