Our Team

Nick Halley conducting during a performance

Nick Halley

Artistic Director



Nick Halley is a drummer/percussionist, keyboardist, composer, and conductor.  He is the founder and Artistic Director of Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir, and the founder and Director of The King’s Chorus, a choral society for members of the King’s and Dalhousie University communities in Halifax.  Nick is also the Assistant Director of the University of King’s College Chapel Choir, and Assistant Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax.  In 2012, Nick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada and Nova Scotia through the arts.  For the 2013-14 season, Nick was the Host of CBC’s national radio program, Choral Concert.

As a drummer and world percussionist, Nick performs and records internationally with a wide range of musicians including American musical icon James Taylor, the late Oscar Castro-Neves, Dinuk Wijeratne, Chris Norman, Old Man Luedecke, Suzie LeBlanc, Paul Halley, and Viradouro Escola de Samba. He has taught at Boxwood Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Interlochen Summer Festival, and in other workshop venues around the world.

Vanessa Halley in chair with young son and deskwork on her lap

Vanessa Halley

Managing Director


Vanessa joined her brother Nick and father Paul as part of the Capella Regalis team in 2012.  She came to Capella Regalis with several years of experience in music administration at both the non-profit and for-profit levels, as well as over thirty years of singing experience in professional and semi-professional chamber and church choirs, in four different countries.  Vanessa holds an undergraduate degree with High Distinction from Trinity College at the University of Toronto (2002), and graduated Juris Doctor Magna cum Laude from the Western New England University School of Law (2006).  She practiced law in Massachusetts, USA, for five years, including as a staff attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services (public defender in the criminal courts) and as a law firm associate in the areas of intellectual property and corporate law, before making the move with her husband and young family to Nova Scotia.  In addition to her work for Capella Regalis, Vanessa is the Choir Manager at the University of King's College in Halifax.

Hannah Griffin head shot

Hannah Griffin

Assistant Managing Director


Upon graduation from the University of King’s College (BA Hon ’18), Hannah joined the Capella Regalis staff team as Vanessa’s administrative assistant, having volunteered with CR for many years prior as a House Manager for concerts, a counselor at the annual Choir Camp and as a driver in the Transportation Program. Hannah is also the Administrator of The King’s Chorus, a large choral society at King’s College directed by Nick Halley, as well as the coordinator of the daily lunch program at Saint George’s YouthNet, a non-profit organization for children in Halifax’s North End. Hannah and her husband Andrew were very pleased to be the first couple ever to have the full forces of Capella Regalis sing at their wedding in July 2019 at All Saints Cathedral!

Gabriel O'Brien head shot

Gabriel O’Brien

Assistant Artistic Director & Probationers Program Director


Gabriel was one of the original choristers to join Capella Regalis when Nick started it in the spring of 2010. Gabriel was 8 years old at the time. He went on to become the choir’s third Head Boy, in 2012. When his voice changed, he joined the Young Men to sing bass, stepped up his piano studies, and then started playing organ. From 2016 to 2019, he served as the Sunday morning organist in the Chapel at the University of King’s College. Gabriel became the Capella Regalis Probationers Program Director in April 2018, and then Assistant Artistic Director. Gabriel is pursing a music degree at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. He is currently the Organ Scholar at the University of King’s College and at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, studying under Paul Halley.  In addition to Capella Regalis, he sings with other choral groups including the University of King’s College Chapel Choir, Aureas Voces Early Music Ensemble, the Galileo Baroque Choir, and The King’s Chorus.

Paul Halley head shot, smiling

Paul Halley

Organist & Musical Mentor (volunteer)

Paul Halley is a Grammy Award-winning composer, choral conductor, and organist.  He is Director of Music of The University of King’s College Chapel Choir and of The Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  A recording of recent choral works by Paul Halley, entitled In The Wide Awe And Wisdom, was released in the fall of 2017 on the Pelagosmusic label. 

Born in Romford, England, Paul Halley was raised in Ottawa, Canada where he received his early musical training as a chorister and assistant organist with The Men and Boys Choir of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.  At age sixteen, he was made an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto.  Awarded the organ scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, Halley received his M.A. with prizes in composition and performance, and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, winning first prize in the College examinations.  Following four years post-graduate work as a church musician and teacher in Montreal, QC, Jamaica, W.I., and Victoria, BC, Halley was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where he served for twelve years from 1977-1989. During his tenure at the Cathedral, Halley collaborated with The Paul Winter Consort, contributing as principal writer and keyboardist on multiple Grammy Award-winning albums released in the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

Following his departure from the Cathedral in 1989, Halley settled in rural Connecticut and founded the children’s choir, Chorus Angelicus, and the adult ensemble, Gaudeamus.  In 1999, Halley became Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington, CT where he inaugurated a Choral and Organ Scholars program in conjunction with Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music.  In 2007, Halley relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia to become Director of Music at both the University of King’s College, and St. George’s Anglican Church (to 2011), as well as University Musician at Atlantic School of Theology (to 2015).  In 2015 Halley became Director of Music at The Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, a position which he holds in conjunction with his work at King’s.

Halley’s choral and instrumental compositions are distributed internationally by Pelagos Incorporated (www.pelagosmusic.com), the recording, music publishing, and arts management company which he established with his wife, Meg Race in 1998.  Halley’s compositions have been commissioned or licensed by such organizations as Sony Entertainment, John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, CBC, The Toronto Symphony, and Canadian Brass.

Barbara Butler sitting at the piano

Barbara Butler

Board Chair (volunteer)

Barbara Butler is the Director of Music at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg. A chamber musician, choral conductor, organist and music educator, she is a well-known champion for the arts in Nova Scotia.

Born in Newfoundland, Barbara earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from Acadia University with majors in piano and organ. She is also a graduate of Banff School of Fine Arts in Arts Management, The Institute of Choral Arts (Nova Scotia Choral Federation), England’s Royal School of Church Music and the International Organ Academy (Holland). In 1990 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. In 2002, Barbara was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal by Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman for her service to music and the arts in Nova Scotia. She is a 2006 recipient of a Women of Excellence Award in the field of culture from the Canadian Progress Club (Halifax – Cornwallis). In October, 2011 she was honoured to receive an Honourary Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of King’s College. In March, 2012 Barbara was awarded the Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal by Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis.

Barbara Butler served for 21 years (1999-2020) as the Artistic and Administrative Director of Musique Royale, a Festival of Early Music in Nova Scotia which has its base at St. John’s Church in Lunenburg. She is the Founder and past Artistic Director of the St. Cecilia Concert Series and former Director of the Lieutenant Governor’s Concert Series.

Barbara has strong affiliations with many arts organizations in the province and has sat on various boards including the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Debut Atlantic, Opera Nova Scotia, the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Nova Scotia Talent Trust.

Other volunteers

Many more individuals volunteer their time and expertise, including Scott Beard (music librarian), Beth Boudreau (transportation program primary driver), our non-staff Choir Camp counselors (Anne Bell, Shaylan Burkhart, Jordan Draper, Henk Fisher, Andrew Griffin, Elizabeth Halley, Paul Rogers, Aaron Shenkman), Janelle Lucyk (vocal coach), Gina Patterson (chair) and other members of the Parent Fundraising Committee (Bill & Stella Lord, Andrea Jeffrey, Laura MacIntyre), Helen Ryding (chaplain), Sarah Stevenson (website administrator for many years), Kate Therien (social media assistant), Gary Thorne (chaplain), Irene Wilkinson (publicity assistant), Peter Wilkinson (robes steward), and many others who have played essential roles in the choir's activities and operations over the years.  

Our Boards

Operating Board

Barbara Butler, Chair

Scott Beard

Andrew Griffin

Nick Halley

Paul Halley

Advisory Board

George Cooper, QC

Dennis Deters

Noel Edison

Brian Flemming, QC

Paul Halley

The Rev’d Robert Hulse

Suzie LeBlanc

The Rev’d Gary Thorne