What we do

And the way that we do it

Photo of choir singing in Jesmond United Reformed Church, NewcastleWhether you want to listen, to sing or to engage us, Cappella Novocastriensis offers a truly satisfying experience, a top class chamber choir based in Newcastle, in the heart of the northeast.

Cappella – the choir

Cappella Novocastriensis was founded in 1960 by Dr Frederick Hudson to specialise in early choral music for worship. However, that is only part of the story.
We sing in concert hall, church and cathedral and give one or more concerts per term, as well as an annual carol service for Newcastle Law Courts and occasional engagements for choral evensong, weddings and other services and events.

The choir has about 40 members and often sings unaccompanied, bringing clarity and intimacy to its performances.

Since 2012, Cappella has been directed by a new young conductor, Simon Lee, who is also a Tenor Lay Clerk at Durham Cathedral and music educator. Simon follows in the footsteps of Eric Cross, Cappella’s conductor for many years, and he is surely and swiftly making his mark with skill and vivacity. For a biography, see music director .

Recent concert venues have included the King’s Hall at Newcastle University and well known city churches (St Andrew’s, Newgate, St Ann’s, Battlefield and Jesmond URC).

Cappella also sings more widely in the North; in recent years this has included Choral Evensong at Durham Cathedral on two occasions, Compline at Norham Parish church, Northumberland and a joint concert with the Rushley Singers in Lancaster Cathedral.

Our winter concert each year is candlelit, with seasonal refreshments, whilst our summer concert is usually outside Newcastle, often in a beautiful rural setting.

In November 2014 we marked the centenary of the start of the first world war in a remembrance-tide concert in St Ann’s Church, Battlefield, Newcastle, including Parry’s Songs of Farewell, as well as a choral setting of Lux aeterna to Elgar’s Nimrod variation and works by Morales (with saxophone solo), JS Bach, Tallis, Tavener and others.

At Christmas 2014 we enjoyed candlelit festive celebrations in a joint concert with Durham Cathedral Young Singers in the Parish Church of St Brandon’s, Brancepeth, County Durham.

Concessions are available at most concerts, with under 18s often going free and we also offer discounts through the Friends of Cappella scheme – see Support the choir.

Cappella – the music

Since its foundation, the choir has gained a strong reputation for its presentation of early sacred music from the renaissance and baroque periods, a tradition that continues today.
Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers has been performed on two occasions in Durham Cathedral and winter concerts have featured early Christmas music from Italy, Germany, England and France.

However, our underlying purpose is to present music and texts that are reflective and inspirational to audiences of all backgrounds. Therefore, we sing both sacred and secular music, including a significant repertoire from later periods, including the present century and new commissions.

Our concerts frequently promote unjustly neglected music, and programmes have ranged through works from the Eton Choirbook to modern composers such as Tavener, Gorecki, Whitacre, Lauridsen and Joubert. A commissioned work, ‘An Hymne of the Nativity’ by composer John Joubert, who is also President of the choir, was premièred in December 2000.

Cappella also sometimes performs accompanied by chamber organ or period instruments, including in recent years Newcastle Baroque, the brass ensemble QuintEssential and the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble.

Shortly before each concert we publish full Programme notes online, allowing a detailed, unhurried preview of the event.

Information about past concerts including publicity posters, music repertoire, soloists and programme notes can be viewed online at Past concerts archive .

The choir has appeared on Tyne Tees Television’s ‘With Voices Raised’ and has also produced two CDs of Christmas music, which have been featured on BBC Radio 3′s ‘The Choir’, and on Classic FM’s ‘The Full Works.’
For CD details and purchase, see CD sales .

Cappella – joining, supporting and engaging the choir

As well as coming to our concerts, you can support us in other ways:
Join the choir — As a singer
Support the choir — As a Friend or Sponsor, or give practical help
Engage the choir — For a wedding, funeral or other special or charity event

To discuss these or make other enquiries, please Contact us.

Cappella – the chamber organ

In 1999, with the aid of the Lottery Fund, the City of Newcastle, the Sir James Knott Trust and individual subscriptions, Cappella commissioned a chamber organ from Neil Richerby of Lammermuir Pipeorgans. This organ, his ‘Opus 35’, has become an invaluable asset to the choir’s performances. To learn more, see <a title="link to Capella chamber organ" href="https://capnov.wordpress.com/chamber-organ"Chamber organ .