PASSION: Music of A Thousand Years

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PASSION: Music of A Thousand Years

‘PASSION: Music of A Thousand Years’ is a concert of stunning choral music by Paul Halley and members of The Cathedral Choir.

By TO THE POINT presents The Cathedral Choir & Halley

When and where

Date and time

Sun, Apr 2, 2023 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM ADT


Cathedral Church of All Saints 1330 Cathedral Lane Halifax, NS B3H 2Z1 Canada

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About this event

  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket




directed by PAUL HALLEY

Sunday, April 2, 2023, 4:00 PM

a concert presentation of TO THE POINT PRODUCTIONS


The Cathedral Church of All Saints

1330 Cathedral Lane, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2Z1

‘PASSION: Music of A Thousand Years’ is a concert presentation with a millennium's span of rich and beautiful choral music. The concert takes place in Halifax on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 4:00 pm at The Cathedral Church of All Saints. Directed by Paul Halley, twenty-one members of The Choir of All Saints Cathedral in Halifax will showcase choral works in a fluid choreography that will surround the audience with powerful and ethereal music, sung from various locations within the grand, landmark historic building.

The music of this concert was written at points throughout the last one thousand years in commemoration of the forty days leading up to Easter, a period in the Church year known as Lent. The formalizing of the season of Lent dates to the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. Since that time countless poets and composers have taken inspiration from the biblical narratives of the Passion, the Psalms, and Old Testament prophets, to create works of astonishing depth and beauty. The dramatic power of these texts has drawn out the most exquisite music from some of the greatest musicians over the last 1,000 years. From 11th century Gregorian chant, through Tallis and Byrd, and Shaker songs and African American Spirituals, to Poulenc and contemporary composers, the works on this program represent an enormous range of expression.

The centerpiece of the performance is Gregorio Allegri’s gorgeous setting of Psalm 51, “Miserere mei, Deus”, one of the most famous pieces of choral music every written. Composed in 1638 for the choir of the Sistine Chapel, the work is set for two antiphonal choirs who will be placed at a distance in this performance; the main choir will sing from the front of the Cathedral, with a solo quartet singing from the back. In each verse that the quartet sings, the first soprano part soars to a high ‘C’, which is possibly the main reason for the composition becoming so famous. The sharing of the twenty verses of the psalm among two choirs and a solo cantor make for a gorgeous effect when those forces are spread throughout the Cathedral, coming together only on the final phrase.

The intricately polyphonic Renaissance work, “The Lamentations of Jeremiah” by Thomas Tallis, of which the choir will sing Part I, is a moving lament from a people displaced from their homeland of Jerusalem and is a piece apropos to the experience of refugees from war-torn countries around the world today.

“Civitas Sancti Tui” by the Tudor composer William Byrd, and Alonso Lobo’s “Versa Est In Luctum”, composed in 1538 for the memorial of Philip II of Spain, as well as a lovely arrangement of the Shaker song of humility, “Lay Me Low”, and the “Pater Noster” by Jacob Handl (1550-1591) are included in the program. In this latter composition, for two four-part choirs – one of sopranos and altos, the other of tenors and basses – Handl creates a call-and-response effect between the two choirs until they come together for salient moments in the text. The final ‘Amen’ is particularly glorious with cascading phrases sung throughout the eight parts culminating in a grand cadence. The performance culminates in Paul Halley’s lyrical “Jesu, The Very Thought of Thee”.

‘PASSION: Music of A Thousand Years’ - a presentation of TO THE POINT PRODUCTIONS, takes place on Sunday, April 2nd at 4:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax. A single show is scheduled so audiences are advised to get tickets early.

This concert is a presentation of TO THE POINT PRODUCTIONS, Margaret Race, proprietor, on behalf of Paul Halley and members of The Cathedral Choir. Margaret Race is the spouse of Paul Halley with whom she has collaborated on music productions for more than 30 years. Contact the producer through the Contact section of this Eventbrite concert listing organizer profile. Please do not contact the Cathedral about this event.

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About the organizer

TO THE POINT PRODUCTIONS, Mahone Bay, NS, Margaret Race, proprietor, presents Paul Halley & The Cathedral Choir in concert.


About Paul Halley

Paul Halley is a Grammy Award-winning composer, choral conductor, and organist, living and working in Nova Scotia, Canada. Paul currently serves as Director of Music and Organist at The Anglican Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax. Notably, Paul was Director of Music at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine, NYC, and was a long-time member of The Paul Winter Consort. From 2007 to 2021, Paul directed The Chapel Choir of The University of King's College in Halifax, earning acclaim for the ensemble through concert performances and recordings with audiences locally and worldwide. Paul's choral and keyboard recordings, and his extensive catalogue of sheet music, are available from Pelagosmusic. In January 2023, Paul was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for his Service to Arts and Culture in Nova Scotia by the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia.


About the Choir of All Saints Cathedral, Halifax

The 16-voice Cathedral Choir comprises an ensemble of professional singers, choral scholars, and volunteers from the city of Halifax and environs. Its members include some of Nova Scotia’s finest young singers, most of whom were trained by Paul Halley since his arrival in Halifax in 2007, and who are now accomplished soloists in their own right. The Cathedral Choir sings at the 11:00 am Choral Eucharist and 4:00 pm Evensong on Sundays, from September through early June, as well as services on Feast Days, Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter.

The Choir’s wide-ranging performing activities are rooted in centuries-old musical traditions and its repertoire ranges from plainsong and Renaissance polyphony to contemporary masterpieces. The Choir is also comfortable singing services in a myriad of genres such as “Missa Gaia/Earth Mass” on the first Sunday in October for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and “Jazz Easter”, an exuberant service of choral and instrumental music that celebrates the most important feast day in the church year. In addition to its liturgical role, the Cathedral Choir has played a central role in the many provincial and national occasions which take place in the Cathedral. In recent years, these included the Service to Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of HM The Queen’s Coronation, the Commemorative Service in Celebration of the Life of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and in the previous year, the Commemorative Service for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

In 2022, the Cathedral Choir participated in SchützFest350 celebrating the music of the 17th century composer, Heinrich Schütz, with a performance of “Musikalische Exequien”. And, in December, the Choir presented the first of the annual concerts entitled "A Rose In Winter - a Celebration of Christmas in Song and Story", with sold-out performances in Lunenburg and Halifax, directed by Paul Halley with Guest Artist, Old Man Luedecke.


To The Point Productions, is the Nova Scotia-registered sole proprietorship of Margaret Race, which presents concerts on behalf of Paul Halley and The Cathedral Choir. Margaret Race is the spouse of Paul Halley, and she is a former Cathedral Choir member. Race and Halley have collaborated on music productions for more than 30 years.

$25 – $100