Welcome to the Cape Breton Chorale website!

50 years

The Cape Breton Chorale has been thrilling audiences since its formation fifty years ago. The Chorale has given more than 200 performances throughout the Maritimes, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The Chorale has shared the stage with a variety of musical stars, ranging from Celine Dion to Rita MacNeil and has performed before numerous visiting dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II.


Join our Chorale!

Join the Cape Breton Chorale!

Our 46th season of singing will begin Thursday September 6, 2018 and continue until late April of 2019 under the direction of our director Ryan Billington.

We welcome auditions from singers who find that they fit most of the following criteria:

  • Singers with either little, some, or advanced training are welcome to audition.
  • Experience singing in choral settings or ensemble settings in productions.
  • Understanding of some basics of vocal technique or demonstrated vocal confidence in your audition performance.
  • Openness to learning different styles of music in an ensemble setting.

Assets to the Chorale include:

  • Commitment to rehearsals and performances.
  • Willingness to study and learn concert music outside of rehearsal – independently or with rehearsal aids.
  • Openness to learning new skills and expanding upon existing skills (vocal, aural, rhythm, reading, movement).

For the audition:

  • Please prepare one or two selections showcasing your best performance.
  • Be ready to experiment with your voice for a few minutes – this may involve some simple patterns across your range.
  • We will work with you in reading a passage of music, and we will also test your aural skills.
  • An accompanist can be provided. You may bring your own accompanist if you wish.

Auditions will be held throughout the summer months. Please contact us to arrange an audition!

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone – 902 968 9041 or 902 567 6437

Cape Breton Chorale welcomes new conductor!

Ryan Billington is a versatile vocalist, arranger and conductor. Since 2004, he has taught private voice, choral/vocal jazz ensembles and various classes in the music department at St. Francis Xavier University including, Songwriters and their Songs, Songwriting Workshop and Women and Popular Music. His main areas of interest are jazz/pop vocal performance, vocal pedagogy, choral ensemble direction and arranging for small vocal ensemble settings. In 2011, his student vocal ensemble EXTRA from StFX was featured nationally on CBC Radio 2 Choral Concert with host Peter Togni.

Ryan completed a Master of Music in Voice performance and Jazz at Western Michigan University in 2002. Prior to his appointment at StFX, Ryan performed as a professional choral singer in Toronto with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and other professional choral ensembles.

In recent years, Ryan has performed across Atlantic Canada in jazz, oratorio, musical theatre and choral settings. He has held the position of assistant director for the Halifax Camerata Singers and has also performed and recorded with the Canadian Chamber Choir.

Recent original compositions of Ryan’s include “Atacama, Gateway to the Stars” written for Toronto mezzo-soprano Ali Garrison and piano (2015), and original music for plays by American playwright Sarah Ruhl – Eurydice (Theatre Antigonish 2017), and Stage Kiss (Festival Antigonish 2017).

Ryan directs the Antigonish Choral Ensemble, and as of September 2017 has begun his first season as Artistic Director and Conductor for the Cape Breton Chorale.

Ryan will conduct the chorale concert on  November 11 at Christ the King Anglican Church in Sydney, NS. 

In Memorial

Sister Rita ClareOn Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Sr. Rita Clare passed away unexpectedly at home in Parkland Cape Breton. Just two days previously during our concert “Salute to Canada”, the Cape Breton Chorale honoured Sr. Rita for her years of dedicated leadership and inspiration.

The following is an excerpt from the remarks made by Ruth Ann Morrison that evening on behalf of members of the Executive and choir:

“For Forty two years we had the privilege of having Sr. Rita Clare as our Director. Her dedication, and love of choral music allowed us to grow as a choir, and have many rich and varied experiences: concerts at home and abroad, recording CD’s, TV and Radio appearances, working with Voices for Hospice and fundraising for the Palliative Care Music Therapy Program, establishing the Sr. Rita Clare Scholarship , and so much more. She has received numerous awards and honours throughout the years but tonight I would like to highlight another side to our years together.

Quite simply, she became a friend, a mentor and confidante, offering strength and encouragement to so many of us over the years.

In her quiet way, Sr Rita became a mainstay in our lives. There was always practice Thursday nights and ...Sister Rita. There would sometimes be a phone call, an unexpected card in the mail, or a few words at practice to congratulate, celebrate, or commiserate as we marked the milestones in our individual lives.

Although we miss seeing you on Thursday nights, it is reassuring to know you are close by, still a friend, and, as ever, encouraging.“

We had no inkling that it would be our last opportunity to express our admiration and gratitude to Sr. Rita for her unparalleled contribution to the musical life of our community. She will be missed.

“Where words leave off, music begins”
- H. Heine.