Community & Outreach

Singing for All

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to sing. There is growing scientific evidence that singing is good for you in the following ways:-

  • Singing promotes physical health with a beneficial influence on posture, breathing and the cardio-vascular system.
  • Singing promotes mental well-being and increases feelings of self-worth.
  • Singing helps to keep the brain sharp and is a wonderful learning experience for the young, improving concentration and confidence.Singing encourages team-work.
  • Singing is a great social activity.
  • Singing is fun!

… and much more.

Cappella Nova offers all kinds of ways for everyone and anyone to get involved in singing, with events that suit a everyone from the complete beginner to the experienced amateur. Some of these activities are listed below.


Cappella Nova’s Community & Outreach programme is developed by a team of three key personnel.

Edward Caswell (bass)
Outreach Director

Edward was appointed as Cappella Nova’s Outreach Director in 2006, and he has led regular workshops across Scotland, most notably a series on the liturgical music of James MacMillan in 2007. He has also directed the Scottish Plainsong Choir in concerts where they have performed alongside Cappella Nova and, in June 2009, in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde Chamber Choir. Since 2008 Edward has directed hugely popular courses in association with the University’s Senior Studies Institute entitled ‘Health and Wellbeing through Song’.

He works as chorus master and conductor with Netherlands Radio Choir, NDR Chor (Hamburg), MDR Rundfunkchor (Leipzig), the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Chor, SWR Vokalensemble (Stuttgart) and the BBC Singers.  He was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Chorus from 2008-2010.

Based in Scotland, Edward is a Council member of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD).  He works as a lecturer in the Department of Vocal Studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and teaches singing at the University of Glasgow. As Outreach Director of Cappella Nova he conducts the Scottish Plainsong Choir and leads workshops across Scotland.  He directs the course ‘Health and Wellbeing through Song’ at the University of Strathclyde.

Alan-TavenerAlan Tavener
Conductor of Cappella Nova

Even before he co-founded the professional choir Cappella Nova in 1982, Alan had begun his work in the amateur sector with the founding and direction of several student choirs. As Organist and Choirmaster of Jordanhill Parish Church in Glasgow, in 1996 he formed the Jordanhill Community Choir. Today, the membership of the amateur choirs with which he regularly works ranges from a predominantly student choir to a choir consisting largely of retired people, with all kinds of combinations in between, and including Strathclyde University Chamber Choir (the group for which James MacMillan is continuing to compose the Strathclyde Motets). These choirs represent a wide range of abilities and standards, including many novices to choral singing. In addition to his regular choral conducting commitments, he also undertakes a considerable amount of ad hoc work with other established choirs – ranging from children’s choirs to chamber choirs – and with ad hoc choirs, ranging between community choirs and one-off choral workshops.

Workshop and Masterclass direction has included the Moscow Conservatoire (for student choral directors), the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay and Nottingham, and many other organisations and venues ranging from the Early Music Forum of Scotland to the Sage Gateshead. As Director of Music at the University of Strathclyde, Alan’s research interests are centred on the holistic benefits of group-singing activities.

Rebecca-Tavener-Portrait-CopyRebecca Tavener (soprano)
Creative Director of Cappella Nova

Rebecca designs the artistic programmes for Cappella Nova and also directs her own offshoot ensemble, the critically acclaimed medieval group Canty. She has been involved in the Cappella Nova workshop programme for a decade during which she co-founded the Scottish Plainsong Choir with Alan Tavener. She has directed workshops in arts centres such as The Sage (Gateshead/Newcastle) and The Horsecross (Perth). She has directed events for both for undergraduate and postgraduate students, in University such as NUI Maynooth (Rep. of Ireland), Strathclyde and Aberdeen. She has collaborated with dancers and special-needs specialists in community programmes. With Canty she has led many workshops and master-classes for festivals, at home and abroad. A believer in bel canto singing techniques, Rebecca is particularly involved in leading sessions on the physical aspects of singing.