Background and Mission of RCCO Halifax

The Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) Halifax Centre is a group of individuals from around the province of Nova Scotia who promote and support organ music. It is one Centre of The Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) that represents Canada’s organ community. It is comprised of organists, composers, organ-builders, educators, choral directors, and others who share an interest in the organ and its music. Its members share the common goal of advancing appreciation for the organ. Our Halifax Centre members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and walks of life. Anyone of any age or background, who loves the organ is welcome and encouraged to join the organization.

Background of the RCCO Halifax Centre
The first in Atlantic Canada, the Halifax Centre was organized in November 1951. With Maitland Farmer as chairman, the executive comprised musicians of churches representing six denominations, indicating the breadth of congregational involvement and the deep texture of leadership talent which over the ensuing half-century would contribute to the growth of the city’s artistic sophistication while maintaining a constantly renewing membership of 30 to 40. Dating from the founding year of the Centre, the Annual Carol Service ("Carolfest") has been a feature of the pre-Christmas civic scene. Added to its workshops, guest recitalists and organ explorations, there have been innovative series such as the October Phantom of the Pipes and the informal Evenings with a Colleague. The Halifax Centre has an emphasis on scholarship programs to assist aspiring young organists, and projects to guide pianists to the organ. Collaborative relations have been in practice between the Centre’s musicians and the Province’s university music departments and schools of theology. The Centre has hosted three national gatherings, 1973, 2006, and 2019, plus two regional weekends (Church Music 2000, 2004).

W. H. Kemp
See Walter H. Kemp, ”Atlantic Region”, In Service High, and Anthems Clear: 100 Years of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Toronto, RCCO, 2009, 39–41).

All are welcome to become members of the RCCO Halifax Centre. As a member you can:
  • connect with other organists
  • enhance your skills as an organist
  • celebrate the organ in historic and evolving contexts
  • nurture new organists of all ages
  • share knowledge and expertise
  • enjoy the camaraderie at Centre events and RCCO National Conventions
  • receive encouragement from colleagues
  • access career opportunities and job listings
  • earn professional credentials through RCCO certification

When and how often does the Halifax Centre meet?
Halifax Centre Executive meetings take place every four to six weeks from September to June, under the leadership of Centre President Fr. Patrick Salah. The Annual General Meeting is held for all members, usually on the first Monday of June each year and is traditionally accompanied by a barbecue and social time for which members are encouraged to bring spouses, partners, friends, etc. Other special events/concerts are held throughout the year.

Some Recent Events
Sunday Lunch @ The Quinn's Arms Pub (October 2023)
Mary, Music & Mystery: Nocturne Art @ Night (October 2023)
Lenten Concert: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (March 2023)
Festival of Carols (featuring The Aeolian Singers) (December 2022) (watch online)
An Evening with Peter Togni: Exploring Five Liturgical Impressions by Victor Togni (November 2022) (watch online)
Sound the Note of Gladness: Online Advent/Christmas Series (December 2020) (watch online)
and more!

Our Scholarships
The RCCO Halifax Centre is pleased to be able to offer a scholarship for organ study:

The David MacDonald Scholarship

Available to anyone in the Halifax area interested in advancing their organ-playing skills.