The Diocese of Evansville completes a successful ten-day pilgrimage and performance tour to Bella Italia

The Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, embarked with Incantato Tours on an exciting ten-day pilgrimage and performance tour to beautiful Italy on September 21, 2010. The Diocesan Choir, under the direction of Mr. Jeremy Korba, was accompanied on this special journey by Evansville’s Bishop Gettelfinger.

The remarkable journey commenced in the small town of Mestre with a Mass performance at the Church Santa Maria Goretti and a special welcome dinner. The group enjoyed a full day of sightseeing along the canals of Venice, including visits to the Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, Doge’s Palace, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral where the choir sang High Mass.

The tour ultimately waved arrivederci to Venice as they continued to Padua where they celebrated High Mass with the Franciscan Friars of the Basilica of Saint Anthony before moving on to Tuscany for a traditional lunch and Italian wine tasting. A relaxing tour of Tuscany included an excursion to Siena and the celebration of High Mass at Florence’s Santa Croce Church.

The tour continued to magnificent Assisi en route to Rome. The pilgrimage to Assisi included tours of multiple local basilicas and a very special high mass performance that Jeremy Korba described as “an amazingly prayerful, powerful, and musical experience,” at the famous Saint Francis Basilica. The group eventually arrived in their final destination: the Eternal City.In Rome, the travelers enjoyed guided tours of the Baroque squares including the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, visits to the Coliseum and Roman Forum, and a very special private tour of the Vatican Gardens and Museum. The choir even presented a recital in the Sistine Chapel. The choir also sang High Mass at the famed Saint Peter’s Basilica. Bishop Gettelfinger arranged privileged seats for the Evansville group at Wednesday’s Papal Audience, only mere feet from the Pope himself, where the choir was honored as the only ensemble to perform that morning. The tour concluded with a completely packed feature farewell performance at Rome’s Sant’Agnese in Agone and celebratory dinner at Restaurant Nautilus.

The tour returned home to Evansville, Indiana on Thursday, September 30, 2010 with memories to last a lifetime.


Incantato concert venue: Burg Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle lies approximately thirty miles south of Stuttgart, Germany, and is considered to be the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family who emerged in the Middle Ages to ultimately rule as German Emperors. Located on Mount Hohenzollern, 855 meters above Hechingen and nearby Bisingen, the castle overlooks the Swabian Alb. It was originally constructed in the early 11th century.
The castle was tragically destroyed following a ten-month siege in 1423 by the imperial cities of Swabia. A second, larger and sturdier castle was completed in 1461 only to fall into disrepair following extended periods of war and an earthquake in the Swabian Alb.
According to historic tale, on a beautiful summer evening in July 1819, the 23-year-old Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia paid a visit to his ancestral seat on Mount Hohenzollern. So impressed by the romantic castle ruins, he quickly ordered its reconstruction.
After being crowned King Frederick William IV, his royal highness wrote in 1844, “The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, especially the sunset we watched from the bastions… Now a dream of my youth has become one wish, to see the Hohenzollern hill made habitable once more.
Along with his Swabian relatives, the princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Hechingen, and the architect Friedrich August Steuler, the king’s dreams finally came to fruition in 1850 when construction began on the new castle. Resulting was one of the most imposing neo gothic castles in Germany, following the romantic architectural ideal of the era. The main castle complex, with its many towers and turrets, is surrounded by ramps and fortifications, acclaimed by 19th century contemporaries as masterpieces of military architecture.
Rising majestically above the Swabian Alb, Burg Hohenzollern offers breathtaking panoramic views of the countryside below. The splendid rooms have been furnished by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1907-1994) with valuable works of art highlighting the history of Prussia’s kings and Germany’s emperors. Among the historical artifacts contained within the castle walls are the Crown of Wilhelm II, some of Frederick the Great’s personal effects, and a letter from United States President George Washington thanking the scion of the House of Hohenzollern Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War.
The castle’s Catholic Saint Michael’s Chapel, whose origins date back to the 15th century, boasts Romanesque sandstone reliefs and 13th century stained glass windows which depict the earliest images of Hohenzollern heraldry. The romantic chapel’s high vaulted ceilings provide the perfect venue for choral performances, especially traditional madrigal arrangements. 


The Diocese of Evansville experience the Papal Audience mere feet from the Pope

The Diocese of Evansville travelers attended the Papal audience Wednesday morning as part of their 2010 Incantato Performance Tour and Pilgrimage. The group from Indiana experienced the amazing event from special seats (traveling with Bishop Gettelfinger sure had many a benefit), just feet away from his Excellence, the Pope. The choir directed by Jeremy Korba also had the honor and privilege of being the only ensemble to sing at the Papal audience that morning. Below are photos of the Pope and the Evansville group, taken by the official Vatican photographers.

Watch the official Catholic Television video of the September 29, 2010 General Audience: