Incantato Video: Mater Dei High School Chorus sings for the Pope

Orange County Register reports about the Mater Dei HS Chorus Incantato Italy Tour on March 30

By Andrew Galvin
The Orange County Register

Josh Paz was a little nervous as the Mater Dei High School choir waited for the pope to arrive in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, on Wednesday morning.
"What if we mess up?" he thought. "What will pope's reaction be?"
Article Tab : The Mater Dei High School Choir prepares to sing for Pope Benedict on Wendesday morning at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome.
The Mater Dei High School Choir prepares to sing for Pope Benedict on Wendesday morning at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome.
About 130 members of the choir, along with about 100 parents and eight visual-arts students, have been traveling and performing in Italy since last week. Singing at this papal audience was to be one of the highlights of their trip.

The students were rousted from their beds at 5 a.m. and most of them were ready, in tuxedos and dresses, when their bus was scheduled to leave their hotel at 6 a.m.
Scott Melvin, the choir director, rushed around collecting a few kids who had overslept. "We had to throw them on the bus in their pajamas," he said. "They had to get changed on the bus."
By 7 a.m., the group had arrived outside St. Peter's Square, queuing up to get through security with about 20,000 other pilgrims. They took seats in the front rows, about 50 yards from where the pope would preside on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.

Then they waited. Some made last-minute purchases of rosaries that the pope would bless.
To help pass the three hours before the audience was to begin, the choir sang Hosanna in Excelsis by Brent Pierce (see video below). The crowd's response was warm and enthusiastic. A man approached the group saying "Complimenti, complimenti," Italian for "compliments."
At about 10:30 a.m., Pope Benedict XVI arrived in his popemobile, driving around the audience in the square.

"When he finally came out everyone was just waving," said Sara Rezner, 17, a junior from Orange. "When he got to the front, he got out and sat down and started talking. They had different groups from all over the world there, and he introduced us."
It was time to perform. "I was very nervous when we were singing because I couldn't believe we were singing for the pope," she said.

As it turned out, they had nothing to worry about. Their performance of the spiritual My God Is a Rock was perfect.

"I actually heard our voices resound off the walls of the Vatican," said Paz, 18, a senior who lives in Santa Ana. "It was the most beautiful thing."

Pope Benedict applauded and waved. "We thank the choir for their beautiful gift of song," he said.

The group returns to the United States on Monday. Before they do, the choir is scheduled to perform high Mass in St. Peter's Basilica and also sing in the Sistine Chapel.

Choir members are posting to a blog about their experiences at materdeihs-incantatotour.blogspot.com

La Canada High School Choirs have an exciting tour coming up!

The Incantato Concert Postcard is just one of many marketing tools we distribute prior to the choirs' arrivals in Europe. This handy overview lists all the performances and also shows the official support for our traveling singers from many local partners whose logos we proudly feature.

Mater Dei High School Chorus present third formal concert at the stunning Teatro di Todi

The Mater Dei High School Chorus will perform at Il Teatro Comunale in Todi at 7 PM on Thursday, March 31, 2011. Todi’s Il Teatro Comunale, or Community Theater, is considered one of the most beautiful theaters in the entire Umbrian region. Designed by architect Carlo Gatteschi and completed in 1872, the theater opened in 1876 with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera". The auditorium boasts the traditional Italian horse-shoe design. The interior details were designed by Annibale Brugnoli, decorator of the Rome Opera House. Brugnoli adorned the stage with a vast curtain fresco depicting Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto’s 1531 visit to Todi. The theater, located near the center of town just off the Piazza del Popolo, accommodates up to 500 spectators.


Mater Dei High School Chorus will sing twice at St. Peter's Cathedral and in the Sistine Chapel

Being the featured guest choir for Mass at St. Peter's Basilica once is already a life-changing experience for most singers, especially Catholics. After this weekend, about 40 of the Mater Dei High School Chorus members, the Chamber Choir to be precise, will be able to say they sang twice at the magnificent cathedral in Vatican City as  Incantato Tours and Concerts managed to get the singers under the direction of Mr. Scott Melvin invited to sing on both Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2, 2011. 5 pm or alle ore 17 as the locals would say is the magic time. All 140 girls and boys that form the Mater Dei High School 2011 Italy Touring Chorus sing on Friday at the Altare della Cattedrale San Pietro, followed by the auditioned Chamber Choir on Saturday in the precious Cappella del Santissimo. And if those weren't already enough special moments on their 2011 Italy Pilgrimage and Performance Tour, there is another and very exclusive highlight scheduled still: a private recital in the Sistine Chapel.  

Mater Dei High School Chorus takes Amalfi by storm


Incantato proudly presents the Mater Dei High School Chorus at Santa Maria a Mare in Maiori on Saturday, March 26 at 7 PM

On Saturday, March 26 at 7 PM the Mater Dei High School Chorus presents the first concert of their 2011 Incantato Italy Performance Tour and Pilrgimage at the beautiful hilltop at Chiesa di Santa Maria a Mare in Maiori.

Maiori, a delightful seaside resort overlooking one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in this area, is one of the gem of the Amalfi Coast. Today it offers various cultural, recreational and leisure activities, you will love walking to the historic centre. Maiori has been a popular tourist resort since Roman times, with the longest unbroken stretch of beach on the Amalfi coastline. The patron saint of the city is Santa Maria a Mare - the name giver of the cathedral also known as La Collegiata and the saint day is August 15. Santa Maria a Mare was originally erected in the 12th century, but has since been reconstructed. It is the largest church in town and thus the perfect venue for the ensemble of 130+ singers from Santa Ana, California under the direction of Scott Melvin.

Singers from Mater Dei HS receive a lot of press for their 2011 Italy Performance Tour

A Maiori un coro californiano di Spiritual e Gospel

coro mater dei
All’insegna della speranza e della pace, Maiori si appresta ad accogliere per il secondo appuntamento, gruppi corali provenienti dagli Stati Uniti, in tour in Italia, per la rassegna “Incantato Choral Festival 2011”, che si protrarrà con diversi appuntamenti fino a maggio.
Protagonisti indiscussi, con ensemble a cappella e formazioni di jazz band, ben 5 gruppi studenteschi provenienti da prestigiosi College e High Schools della California, Kentucky, Rhode Island e Canada.
“Songs of Hope, Peace, and Praise" è il titolo del programma presentato dalla Mater Dei High School Chorus, gruppo proveniente da Santa Ana in California, che si esibirà in concerto nella Collegiata di S. Maria a mare sabato 26 marzo alle ore 19.00. Mentre, domenica 27 marzo, il coro americano riproporrà mottetti a cappella e spirituals durante la messa delle 11.00 nella chiesa di S. Francesco.
La “Mater Dei High School” è fra le compagini corali cattoliche più attive in Sud California, coinvolgendo oltre 200 studenti in un’offerta formative che va dallo studio del canto corale all’ensemble strumentale di campanelle. Ogni ensemble effettua ogni anno tournée concertistiche per gli Stati Uniti, partecipando ad importanti festival, rassegne e concorsi.
Tra questi, degni di nota sono i riconoscimenti ottenuti all’ Heritage Festival of Gold di New York (2008), al prestigioso Festival Disney di Orlando, Florida (2007). Di recente il coro è stato “guest choir” in occasione della Convention Nazionale “Catholic Educators”.
Il repertorio del gruppo spazia ampiamente, pur focalizzando l’interesse nella letteratura a cappella e nel repertorio per grandi compagini corali: dalla Messa in Sol maggiore di Schubert, la Coronation Mass di Mozart, l’Hodie! Di Vaughan William fino alla Paukenmesse (Missa ‘in tempore belli’) di Haydn, proposta in tour per questo anno.
In programma la celeberrima “Missa in tempore belli” di Franz Joseph Haydn, diretta da Scott Melvin e l'accompagnamento organistico frutto della trascrizione e revisione critica di Giuseppe Di Bianco, musicista e compositore di Maiori che da qualche anno collabora con l’organizzazione di Incantato Festival. Haydn compose la messa nel 1796, quando le truppe dell’esercito napoleonico invasero l’Austria minacciandone la stessa capitale.
Il coro, formato da ben 150 giovani cantanti, sotto la direzione del M° Scott Melvin, sarà in tour in Italia da fine Marzo ai primi di Aprile, con concerti previsti tra la costa di Amalfi (25-28 Marzo), Montecassino (29 Marzo), Umbria (Teatro di Todi, 31 marzo), Roma e Città del Vaticano (1-3 Aprile).


The Mater Dei HS Chorus is sure keeping busy on their 2011 Italy Performance Tour

The Incantato Concert Postcard is just one of many marketing tools we distribute prior to the choirs' arrivals in Europe. This handy overview lists all the performances and also shows the offcial support for our traveling singers from many local partners whose logos we proudly feature.


Mater Dei High School Chorus on our minds

Things are busy over at Incantato headquarters as we gear up for next week’s exciting tour with The Mater Dei High School Chorus, the award-winning choir and handbell ensemble from Santa Ana, California. The touring group is so big we’re leaving LAX next Thursday, March 24, in five subgroups on three different airlines. We can’t wait to reunite with all, and their Incantato tour managers - Stefania, Michela, Rosalia, Constanze and Paola - in Rome on the 25th!
But that's just the beginning. We're really looking forward to all aspects of the trip, from visiting Capri to singing at the Vatican. Check out some highlights from the first few days of the itinerary:
March 25 - Benvenuti in Italia! The choir and entourage groups travel to the gorgeous Amalfi coast and stay in seaside hotels like the Hotel Reginna Palace
March 26 - Tour of historic Pompeii and first concert at Santa Maria a Mare
March 28 - Cultural exchange and free time on the famous Isle of Capri
March 29 - Morning recital at Montecassino Abbey, the birthplace of the Benedictine Rule
Performance, history, culture, relaxation - and that's only the first five days! Check back to find out about the rest of the tour, including stops in Rome and a concert at the Vatican, and for daily updates about how the tour is going.

We can't wait!


Announcement: Government grant deadline April 29!

We have good news! You may be eligible for government grant monies to make your tour with Incantato next year even more affordable! The government-sponsored American Music Abroad program announced last week that they've earmarked $1,500,000 for eligible institutions and organizations who apply by April 29, 2011. (Click this link to apply.) And if you're awarded those monies, you can use them to subsidize your tour next year.

Incantato veterans already know that our trips bring a special magic to the choir tour experience. Our expert coordinators book special venues with fantastic acoustics; produce beautiful marketing materials and effective publicity campaigns that ensure large, supportive audiences; create well-paced-yet-flexible itineraries that include a variety of activities and have room for the unexpected; locate exceptional accommodations, restaurants, and local hidden gems; and manage your entire trip with a positive attitude and genuine concern for your group's personal needs.

If you're new to Incantato and want to know what makes us so special, check out the first-hand experiences of some of this year's choirs:
Or, if you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us by phone or email, or check out our info page. We'd be happy to help you design the perfect choir tour experience for you and your group.


USC School of Music Concert Choir is singing Mass at St. Peter's Basilica today in the Vatican at 5:30 pm

Here is a video recording from pre-tour concert for all of those who cannot wait to hear the University of South Carolina Concert Choir as the featured guest performers for Sunday afternoon Mass at the magnificent Basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican at 5:30 pm on March 13, 2011. The singers from Columbia, SC are concluding their 2011 Incantato Italy Performance tour with this special appearance. The group returns to the US on Monday, March 14.


Bellarmine Schola dedicates final tour concert at Duomo di San Gregorio Magno, Monte Porzio Catone on March 13 at 7 PM to Japanese earthquake victims

Bellarmine University’s Schola Cantorum and Louisville Vocal Project presents the final concert of their 2011 Incantato Italy Performance Tour at Il Duomo di San Gregorio Magno in Monte Porzio Catone on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 7 PM. Shocked by the news from Japan, the singers and Incantato Tours decided to dedicate this special event to the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami in the Pacific. Any donations by the audience will be tripled by the concert tour organizers and passed on the the Red Cross for their rescue efforts in Japan.
Il Duomo di San Gregorio Magno, or the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Great, was constructed in 1666 in Monte Porzio Catone, Italy. Prince Giovan Battista Borghese, Lord of Monte Porzio, commissioned architect Carlo Rainaldi to design the structure. The façade, flanked by two sets of columns, is crowned by a triangular pediment boasting a large marble coat of arms. The molding above the central doorway bears the inscription “Divo Gregorio Magno Dicatum,” or “Dedicated to Saint Gregory the Great.” Two large bell towers also border the exterior of the church. Rainaldi constructed the church in a traditional Greek cross layout with three altars and two small chapels near the entrance. In honor of Prince Borghese, each wall bears a chancel adorned with the dragon and eagle of the Borghese coat of arms. The four confessionals are identical to those in the Roman church of Santa Maria Campitelli, also designed by Rainaldi. The church also displays 18th century images of the Via Crucis, a 17th century statue of Sant’Antonio Abate, and a large 19th century organ.

The recording below was taken at the Naples Concert on March 7 in Naples.

Bellarmine Schola sings LVP sing "Beate quorum via" by C. V. Stanford at St. Peter's Basilica

Bellarmine Schola sings "Sanctus" from Richard Burchard at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

Some pictures from the Bellarmine University performance at St. Peter's Basilica on March 12

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Bellarmine Schola sings with the Vatican Cantors

Bellarmine University Schola at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

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St. Peter's Square (Vatican) at dusk

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Bellarmine singers the featured guest choir for High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica - Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Bellarmine University's Schola Cantorum and the Louisville Vocal Project will sing High Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 5:30PM.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is the symbolic "Mother church" of the Catholic Church and is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".
In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter's since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626.
St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with the papacy, with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564), an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. Michelangelo took over a building site at which four piers, enormous beyond any constructed since the days of Ancient Rome, were rising behind the remaining nave of the old basilica. He also inherited the numerous schemes designed and redesigned by some of the greatest architectural and engineering brains of the 16th century.
Incidentally there are over 100 tombs within St. Peter's Basilica, many located in the Vatican grotto, beneath the Basilica. These include 91 popes, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, and the composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Exiled Catholic British royalty James Francis Edward Stuart and his two sons, Charles Edward Stuart and Henry Benedict Stuart, are buried here, having been granted asylum by Pope Clement XI. The most recent interment was Pope John Paul II, on April 8, 2005.

Now on youtube: The University of South Carolina Concert Choir at the Teatro di Rieti

The Bellarmine University singers at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi

"Thank you so much for singing for us!" - the Bellarmine University Schola and singers from the Louisville Vocal Project were very warmly received at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. On March 11, the touring choir under the direction of Dr. S. Timothy Glasscock were the featured guest choir for Mass at the Chapel of St. Catherine as part of their 2011 Incantato Italy Tour.
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See and hear the Bellarmine Jazz Ensemble on their 2011 Italy Incantato Tour

This is a recording from the March 10 gig at the Tea Room in Siena

Bellarmine University's Schola & Louisville Vocal Project the featured guest choir at Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi on Friday, March 11 at 11 AM

BU Schola and the Louisville Vocal Project are the featured guest choir for High Mass in the Chapel of Saint Catherine within Saint Francis Basilica on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 11 AM.

The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, better known as the St. Francis Basilica, is the mother church of the Roman Order of Friars Minor, or the Franciscan Order. Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, a Catholic deacon, preacher, and founder of the Franciscan Order. The Catholic Church also recognizes St. Francis as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and one of the two patron saints of Italy along with St. Catherine of Siena. Serving as the final resting place of St. Francis, the Basilica remains one of Italy’s most important destinations of Christian pilgrimage.
Founded in 1228, St. Francis Basilica is built into a hillside and comprises two separate churches known as the upper and lower basilicas and the crypt of the interred saint. The interior of the upper church exemplifies early Gothic architecture, and both churches flaunt intricate frescoes by late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools. Along with the accompanying friary, the basilica is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and valuable landmark in the Assisi community.

Impressions from the University of South Carolina Rome Concert

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