4/16/2011

Incantato proudly presents the St. Bonaventure's College Wind Ensemble & Chamber Choir at 18:45 at Convento San Silvestro on April 16 at 6:45 PM

The St. Bonaventure’s College Wind Ensemble and Chamber Choir, of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, will present a recital at Convento San Silvestro in Montecompatri on Saturday, April 16, 2011.
San Silvestro is a 16th century convent known for its picture gallery, featuring important sacred paintings from the 18th century made for worship and devotion for the Barefoot Carmelites, who were given the monastery in 1604 by Pope Clemente VIII. It was appreciated then for its forested solitude away from the city, which was perfect for quiet contemplation. Many years later, in 1874, the convent was sold to a nearby town for use as a home for old people. It was redeemed at public auction in 1905 and returned to religious service in 1920. It’s in Monte Compatri, a municipality about 20 kilometers southeast of Rome with beautiful views and lush land.

4/14/2011

SBC in the news


A special Incantato Luncheon for our first Canadian Group: The Wind Ensemble and Chamber Choir from St. Bonaventure's College, Newfoundland

Highlight Concert for St. Bonaventure's College Chamber Choir in Maiori at 8 pm

Incantato Tours proudly presents the Saint Bonaventure's College Chamber Choir in concert at Chiesa di San Francesco in Maiori at 8:00PM on Thursday, April 14, 2011.

The beautiful Chiesa di San Francesco was constructed in 1405. It is located between the convent and the Cove of the Announced one (Grotta dell'Annunziata) in Maiori. The church has a rough history: In 1435 it was destroyed by the army of Muhammad II (Turkey) and rebuilt one year later by Saint Bernardino from Siena. A sea storm hit the Chiesa di San Francesco hard in 1440. It was destroyed and in 1517 reconstructed on the oriental side of the convent. But the work was interrupted again by a Turkish invasion. In 1590 the construction was finally completed. Last but not least there were several constructive modifications after two seas storm in 1631 and 1674. The church is famed world-wide for the miracle of the springing water in the convent. Please click here to go the picture's origin.

St. Bonaventure at the Papal Audience in the Vatican

4/12/2011

SBC Chamber Choir sings at the Vatican

The St. Bonaventure’s College Chamber Choir sang Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 5:00 PM.



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.

4/09/2011

"This place makes me cry": Impressions of Teatro di Rieti

One of our favorite moments during an Incantato choir tour of Italy is the moment a choir first sees the gorgeous Teatro di Rieti. This time, we caught the San Marino choir on film. Check out the videos below to see for yourselves, as well as some of the reactions we overheard from awed students.


"Wow."
"No way."


"It's like we're famous."

pon entering the theater, students gasped, snapped pictures, and stared at the ceiling, mouths open. "It's mesmerizing."
Normally as noisy as you'd expect 70 high school students to be, the beauty of the theater caused the choir students to fall silent. In fact, when Incantato Tours owner Sandra Weihnacht told them they could talk, they stayed silent. "This is gorgeous," said one student. "This place makes me cry."


4/08/2011

San Marino Chamber's third formal concert in Italy at the magnificent Teatro di Rieti on April 8 at 9 pm

The San Marino Chamber Choir will perform at Teatro di Rieti on Friday, April 8 at 9:00 PM. The current structure of the theatre dates back to December of 1883 but was not officially inaugurated until September 20, 1893, featuring productions of Goethe’s Faust and Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The theater, named for the Roman Emperor Vespasian, required ten years of construction under the direction of Milanese architect  Achille Sfondrini. The theater underwent complete restoration from 2005 through 2009. A grand re-opening celebration commenced on January 10, 2009 featuring conductor Marcello Rota, and soloists Karina Grigoryan, Jessica Pratt, Anna Gorayacheva, and Roman Burdenko. The Secretary to the Prime Minister as well as Senator Franco Marini were in attendance. The restoration efforts totaled more than 3.3 million Euro. The reopening of the theater also fostered the formation of the Flavius Vespasian Foundation, aiming to promote international artistry and music. The Rieti Theatre also annually hosts the Rieti Dance Festival, the International Competition for the New Opera Voices of Mattia Battistini, and the National Competition for Young Actors. The theatre is well known for its excellent acoustics, a characteristic that earned the structure the very first National Award for the Acoustics. In referring to the acoustics, Professor Bruno Cagli, president of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia, once called the theatre “the world’s best in that respect”. For more information, please click here.

Here is a recording from the most recent concert in Naples:

San Marino Chamber Choir Concert in the press

 


Incantato Tours, al Vespasiano si chiude con il San Marino Chamber Choir

 
Chamber Choir della San Marino High School
Chamber Choir della San Marino High School
   


dalla Redazione
mercoledì 6 aprile 2011

Venerdì 8 aprile alle ore 21 al Teatro Flavio Vespasiano termina il ciclo di spettacoli che hanno visto la città di Rieti inserita per la prima volta nel programma del tour operator americano Incantato Tours. La chiusura è prestigiosa, infatti ad esibirsi sarà il Chamber Choir della San Marino High School. 

Il concerto dal titolo “Musica Divina : tra antico e nuovo mondo” comprende brani di Bach, Monteverdi e Purcell, insieme a compositori più moderni del continente americano. Il coro, proveniente dalla cittadina di San Marino nella contea di Los Angeles, è composto in gran parte da studenti di origine asiatica, infatti San Marino ha una popolazione composta al 40% da cittadini provenienti dall’Asia, ed è uno dei più conosciuti e prestigiosi degli Stati Uniti d’America. 

Proseguono anche i gemellaggi previsti dal programma, ed infatti dopo il Liceo Classico Varrone gemellato con La Cañada High School ed il Liceo Pedagogico “Elena Principessa di Napoli” gemellato con il liceo di San Juan de Capistrano, questa volta è il turno del Liceo Scientifico Jucci che ospiterà nella mattinata di venerdi gli studenti californiani della San Marino High School. Sandra Weinacht, titolare di Incantato Tours ha confermato che l’esperimento iniziato quest’anno prevede per il 2012 il passaggio a Rieti di numerosi gruppi di studenti americani, che soggiorneranno nella nostra città anche in occasione di eventi culturali. 

L’organizzazione sarà della Wealbiz di Diego Di Paolo. L’Assessore alla Cultura Gianfranco Formichetti ha auspicato il consolidamento dell’iniziativa nella speranza che il soggiorno a Rieti dei gruppi l’anno venturo permetta agli studenti di visitare le eccellenze culturali e turistiche della città. Venerdì sera alle ore 21 l’ingresso al Teatro sarà gratuito come nelle precedenti occasioni.

JSerra Catholic HS Chamber Choir the featuered guest choir for Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on April 8 at 5 pm

Under the direction of Mr. Andrew M. Alvarez, the JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Singers will sing High Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM.
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.

Exchange Concert for the YPAS Touring Choir in magical Cesky Krumlov on April 8 at 6 pm

On Friday, April 8 at 6:00 PM, the Youth Performing Arts School Touring Choir from Louisville, Kentucky, will perform together with the Cesky Krumlov Pipers at the Church of Holy Corpse (Kostel Boziho tela Cesky Krumlov) in Cesky Krumlov. The church belongs to the monk order of the Bohemian Crusading Knights and it is maintained by the city of Cesky Krumlov. The church and the adjacent convent were founded in 1350 by the widow of Peter I Rosenberg, member of a family that greatly influenced the city. The benefit concert takes place together with theČeskokrumluvští pištci (Cesky Krumlov Pipers; see picture below) under the direction of Mrs. Renata Pyšíková. Their repertoire: old Czech music from the Renaissance period.

4/07/2011

Recording of the San Marino Chamber Choir's exclusive highlight concert at Sala dei Baroni inside Castel Nuovo in Naples on Wednesday, April 6: "Come Sweet Death"

"It's the performing that's really life changing:" Reflections on the La Canada High School Italy Tour

Last night's performance at Basilica Sant' Agnes in Agone was the perfect end to La Canada High School's whirlwind Italian tour. "We loved the church, that it was smaller and more intimate [than some of the previous venues]," said director Jeff Brookey, who also was pleased with the standing-room-only audience. "The concert was amazing. It was the perfect place for our closing concert."

But while still on a high from the night's recital of sacred music, and preparing for the long trip home today, Brookey, the students, and the parents and friends of the choir also couldn't help but think about all the amazing places they'd been and things they'd seen in the last week.


Here are some of the highlights:
  • Mass at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice: The choir's first performance was at this beautiful church in the world-famous city of canals. Though a secular school, the chamber singers and larger ensemble have been preparing a repertoire of sacred songs for this tour since last September. Because of the limitations of singing in ancient churches, Jeff chose songs that are all a capella. He also chose slower, more melancholic pieces to respect the mood and tone of Lent, which inspired him to choose music with sacred themes but interesting chords so every piece didn't sound the same. The choir's first experience sharing pieces like Eric Whitacre's "Lux aurumque" and Eric Barnum's "Adoramus te, Christe" went even better than expected. "It was a moving experience," said Jeff. Plus, added Eva F., "the acoustics were so amazing."
  • The Baptistry of St. John in Pisa: Most tourists in Pisa are awed by the physics of the Leaning Tower. But the La Canada Choir was awed by the physics of the Baptistry's unique acoustics: an 11-second reverb. The group was given permission to sing one song in the austere dome, but were so impressive and appreciative that they were asked for an encore. Adjusting to the sonic circumstances wasn't easy - "we had to take it very slow," said Jeff - but learning to modify and modulate the voice for different performance venues is one of the great educational aspects of a tour like this.
  • Florence: A favorite tourist stop for many of the students was beautiful Firenze. Singers mentioned the Renaissance architecture and the picturesque streets. But most important was the concert. "We've seen amazing sights," said Jeff. "But they get that it's the performing that's really life changing." The students agreed, and especially loved performing in a joint concert with JSerra Catholic High School, whose choir director just happens to be Jeff's best friend.
  • Cultural Exchange in Rieti: One of the special aspects of an Incantato tour is getting to visit towns beyond the big tourist destinations, like the hill town of Rieti. Before performing in the comune's gorgeous theater, the La Canada choir met with a choir from a local school. The students from California were impressed with the Italians' English, and were surprised to realize that however different the two sets of students were, the love of music bonded them. "It's amazing to share our love of music with people 5,000 miles from home," said Brandon C. They also said that being in a small town made intuitive sense to them and helped them connect to Italian life. "We can relate to Rieti," said Julia T. Eva F. agreed. "It was familiar, but special."
  • Teatro Flavio Vespasiano in Rieti: The true jewel of visiting Rieti, though, was the choir's performance in the local theater. "It's beautiful - so grandiose," said Jeff. "The students said it was like being in the movies, or on the set of Phantom of the Opera." Brandon C. agreed. At home in Los Angeles, "we never get to sing in a theater like this," he said. Jeff was particularly looking forward to performing at a secular venue because the choir was able to sing non-religious songs like Eric Barnum's "Lotos" and the fascinatingly beautiful Indonesian tune "Luk Luk Lumbu." And during the performance, Brandon C. said he had a magical music moment. "It's when you're singing and you look at each other and everything just comes together," he said. "It happened in almost every song."
  • High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and the Papal Audience: The choir understood and appreciated the opportunity to visit Vatican City and sing at High Mass. "The Jewish students, Catholics, Mormons, nonbelievers ... they all realize it's a special thing to sing mass," said Jeff. And they were honored to sing 45 seconds of Moses Hogan's "Hear My Prayer" for the Pope. "We really enjoyed the Papal audience," said Jeff. An added bonus? They reunited with the choir from JSerra Catholic High School for this special event. "That was fun," Jeff said.
Overall, Jeff said the students had an incredible experience on tour. "They wouldn't be able to do this on their own," he said. "There's something so special about it."

As for whether Jeff was looking forward to heading home, though, it doesn't seem he gets much respite from the rigorous tour life yet. "I have my doctoral oral exams right when I get back," he said. "I have to be studying on the 11-hour flight."

We wish him luck, and wish the La Canada students and entourage a safe journey home.

4/06/2011

“Words cannot express what they’re experiencing now:” Mater Dei moms give a parent’s perspective

By Molly Freedenberg

It’s undeniable that it’s an amazing, enriching, and just plain fun experience to be in one of the choirs touring with Incantato, but the chaperones and parents who accompany these tours have a unique perspective on what makes the tours so special.

First of all, the adults on the tour know how much their kids are learning. “The educational aspect is incredible,” said Marley Ramirez, whose daughter Ashton just toured with the Mater Dei High School Chorus. And though the touring and performing schedule can be tiring, Vicki Bueschel, whose daughter Gabi sings in the Advanced Women's Ensemble, says the kids don’t mind. “They’re thrilled…the experience is worth it to lose a little sleep,” she said.

Corie Thomas, whose daughter Lea is a sophomore, agreed. “Words cannot express what they’re experiencing now.”

And it’s not just the kids who are getting an education. Because of the nature of traveling with a group, and Incantato’s particular connections, these tour groups get to visit towns, restaurants, and performance venues that are unknown or off-limits to the average tourist, all with tips and information from their tour guides. “We’re in awe of everything we’re seeing,” said Vicki. “The tour company has been outstanding.”

Michelle Fulmer, whose daughter Kayla is a senior, agreed. “They’re doing it right,” she said, specifically mentioning the chance to sing for the Pope. “We’re doing things we couldn’t do on our own.”

Particularly special for the Mater Dei moms was the Catholic Pilgrimage aspect of their tour. Michelle was blown away she was able to visit the hometown of St. Francis di Assisi. For Vicki, seeing the Pope was the highlight of her trip. And all the moms were pleased that the tour seemed to give their kids a deeper connection to their Catholic roots and increase the likelihood that they'd continue going to church after they graduate from high school - including Gabi, who agreed her feelings about her religion were "much stronger" than before the trip.

What’s also special for these parents is the chance to spend time with, and experience another side of, their teenage children before the high-schoolers leave the nest. “I’m seeing a more grown up version of my daughter,” said Vicki, who was impressed with Gabi’s ability to take care of her own needs, belongings, and logistics.

So did their kids get the experience the parents had hoped for? “It’s even more than I’d hoped,” said Vicki. “It’s beyond what [the kids] thought it would be.” And an added bonus? Many of the parents now have new friends. Marley, Vicki, Corie, and Michelle weren’t a close foursome before the tour, but they already have an Italy-themed reunion planned when they get home. “Now we’re a family,” said Marley.

San Marino Chamber Choir's Concert Card

We're proud to show off another Incantato Concert Postcard, this one for San Marino Chamber Choir's exciting 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 official support for our traveling singers from many local partners whose logos we proudly feature.

SMCC sings in Maiori

San Marino Chamber Choir presents exclusive highlight concert at Sala dei Baroni inside Castel Nuovo in Naples on Wednesday, April 6 at 8 PM

What an amazing performance venue for the San Marino Chamber Choir 2011 Performance Tour as part of their 2011 Italy Incantato Performance Tour. On Wednesday, April 6, at 8 pm, the singers from San Marino California under the direction of Howard Cheung present a highlight concert at Sala dei Baroni inside Castel Nuovo (commonly known as Maschio Angioino), a very old and beautiful castle in the city of Naples. This imposing castle, surrounded by deep moats, was built in 1282 by Pierre de Chaulnes and Pierre d'Angincourt, the architects of Charles I of Anjou. It was modeled on the castle at Angers. A remarkable triumphal arc embellishes the entrances on the town side. This masterpiece bearing sculptures to the glory of the House of Aragon, was built to designs by Francesco Laurana in 1467. Access to the Sala dei Baroni is via the staircase in the inner courtyard (at the far end on the left).
This special concert is supported by the City of Naples and several local partners.


Incantato Impressions from the SMCC Concert in Maiori

YPAS presents highlight concert at Stephansdom on April 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

The Youth Performing Arts School Touring Choir will perform Mozart's Requiem at Vienna's Saint Stephen's Cathedral on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 8:30PM.
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, reigns as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schoenberg. The cathedral’s present Romanesque and Gothic façade was commissioned by Rudolf IV and stands atop the ruins of two earlier churches. The church is located in the heart of Vienna within the Stephansplatz district. It is not only considered the most important religious structure in the capital city, but the cathedral’s multi-colored tile roofing also makes it the most recognizable. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral boasts a very important organ tradition. The sanctuary’s first organ was installed in 1334 but was unfortunately destroyed during a fire in 1945. Michael Kauffmann constructed a large electric organ in its place in 1960 which includes 125 voices, four manuals, and over 9,000 pipes, all financed by public donation. In 1991 the current choir organ was built by the Austrian firm Rieger. The new mechanical organ is comprised a more modest 56 voices and four manuals.A prominent Vienna landmark, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is featured in many media productions including films, video games, and television shows. These include the 1949 Orson Welles film “The Third Man,” and the 2004 video game “Burnout 3.” An image of the cathedral is also depicted on the Austrian 10 cent Euro coin as well as the packaging of the popular Manner-Schnitten wafer treat. In 2008, Broadway star Sarah Brightman performed a promotional concert in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral which was recorded for television broadcast and released later in DVD form.

La Canada High School Choirs present final Italy Tour Concert in Rome at 6 pm at the beautiful Church of Sant' Agnese on April 6

The La Canada Choirs perform a final feature concert at Rome's Basilica Sant'Agnese in Agone at 6 PM on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.


The Basilica Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome was constructed in 1652 on the site of Saint Agnes’ martyrdom, now the location of the Piazza Navona. The designs for the Baroque church were commissioned by Pope Innocent X, whose funerary monument now lies within the church. The Pope’s family even had a large palace adjacent to the church. Baroque architect Francesco Borromini ultimately introduced a concave volume in the center of the sanctuary, creating prime acoustics for vocal music. Visitors enjoy the interior’s premier sculptural artwork, accented by the marble relief found in the main altar, as well as Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers that lies in front of the church.

A first video from the La Canada HS Choirs in Rieti

4/05/2011

JSerra Chamber Choir and the San Marino Chamber Choir in concert on April 9 at 7:45pm at Chiesa Santissimi Nomi Di Gesu e Maria al Corso in Rome

Incantato Tours proudly presents the San Marino Chamber Choir and JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir in concert at Chiesa Santissimi Nomi di Gesu e Maria al Corso at 7:45 PM on Saturday, April 9, 2011.

The beautiful Chiesa is a baroque church made of travertine and brick, famous for a beautiful painting of the Glorification of the Virgin with the four evangelists by Giacinto Brandi. It was built in 1615 and finished in 1690. It is the home of the cardinal title of "Most Holy Name of Jesus and Mary in Via Lata," established by Pope Paul VI on June 7, 1967.

San Marino Chamber Choir in the News

04/04/2011

MUSICA DIVINA TRA ANTICO E NUOVO MONDO THE SAN MARINO HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR

The S. Marino High School Chamber Choir
The S. Marino High School ChamberChoir
Musica Divina tra antico e nuovo mondo
The San Marino High School Chamber Choir
Chiesa di S. Francesco,  Maiori  5 aprile ore 20.00 
Ingresso libero


Il terzo appuntamento con i gruppi corali provenienti dagli Stati Uniti, in tour in Italia, per la rassegna denominata “Incantato Choral Festival 2011”, vede domani 5 aprile a Maiori The San Marino High School Chamber Choir,  in concerto nella chiesa di S. Francesco alle ore 20.00.
I “San Marino Chamber Singers”, provenienti da San Marino in California, costituiscono una delle realtà corali più accreditate tra i College dello stato americano. Diretti da oltre dieci anni da Howard Cheung, pianista e direttore di coro, i “Chamber Singers, sono risultati vincitori del prestigioso “Golden State Award 2006” quale migliore high school choir in California ed invitati ad esibirsi alla ACDA National Convention di Miami nel Marzo 2007. Nel 2009 hanno vinto il “Verduga Hills a cappella competition”. I SMCS sono costantemente impegnati in tour internazionali fra USA ed Europa. Il Tour italiano del 2011 li vede in concerto in Umbria, Lazio (Roma, Città del Vaticano, Montecassino) e Campania (Napoli, Maiori - Costiera amalfitana). In programma anche una masterclass di musica corale presso il Conservatorio “S. Pietro a Majella” di Napoli.
Il repertorio spazia dalla polifonia sacra e profana classica alla contemporanea, includendo anche performance per quartetto vocale a cappella e gospel e spiritual tradizionali: Sing me to Heaven  - Daniel Gawthrop ; The battle of Jericho – Moses Hogan; My God is a rock – arr. Alice Parker / Robert Shaw; Let me fly – Robert Cormier; Ave Maria– Franz Biebl; Te lucis ante terminum – Richard Burchard; Give me Jesus – H. Fleming; Irish Blessing – Graham Lanager; Kondalilla – Stephen Leek; Psalm 67 – Charles Ives ; Chinese folk songs -  Chen Yi ; Come sweet death – J.S. Bach  (arr. R. Sandberg).
Avere l’opportunità di condurre regolarmente il coro in Europa è fondamentale per un direttore. L’occasione di effettuare concerti in sedi così belle, ricche di storia e tradizioni musicali rappresenta un’opportunità unica per questi giovani musicisti", spiega Howard Cheung, che auspica per i suoi studenti anche l’opportunità di interagire e parlare col pubblico dopo gli spettacoli. "Stiamo tentando di imparare un po’ di italiano, in modo da poter almeno dire ‘benvenuti…, grazie mille’ al nostro pubblico, nel pieno spirito dei valori di condivisione ed amicizia cui si ispira la nostra compagine corale".

JSerra's full, fun schedule!

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.




Special add-on to the JSerra Catholic HS Choir Tour - Exclusive Recital at Teatro di Rieti

The Theatre Flavio Vespasiano is the main theater of Rieti, a town in the commune of Lazio in central Italy. The current structure dates back to December of 1883 but was not officially inaugurated until September 20, 1893, featuring productions of Goethe’s Faust and Pietro Mascagni’sCavalleria Rusticana. The theater, named for the Roman Emperor Vespasian, required ten years of construction under the direction of Milanese architect Achille Sfondrini.The theater underwent complete restoration from 2005 through 2009. A grand re-opening celebration commenced on January 10, 2009 featuring conductor Marcello Rota, and soloists Karina Grigoryan, Jessica Pratt, Anna Gorayacheva, and Roman Burdenko. The Secretary to the Prime Minister as well as Senator Franco Marini were in attendance. The restoration efforts totaled more than 3.3 million Euro. 
The reopening of the theater also fostered the formation of the Flavius Vespasian Foundation, aiming to promote international artistry and music. The Rieti Theatre also annually hosts the Rieti Dance Festival, the International Competition for the New Opera Voices of Mattia Battistini, and the National Competition for Young Actors. The theatre is well known for its excellent acoustics, a characteristic that earned the structure the very first National Award for the Acoustics. In referring to the acoustics, Professor Bruno Cagli, president of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia, once called the theatre “the world’s best in that respect”.

San Marino Chamber Choir in concert on April 5 at 8 pm at San Francesco in Maiori


Incantato Tours proudly presents the San Marino Chamber Choir in concert at Chiesa di San Francesco in Maiori at 8 PM on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
The beautiful Chiesa di San Francesco was constructed in 1405. It is located between the convent and the Cove of the Announced one (Grotta dell'Annunziata) in Maiori. The church has a rough history: In 1435 it was destroyed by the army of Muhammad II (Turkey) and rebuilt one year later by Saint Bernardino from Siena. A sea storm hit the Chiesa di San Francesco hard in 1440. It was destroyed and in 1517 reconstructed on the oriental side of the convent. But the work was interrupted again by a Turkish invasion. In 1590 the construction was finally completed. Last but not least there were several constructive modifications after two seas storm in 1631 and 1674. The church is famed world-wide for the miracle of the springing water in the convent. Please click here to go the picture's origin.

First impressions from the La Canada HS Choirs concert at the Teatro di Rieti




Impressions from the La Canada HS Italy Performance Tour

4/04/2011

Mater Dei High School Chorus Tour Highlights

We’re still reeling from the fantastic Mater Dei High School Chorus Italy Performance Tour and Pilgrimage that came to an end on April 3. In fact, some of us at Incantato Tours and Concert are still misting up thinking about all the magical people and experiences we shared with the choir, handbell chorus, visual arts students, parents and siblings, tour managers, bus drivers, appreciative audiences, locals, priests... and so many more.

We though we’d keep the feeling going a little longer with a nod to some of the highlights of the tour:
  • Awed by Amalfi: The students loved their visit to the scenic Amalfi Coast. The students were inspired by the history of Pompeii, the urban design of Capri ("It's architecture you don't see in suburban America," said visual art student Kim P.), and the scenic landscape of Maiori. They also loved their concert in the beautiful Duomo di Amalfi. "Singing in that church was cool," said chamber singer Keith M. Click here for photos from Amalfi.
  • Performing for the Pope: Perhaps one of the most powerful experiences for the Mater Dei tour group was singing at the Papal Audience in Saint Peter's Square on Wednesday, March 30. The choir sat in the front of the crowd, so close "I could've touched him," said Vicki Bueschel, whose sophomore daughter sings in the Advanced Women's Ensemble. "It was amazing when he stood up and clapped," Kayla F. agreed. Even students who had sung at the Papal Audience before found this experience special. Even for the singers who have been to Italy or on choir tours before, this trip was special. "I've sung for the Pope with other choirs," said Taylor D.," said chamber singer Taylor D. "But this time it was just us." Click here for video from the Papal Audience.
  • Surprise Sing-a-long: Some moments you can't plan. Luckily, Incantato Tours leaves just enough room for chance that things like a special impromptu concert on the steps next to the Teatro Communale in Todi could happen. Charmed by the Mater Dei students, a local shop owner loaned guitars to several of the students, who sang contemporary songs like Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" and Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," much to the delight of charmed local passersby. Click here for video.
  • A High Note with Haydn: A favorite concert of the tour for Gabie P. was the April 1 concert at the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio. The choir performed Haydn't Paukenmesse with a full professional orchestra in this first century church. "Last night's performance was amazing," said Gabie. "They were songs we've been learning all year. It's emotional to sing them here for the last time." Click here for photos from the Paukenmesse concert.
  • Salutations at the Sistine Chapel: Nothing beats the Sistine Chapel. The choir ended their tour singing a special High Mass, taking a private tour of the Vatican Museum, and performing a haunting concert inside the Sistine Chapel that left nary a dry eye in the house. Click here for reflections on the Sistine Chapel recital.

Highlight Concert for La Canada HS Choirs in Rieti today at 6:30 pm

After singing Mass at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice on Friday and a first formal concert at the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence on Sunday, the La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers present at feature concert at the Teatro Flavio Vespasiano di Rieti on Monday, April 4, 2011 at 6:30 PM - one if not the highlight on their 2011 Incantato Italy Performance Tour. 
The Theatre Flavio Vespasiano is the main theater of Rieti, a town in the commune of Lazio in central Italy. The current structure dates back to December of 1883 but was not officially inaugurated until September 20, 1893, featuring productions of Goethe’s Faust and Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The theater, named for the Roman Emperor Vespasian, required ten years of construction under the direction of Milanese architect Achille Sfondrini. The theater underwent complete restoration from 2005 through 2009. A grand re-opening celebration commenced on January 10, 2009 featuring conductor Marcello Rota, and soloists Karina Grigoryan, Jessica Pratt, Anna Gorayacheva, and Roman Burdenko. The Secretary to the Prime Minister as well as Senator Franco Marini were in attendance. The restoration efforts totaled more than 3.3 million Euro.
The reopening of the theater also fostered the formation of the Flavius Vespasian Foundation, aiming to promote international artistry and music. The Rieti Theatre also annually hosts the Rieti Dance Festival, the International Competition for the New Opera Voices of Mattia Battistini, and the National Competition for Young Actors. The theatre is well known for its excellent acoustics, a characteristic that earned the structure the very first National Award for the Acoustics. In referring to the acoustics, Professor Bruno Cagli, president of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia, once called the theatre “the world’s best in that respect”.
Here is a picture taken during the Florence concert on April 3, 2011 at the Church of San Lorenzo:

JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir performs at Duomo di Siena on Monday, April 4 at 10 AM

On Monday, April 4 at 10 AM the JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir from San Juan Capistrano, California, will sing Mass at the Duomo di Siena as part of the group's 2011 Italy Performance Tour and Pilgrimage lead by Father Vincent and choir director Mr. Andrew Alvarez.
The Cathedral of Siena (Italian: Duomo di Siena), dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church and now to Santa Maria Assunta (Most Holy Mary of Assumption), is a medieval church in Siena, central Italy. The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from an octagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city's founders, Senius and Aschius.
The picture above was taken yesterday in Florence where the JSerra Chamber Choir sang for Mass and then presented a first formal concert.

4/03/2011

JSerra Chamber Choir and La Canada High School Choirs in concert at 7 pm at Church of San Lorenzo in Florence

The La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers present a feature concert together with the JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir  at 7 PM, at the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence on Sunday, April 3, 2011. 
The Basilica di San Lorenzo stands as one of Florence, Italy’s largest churches, situated in the center of the city’s main market district. It is one of several churches claiming to be Florence’s oldest, having been consecrated in the year 393. The Basilica di San Lorenzo served as the city’s cathedral for 300 years until the Bishop’s official seat was moved to Santa Reparata. 
In 1419 parishioner Giovanni di Bicci de Medici offered to finance a new church to replace the Romanesque building. Filippo Brunelleschi, the leading Renaissance architect of the first half of the fifteenth century, was commissioned to design the new structure, although the new building did not reach completion until after the architect’s death. 
 The church is part of a larger monastic complex that boasts numerous additional important architectural works including the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo and the New Sacristy based on Michelangelo’s original designs. The sanctuary’s left aisle displays a large fresco by Bronzino depicting the Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, and the marble choir loft was designed by Donatello, as were the two bronze pulpits.

JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir sings twice at San Lorenzo Church in Florence on Sunday, April 3

Only a day after landing in Italy, the JSerra Catholic High School Chamber Choir will be singing today and not just once, but twice. First, the singers under the direction of Mr. Andrew Alvarez will be the featured guest choir for Mass at the stunning church of San Lorenzo in Florence (starting at 6 pm) and then present along with the La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers a feature concert at 7 pm on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

Homeward bound - Mater Dei High School Chorus is returning to Santa Ana after singing in the Sistine Chapel

Time surely flies when you are having fun. The 140+ singers, handbell ringers and members of the Visual Arts Departments from Mater Dei High School sure kept busy while touring Italy these past 11 days and what better way to end their 2011 Performance Tour and Pilgrimage with Incantato, then by participating in a special mass at St. Peter's Basilica in honor of the late Pope John Paul II followed by a private visit of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
You should have seen the look on the students and parents faces when the choirs from Santa Ana, California presented an exclusive recital surrounded by Michelangelo's master work. This was truly the highlight of the journey and a very emotional moment for many performers and also their audience. Many cried tears of happiness after hearing the beautiful sound of their voices echo in the Sistine Chapel.
After a farewell with Roman specialities and the opportunity to bid farewell to the Vatican and Rome by night, the travelers are now homeward bound on various airlines and all of us at Incantato say Grazie mille and Arriverderci.

Mater Dei High School Chorus enchants Rome audience with handbells and Paukenmesse





4/02/2011

Mater Dei HS Chamber Choir sings Mass at St. Peter's Basilica honoring the late Pope John Paul II on April 2 at 5 pm

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 today, 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. The girls and boys under the direction of Mr. Scott Melvin will be singing in honor of the late Pope John Paul II on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 5 pm at the beautiful Chapel of the Santissimo within St. Peter's Basilica. Together with members of the other four choirs, the students from Santa Ana, California already sang the day before at the main Altar of the Cathedral as the featured guest choir for Mass as part of their 2011 Incantato Italy Performance Tour and Pilgrimage. And if those weren't already enough special moments on this journey that is about to come to an end as the group returns home on April 3, there is another and very exclusive highlight scheduled still: a private recital in the Sistine Chapel.  
And here are some pictures from April 1:

4/01/2011

Mater Dei High School Chorus performs in the gorgeous Teatro di Todi

After a week of performing in beautiful churches and cathedrals, the Mater Dei HS Chorus had the experience of performing in a beautiful secular venue on Thursday night in the Umbrian hill town Todi as part of their 2011 Incantato Tour. The singers under the direction of Scott Melvin performed at the charming Teatro Communale, a 19th-century public theater with a sloped stage, red velvet seats, four tiers of tapestry-accented theater boxes, and a gorgeous ceiling featuring a glittering chandelier and frescoes of cupids dedicated to famous philosophers like Machiavelli, Aristotle, and Socrates.

The special venue meant that the students could experience how to adjust their voices for different acoustics, since theater acoustics tend to be more dry than a church's live, resonant sound. And because the theater had access to a piano (unlike many Italian churches, who forego pianos for organs or other instruments because cold weather makes pianos expensive and time-consuming to maintain), the students also were able to include songs with piano accompaniment, much to their (and pianist Kent Helwig's) delight.

Though gorgeous, the Teatro Communale stage was small for a group of 140, but Scott Melvin made magic with his carefully planned "human tetris," beginning with the hand bell choir entering the theater from the back and playing several pieces at the front of the stage, followed by a rotating combination of singers (just girls, just boys, just Chamber Choir) positioning themselves at different parts of the stage, and concluding with singers surrounding the audience and filling the aisles for an inspired concert-in-the-round experience. Highlights of the night's program included a lively, unusual African piece performed by the men that had even the two grey-habited nuns in the audience bobbing their heads; the Chamber Singers' rendition of "Battle of Jericho," including a gorgeous soprano solo; and "Set me as a Seal" hich director Scott dedicated to his "dear sweet wife and little girls," who watched the show lovingly from a theater box on the second floor. Another show-stopper for audience and performers was the finale, "My God is a Rock," which Kirina S. says always "feels very communal."
The small but appreciative crowd gave the performers a standing ovation, and many of the parents on the tour presented their children with roses and chocolates they'd purchased earlier in town. All were smiling as they took pictures in the gorgeous theater before packing up the buses and heading towards dinner, sleep, and another exciting day on Italy tour that started on March 24. But many of the parents' smiles were bittersweet.

"Kirina is graduating this year," said Chamber singer's mom Karen. When speaking about getting to spend this time touring Italy with her daughter and sharing the choir experience, she teared up. "I know how special this is."
Here is an Incantato Impression Slideshow from the concert in Todi