Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Upland High School Choirs Performance Tour 2011 to Germany and Prague

Welcome to the Incantato blog for the 2011 Upland High School Performance Tour. This is the first itinerary and thus very much a work in progress. Details are subject to change as this journey becomes more and more your tour and to enhance the overall experience. Enjoy!

DAY 1 Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Overnight flight to Germany

DAY 2 Wednesday, June 15
Willkommen in Berlin
Upon arrival in Berlin, meet your Incantato Tour Manager and explore the German capital city followed by check-in and welcome dinner.

DAY 3 Thursday, June 16
City Tour & ChorVesper
After a guided tour of Berlin’s many highlights featuring the Reichstag, the remains of the Berlin Wall, Charlottenburg Castle, etc., the UHS Choirs are the featured guest performers for the ChorVesper at the renowned Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche.

DAY 4 Friday, June 17
School Visit & Castle Party
Visit a German High School for a musical and cultural exchange, then head north to join the ChorFreude Festival and step back in time as you visit and celebrate the official re-opening of Castle Mirow.

DAY 5 Saturday, June 18
High Mass & Castle Concert
UHS will be the featured guest performers for a special ChorFreude service, then present a concert at a castle/palace, followed by a get together with other choirs and local youth.

DAY 6 Sunday, June 19
In Bach‘s Footsteps - Recital & Concert
Today is dedicated to composer J.S. Bach, beginning with a stop in Leipzig for a visit of and recital at Thomaskirche, and then continue to Arnstadt where a local guide will tell you all about Bach’s life here prior to a special highlight concert at his wedding church in nearby Dornheim, followed by an official reception.

DAY 7 Monday, June 20
Eisenach & Wartburg
Just a short drive away is Bach‘s Birthplace and Museum in the charming city of Eisenach. After a visit, recital and guided tour, explore the Wartburg Fortress where Martin Luther was once imprisoned. Return to Arnstadt for an exchange with local youth and overnight.

DAY 8 Tuesday, June 21
Via Dresden to Chlumec
Stop in beautiful Dresden, often referred to as the Florence of the North, for a visit of the famous Frauenkirche. Then for a small town experience like no other, head to beautiful Chlumec, where the mayor himself is the choir director. Exchange dinner & rehearsal.

DAY 9 Wednesday, June 22
Napoleonic Battle & Concert
After the re-enactment of this historical battle, the UHS Choirs present a televised concert in the marvelous Parish Church of Chlumec before continuing to Prague for a walking tour of the historic city center, dinner, and overnight.

DAY 10 Thursday, June 23
Prague in-depth & Concert
See more of Prague’s highlights with a local guide including a visit to the Smetana Museum and - if interested - nearby Theresienstadt. Finale concert opportunity in the evening.

DAY 11 Friday, June 24

Prague Leisure Day & Cruise Party
Experience Prague at your pace under the guidance of your tour manager, then gather for a special dinner followed by a sunset farewell cruise party on the Moldau river.

DAY 12 Saturday, June 25
Return flight to the US with memories to last a lifetime.

• A series of up to four professionally organized and
promoted formal concerts plus participation in High Masses/Services & recitals in magnificent venues just for your choir
• Educational and entertaining sightseeing
• Participation in the ChorFreude2011 Festival and exchanges with German students, special receptions by local officials
• Plenty of opportunities for cultural immersion
• Entrances to many sights, museums, churches
• Quality hotel accommodations in closer to city center locations & great food

Likely Concert Venues
• Gedächtniskirche —BERLIN
• various venues from Castles and Palaces to
churches and cathedrals —CHORFREUDE
• Thomaskirche (Recitak) —LEIPZIG
• J.S. Bach Traukirche —DORNHEIM
• St. Havel —CHLUMEC
• St. Nicholas Church, St. Ann’s Chapel —PRAGUE
The above listed venues have been carefully selected by Incantato‘s Concert Managers and will be requested for your choir and travel dates. Final confirmation is based on submission of repertoire and recording as well as final approval by the local music directors.

Accommodation & Meals
Incantato‘s Hospitality Managers take pride in working only with pre-inspected hotels that fit your budget and selected restaurants frequented by locals. We promote to stay and eat in typical, ideally locally owned properties for a true immersion into the local cultures. Hearty European breakfasts and dinners are included daily, including a special welcome and farewell meal.

Celebrate the Official Grand Re-opening of the Castle Mirow

In collaboration with the 250th anniversary of Queen Charlotte’s coronation, the officials of Mecklenburg-Strelitz celebrate the grand re-opening of the Queen’s birthplace, the Castle Mirow. The merriment will commence Friday, June 17, 2011, in honor of the Queen and the castle’s historic legacy.

The ChorFreude Festival participants will serve as the special American guests of Mirow’s highest officials. Experience a traditional feast and engage in unique cultural exchanges with the people of Mirow while visiting the royal duchy and birthplace of Queen Charlotte.

“The event in Mirow will be a sort of ‘Festakt zum Krönungsjahr,’ with regional VIPs and a feast at the castle the whole day.”

-Dr. Melanie Wuerz,

Ministery for Culture and Education

The Castle Mirow served as the home of the Dukes of Mecklenburg since 1587. Sophia Charlotte, born May 19, 1744, was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Friederich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince of Mirow, and his wife, Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The future queen’s bloodline reigned over Mirow for centuries. Sophia Charlotte was the granddaughter of Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, by his third wife, Christiane Emilie Antonie, Princess of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen. Her father’s elder half-brother reigned from 1708 to 1753 as Adolf Friederich III.

The children of Duke Charles were all born at the Castle Mirow, a modest citadel comparable to a large country estate. The daily life at Mirow favored that of the family of a simple English country gentleman rather than prestige and royalty. The children practiced needlework, embroidery, and lace-making. The children were raised by the careful hand of their mother, with admirable education and grounded religious principles. They received further education by a Lutheran minister by the name of M. Gentzner who offered detailed knowledge of botany, mineralogy, and science. Sophia Charlotte ultimately developed a lifelong appreciation for botany and the performing arts.

Sophia Charlotte went on to fulfill an arranged, yet happy and faithful marriage, to King George III of the United Kingdom, who was attracted to her charm, intelligence, good humor, and sparkling eyes. Although the Queen spent her entire adult life serving the United Kingdom, her legacy prevails over the region of Mirow.

The city of Mirow lies on the southern shore of Lake Mirow, in the heart of the Mecklenburg Lake District. A calm oasis near the German Baltic Coast, Mirow is roughly translated to mean “peace town.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Travel Insurance

Incantato Tours strongly recommend getting travel insurance for your upcoming journey.
Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage etc.
Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online and can you do so with your credit cards and also select the option that is best for you.

In the meantime, have a look at the most comprehensive coverage option The Protect Assist Gold below.

Protect Assist (Gold) -
Comprehensive Travel Protection for the World Traveler
  • Trip Cancellation
  • JUST ADDED! - Trip Cancellation due to employment loss or layoff
    if employed with the same employer 1 year or longer
  • Trip Interruption and Travel Delay
  • Emergency Medical and Emergency Medical Transportation
  • Baggage and Travel Document Protection
  • Baggage Delay and Lost Baggage Tracking
  • NEW - Cancel For Any Reason option now available
  • NEW - Cancel For Work Reasons option now available
  • NEW - Children age 17 and under covered at no additional cost
  • IMPROVED -Trip Cancellation limit increased to $100,000 (from $15,000),
  • IMPROVED - Trip Interruption coverage increased to 150% of Trip Cost
  • IMPROVED - Travel Delay required hours reduced to 5 hours (from 12)

ProtectAssist special features:
  • Best coverage for Weather Related Cancellations
  • Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Waiver*
  • Default/Bankruptcy Protection*
  • $50,000 Flight Accident Insurance*
  • 24-Hour "LiveTravel" Travel Agency
  • Emergency Cash Transfers
  • Identity Theft Restoration

* These additional benefits apply If you are purchasing within 15 days of making your initial trip deposit or payment, however, coverage may still be purchased at any time up to 24 hours prior to departure.
Increase your coverage with these valuable additions to your Protect Assist Plan:

Cancel For Any Reason – 50%
reimbursement of nonrefundable expenses if you cancel your trip for any reason, up to 48 hours prior to your departure. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Cancel For Work Reasons –
Offers additional work-related reasons for cancellation or interruption. Also includes our exclusive “Business Assistant” services if you have work obligations during your travels. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Umbrella Package – Medical Expense limits are doubled and coverage is upgraded to primary. Emergency Medical Transportation limits are doubled and benefits upgraded to take you home or to the hospital of your choice. $25,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage will be added.

Car Rental Collision Coverage – $35,000 in primary coverage. Covers cost of repairs for covered collision damage to a rental car for which the car rental contract holds you responsible. Subject to $250 deductible.

Optional coverages cannot be purchased separately. Must be purchased with base ProtectAssist plan.

Comprehensive non-insurance travel services* automatically included with plan!
With the ProtectAssist plan, every customer also has access to these valuable travel services when they travel:
· Arrangements for last-minute flight changes
· Hotel finder and reservations
· Rental car reservations
· Emergency medical assistance
· BagTrak® -- lost baggage tracking
· Pre-trip health and safety advisories
· Live e-mail and phone messaging to family and friends
· Cash transfers
· Airport transportation
· Golf course reservations
· Event ticketing
· Floral services
· Identity Theft restoration

Business Assistant* (available when Optional Cancel for Work Reasons coverage is purchased)

*Non-Insurance services are provided by AIG Travel Assist.

Citizenship: All Nationalities
Residency: United States
New York, Oregon, and Washington residence please call to purchase
Some rider options are not available and other restrictions may apply

Destination: Worldwide
Ages: All Ages
Max Trip Length: 365 Days

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sightseeing Highlight: Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle is a castle located in the city of Schwerin. For centuries it was the home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg and later Mecklenburg-Schwerin. It currently serves as the seat of the state parliament. First reports of a castle on the location were made by the Sephardic merchant Ibrahim ibn Jacub in 973, who travelled through the Slavic areas of Europe. The palace was acquired by the state in 1918. The Staatliches Museum opened in the former palace in 1921 and mainly exhibits precious pieces from the collection of objets d’art, in the historic rooms. This extensive exhibition was made possible by the loan of 2240 pieces by the Grand Duke on condition that they were exhibited by the state, before the land acquired many of these objects in 1930. The palace was utilized by various institutions between 1943 and 1980 in consequence of World War II but also as a result of the general rejection of works from the second half of the nineteenth century by artistic circles. It was an expression of the change in the acceptance of historicism that restoration was commenced in 1974 of the throne room, whose coat of arms, orders and symbolic decoration symbolize, on one hand, the power of the duke himself and, on the other, the dominion of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This was followed by important inner rooms, such as the genealogical gallery in the ceremonial suite and the dining, tea, flower - rooms and the “Sylvester” gallery in the bel étage. They are witnesses of the high quality of the interior decoration with their excellent marquetry floors and richly sculptured and painted decoration.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's rich musical history

Germany’s beautiful coast-lined region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern offers historic castles, museums, and local culinary specialties plus a rich music history and lots of culture. It is here that one can experience the sound of rich classical music and famous operatic arias, and a lot of this cultural richness is the legacy of one monarch’s love of performing arts.
Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, consort of King George III, devoted much of her time and money to the advancement of music in this region. As a connoisseur and enthusiast of the great George Frideric Handel, Queen Charlotte had an avid interest in all German artists and composers.
In 1764, the Queen summoned, then eight-year-old, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to court in order to perform a special four-hour show to an intimate crowd of the monarch’s closest advisors. Mozart went on to publish six sonatas in 1765, simply entitled Opus 3, which he admirably dedicated to his supporter, Queen Charlotte, on the fifth anniversary of the King’s accession.
Johann Christian Bach, eleventh son of Johann Sebastian Bach, served as Queen Charlotte’s personal music master. To entertain the Queen and her court, the young Bach was often expected to play new and unrehearsed music at first sight.
The Queen not only enjoyed listening to magnificent classical works, but was also herself a talented musician. Johann Christian Bach often accompanied her as she sang various arias. She also fluently played the flute, which she once performed as Mozart provided the accompaniment. The influence of Queen Charlotte’s musical advocacy can be heard today in various forms throughout the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region.
Summertime offers numerous open-air concerts, as well as Germany’s largest classical music festival. Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern occurs from June through September, presenting more than 100 various classical music performances, in venues ranging from established concert halls and country estates, to village churches and family barns. Acts include world renowned musicians, as well as developing young talent. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a great place for anyone who enjoys rich history, beautiful scenery, and classic music!
Photos of young Mozart, Johann Christian Bach, and Festspiele provided by Wikipedia and Ennus Photos.

ChorFreude on the German Baltic Coast 2011

Dear travelers,
To get all the information about the ChorFreude Festival, please visit the blog (http://chorfreude2011.blogspot.com/) or simply click here.

About ChorFreude

ChorFreude is a word play on the German words for choir (chor) and joy (freude) with the inspiration drawn from another German term, Vorfreude which can be loosely translate as happy anticipation.
ChorFreude is also the title for a new international choral festival that showcases a part of my native country that is rather unknown area outside of Germany, yet a gem to be discovered: the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. You may have heard of the rich natural beauty and cultural as well as historical significance of the Baltic Coast, but people rarely make the connection that there is also a German Baltic coast with - and that is most important to be the base for a choral festival - a very strong music making tradition. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) state boasts hundreds for choirs and choral organization with many of them celebrating our countries heritage and traditions.
In the summer of 2011, MV is looking forward to hosting international choral groups for the very first time in quite unique settings. Venues range from ancient churches and haunted castles to elaborately decorated palaces and stunning cathedrals - all with wonderful acoustics and appreciative audiences that can't wait to embrace singers from the new world. ChorFreude is an initiative that was born to reach out and start a friendship between musicians from both sides of the big pond. Supported by the MV State Ministery of Culture and Education as well as the local tourism boards, ChorFreude2011 offers unique opportunities to connect through the universal language of music. Venues that are normally closed to performing groups or only available to professional ensembles will become available such as the former residence of Queen Charlotte in the beautiful village of Mirow.
Ensembles interested in joining the festival will be given multiple opportunities to perform on their own if they wish to do so, as well as meet fellow singers for musical and cultural exchanges. MV also invites friends of the singers to come along to enjoy the performances and experience German hospitality at its finest.
"We will be rolling out the red carpet for our visitors from the US" is a promise that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern made and is striving to keep with special receptions, media coverage for the performances and by doing everything possible to allow the guests to really connect with the locals.