Thursday, March 31, 2011

First big tour stop for the La Canada High School Choirs: Magical Venice

  • Venice has been described by the "Times Online" as being one of Europe's most romantic cities.
  • Italian baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is Venice' most famous son.
  • The city has an average of 50,000 tourists a day
  • The Republic of Venice seized a number of locations on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade.
  • By the late thirteenth century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce.
  • The newly-invented German printing press spread rapidly throughout Europe in the fifteenth century, and Venice was quick to adopt it. By 1482 Venice was the printing capital of the world, and the leading printer was Aldus Manutius, who invented the concept of paperback books that could be carried in a saddlebag.
  • The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wood piles, which were imported from the mainland. Under water, in the absence of oxygen, wood does not decay.
  • The city has been a setting for numerous films and music videos, such as the James Bond series "From Russia with Love", "Moonraker" and "Casino Royale". Furthermore you might have seen a Venice location in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "The Italian Job", "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", and Madonna's song "Like a Virgin".
  • Venetian cuisine is obviously characterized by fish, but not only: the products of the gardens of the islands, the mainland rice, game, fishing in the northern Adriatic and polenta.

Second La Canada Choir Group arrived in Venice too

Just a quick update on the second flight group that also arrived safely in Venice on Thursday evening and was welcomed by their Incantato Tourmanager Eloisa. Together with the travelers that landed a few hours earlier, the singers from La Canada High School under the direction of Mr. Jeff Brookey plus their family and friends enjoyed their welcome dinner and then turned in for a first night on Italian soil. "Everything is okay, even all the luggage made it", commented Ambra from the Incantato Tours Italy Team this morning. Next stop for the group is the magical island of Venice.

Incantato presents La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers at St. Mark's Basilica (Venice) on Friday, April 1 at 6:45 PM

The La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers from La Canada, California, will sing High Mass at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice on Friday, April 1, 2011 at 6:45PM.

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on Piazza San Marco adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the "chapel" of the Venetian rulers, and not the city's cathedral. Since 1807 it has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century onward the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).
The original Saint Mark's was a temporary building in the Doge's Palace, constructed in 828, when Venetian merchants stole the supposed relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria. This was replaced by a new church on its present site in 832; the first St. Mark's Campanile (bell tower) dates from the same century. The new church was burned in a rebellion in 976, rebuilt in 978 and again to form the basis of the present basilica since 1063.
The spacious interior of the building with its multiple choir lofts was the inspiration for the development of a Venetian polychoral style among the composers appointed maestro di cappella at St. Mark's. The style was first developed by a foreigner, Adrian Willaert, and was continued by Italian organists and composers, Andrea Gabrieli along with his nephew Giovanni Gabrieli, and later Claudio Monteverdi.

First group landed safely in Italy

The first group from the La Canada High School Choirs traveling to Venice with Lufthansa German Airlines landed safe and sound in Italy and was welcomed by Incantato Tour Manager Ambra. We will update you soon about the second traveling group on Swiss Air. Arriverderci from Italy, your Incantato Team

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Travel Tips: Italian phrases for April Fool's Day

Like in the States, April 1 in Italy is a whimsical holiday based on practical jokes. Called Pesce d' Aprile - literally meaning "April's fish" but referring to an Italian idiom that means "April Fool's Trick" - the holiday can be celebrated with everything from childish schoolyard tricks to false communiques from government offices.

Since April 1 will be the first full day of activities for La Canada, we thought it might be fun to include a list of Italian phrases related to the holiday, courtesy of (click on the links for audio of how the phrases sound in Italian):

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Three Movies, two Meals and lots of Snacks

We wish all the travelers of the La Canada High School Choirs 2011 Italy Performance Tour a save journey as they embark on two different airlines from Los Angeles to Venice. Lufthansa and Swiss are the transportation partners for the group flights. As the students, chaperones, their families and friends cross the ocean overnight from the US to Europe, plenty of movies will be played and the board restaurants will be serving dinner, snacks and breakfast. We wish all of you a very safe and relaxing journey and arriverderci a Venezia - we see you soon in Venice. Your Incantato Tours Team - Ambra, Eloisa (on tour) - Ellen, Marti, Sandra and Ted to name just a few of us ; )

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New additions to your Incantato Tour Blog!

Dear La Canada Travelers,
We've added some new, important, and exciting details to your Incantato Tour Blog. Please click the links below to learn more about your upcoming journey. Be sure to check back regularly for further updates and browse the rest of the blog for fun destination information.

Travel information:

Confirmed performance venues:
Hotel accommodations:

Enjoy the tour blog? Then become a follower!

Dear Singers, Family and Friends of the La Canada High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, we sure hope you enjoy the blog and recommend that you become a follower by clicking on the respective option in the right side bar of this webpage. As a follower, you will never miss an update and once the group heads over to Europe there should be lots of news coming your way. You can also leave comments which are like virtual greetings. Our tour team will pass those messages to the travelers on tour whenever possible. Everyone at Incantato Tours wishes you well as you prepare for this exciting journey under the leadership of Mr. Jeff Brookey.

La Canada HS Italy Performance Tour - Updated Itinerary

Welcome to the Incantato blog for the 2011 La Canada HS Performance Tour to Italy. This is the updated itinerary and still a work in progress. While the dates are now set and flights are booked, some details are subject to change as this journey becomes more and more your tour and to enhance the overall experience. Enjoy!

DAY 1 Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Overnight flight to Italy...
... in two groups: Lufthansa leaves LAX at 2:50 PM and Swiss Air leaves LAX at 7:25 PM.

DAY 2 Thursday, March 31
Venice Arrival & Orientation
Benvenuti in Bella Italy. After meeting your Incantato Tour Manager and transfer to the hotel, enjoy a relaxing welcome dinner at your hotel. The group will stay at Hotel Delfino in nearby Mestre on March 31 and April 1.

DAY 3 Friday, April 1
Venice in depth and  Mass
Take a private boat ride, then enjoy a guided city tour of Venice’s many highlights: See the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace, visit St. Mark’s Basilica where the choir will sing High Mass in the evening, continue to the Rialto Bridge and market. Afternoon at leisure for optional museum visits and shopping. Dinner at Al Giardinetto Castello.

DAY 4 Saturday, April 2
Scenic route to Tuscany
Drive to Tuscany with a stop in Verona for sightseeing. Then continue on to beautiful Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and Miracle Square. Tonight’s dinner is served at a rustic farmhouse, Fattoria Il Poggio, known as an agriturismo and will feature local products as well as tastings of olive oil for all and wines for the adults prior to getting to the spa town of Montecatini Terme, a place very much beloved by Verdi. The group will stay at the Grand Hotel Plaza in Montecatini Terme on April 2 and 3.

DAY 5 Sunday, April 3
Florence Visit and Concert at San Lorenzo Church
Drive to nearby Florence for a guided city tour including entrance to the Accademia Museum. Afternoon at leisure for lunch on your own, exploring and shopping. Dinner at Finisterrae. Then get ready for your first formal concert at the Church of San Lorenzo at 8:15 pm together with your friends from JSerra Catholic High School. Overnight in Montecatini.

DAY 6 Monday, April 4
Via Labro and Rieti to Rome

Transfer to Labro to visit the Art Monastery, including a tour and Gregorian chant workshop, followed by a drive to Rieti where you will enjoy a Pizza-making lunch (courtesy of Incantato Tours). There the travelers will enjoy an official reception and perform at the Il Teatro Flavio Vespansiano followed by an exchange with local high school students. Then travel to the Eternal city of Rome where you will have dinner at your hotel. The group will divided and stay at either Hotel Excel Montemario or Villa Maria Regina for the remainder of the tour.

DAY 7 Tuesday, April 5
Vatican Sightseeing and Mass
Enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel this morning. Free time for lunch, individual sightseeing, etc. The choirs sing High Mass at St. Peter‘s Basilica at 5:00 this evening. Dinner at Sico Moro Restaurant.

DAY 8 Wednesday, April 6
Papal Audience & Concert
Attend and sing at the Papal Audience in the Vatican this morning followed by lunch on your own and a guided sightseeing tour of “Ancient Rome” featuring the Coliseum and Roman Forum. Your tour concludes this evening with a concert at the Church of Sant’ Agnese in Agone on beautiful Piazza Navona followed by a fun farewell Roman-style dinner.

DAY 9 Thursday, April 7
Flight to USA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flights in two groups to Los Angeles: Swiss Air leaves at 9:35AM and
Lufthansa leaves at 12:15PM.

Here are some images from the 2010 Western Reserve Academy Tour to Italy: