Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meeting with friends from Home

Bishop Gettelfinger was thrilled to see these three sisters with connections to his Dioecese.
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The Diocese of Evansville experience the Papal Audience mere feet from the Pope

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

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

A brief summary of the last day in Rome from Jeremy Korba

An incredible day.... we got special seating (thanks Bishop) mere feet from the Pope - at the very top towards St. Peters. We were the FIRST and ONLY group to sing for him - and he waved at us twice! Then - a fantastic concert to an overpacked house at St. Agnese in Agone and a great dinner. A perfect last day in Rome. Tomorrow - the journey home.

Thursday, September 30, 2010: Arrivederci bella Italia!

After a whirlwind ten-day tour of beautiful Italy, featuring six different cities and seven performances, the Diocese of Evansville Pilgrimage and Performance Tour has finally come to an end. Following one last night in Rome at the Casa Domitilla, the group waves goodbye and boards the plane back to the States at 12:30PM. These European travelers will have many exciting stories to tell.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More concert impressions from Sant' Agnese in Agone

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See and hear the Evansville Choir at Sant' Agnese in Agone

And then there was a more than full house inside

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The was a large crowd waiting for the Diocesan Choir from Evansville outside

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Impressions from the highlight concert at Sant' Agnese in Agone

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Incantato Tour Manager Barbara and Bishop Gettelfinger

At Sant' Agnese in Agone
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More Incantato Impressions from Evansville at the Vatican

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See and hear the Choir at St. Peter's Basilica

Evansville at St. Peter's - A panorama

Evansville Diocesan Choir at Basilica San Pietro

The 2010 Performance for the Diocesan Tour Choir from Evansville, Indiana culiminated in a highlight performance at the Basilica San Pietro in the Vatican. Director Jeremy Korba's comment: "An amazing day in Rome... Mass at St. Peter's (Bishop Presiding - in Latin), PRIVATE tour of Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, and we got to sing for a while in the chapel. Brought tears to many. Just an incredible journey."

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010: The Diocese of Evansville celebrates their last day in Italy

Today the Diocese of Evansville Pilgrimage and Performance Tour celebrates their very last day in Bella Italia by attending and singing at the morning’s Papal audience at the Vatican, followed by a guided tour of Rome’s most amazing sights, including the Coliseum. The Diocesan Choir presents their final feature European performance with a formal concert at Sant’Agnese in Agone at 7:30PM, before their farewell dinner extravaganza at Nautilus restaurant this evening.
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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010: Welcome to the Eternal City!

Following what Director Jeremy Korba called "an amazingly prayerful, powerful, and musical experience at Saint Francis of Assisi," the Diocesan Choir of Evansville is off to the Eternal City of Rome. The group will begin this morning with an exciting guided tour of Baroque Rome that includes such breathtaking sights as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. 
City facts about Rome:
  • Rome's early history is shrouded in legend. According to Roman tradition, the city was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on 21 April 753 BC.
  • Due to this centrality on many levels, the city has been nicknamed "Caput Mundi" (Latin for "Capital of the World") and "The Eternal City".
  • Its rich artistic heritage and vast amount of ancient, notably architectural and archaeological sites, contribute to the city's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Rome is the third-most-visited tourist destination in the European Union.
  • The city is also an important worldwide hub of the cinematic and filming industry, home to the important and large Cinecittà Studios, which saw the filming of several internationally acclaimed movies as well as television programmes.
  • The Rome metropolitan area has a GDP of €109.4 billion (US$ 149.14), and according to a 2008 study, the city is the world's 35th richest city by purchasing power.
  • The city hosted the 1960 Olympic Games and is also an official candidate for the 2020 Olympic Games.
  • Rome is an important centre for music, and it has an intense musical scene, including several prestigious music conservatories and theatres. It hosts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (founded in 1585), for which new concert halls have been built in the new Parco della Musica, one of the largest musical venues in the world.
  • A Jewish influence in the Italian dishes can be seen, as Jews have lived in Rome since the 1st century BCE. Examples of these include "Saltimbocca alla Romana" - a veal cutlet, Roman-style; topped with raw ham and sage and simmered with white wine and butter - and "Carciofi alla giudia" - artichokes fried in olive oil, typical of Roman Jewish cooking.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010: the Diocesan Choir of Evansville celebrates High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Following their morning tour of Rome, the Evansville Diocesan Choir have the exciting privilege of singing and celebrating High Mass at the historic Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican at 5:00 this evening.
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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010: the Diocese of Evansville Tour enjoy a private Vatican visit and recital in the Sistine Chapel

Following the completion of Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, the Diocese of Evansville travelers conclude their special day today with a private visit to the Vatican, including a featured recital in the astounding Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo's famed frescoes.

Vatican City facts:

Vatican City, officially the State of the Vatican City, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares, and a population of just over 800.
Vatican City is a city-state that came into existence in 1929. It is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main Episcopal see of 1.147 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities even have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, only issues diplomatic and service passports; the state of Vatican City issues normal passports. In both cases the passports issued are very few.
Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the bishop of Rome - the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various nationalities. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes have resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377.

Monday, September 27, 2010: The Diocese of Evansville Choir sings High Mass at St. Francis Basilica

The Diocese of Evansville Choir will sing and celebrate High Mass at St. Francis Basilica at 11:00 this morning, followed by a guided tour of beautiful Assisi.
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.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, September 26: Evansville Diocesan Choir performs at the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence

The Basilica di Santa Croce, Basilica of the Holy Cross, is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy. The Basilica is the world’s largest Franciscan church, notably marked by its sixteen chapels. Construction of the structure was completed in 1294 and Pope Eugene IV consecrated the building in 1442. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by Saint Francis himself. The Diocesan Choir of Evansville will sing and celebrate High Mass at the Basilica di Santa Croce at 6:00PM, followed by a special organ concerto featuring Mark X. Hatfield and soprano soloist Jennifer Korba.

First pictures from Italy - Jeremy Korba's shot from Florence

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saturday, September 25: Welcome to Florence!

The Diocese of Evansville Tour will spend their first full day in Tuscany’s largest city touring its beautiful sights, including the Accademia Museum and Michelangelo’s masterpiece “David.” Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Ranked for the third time by Travel + Leisure magazine as the world’s favorite tourist destination, Florence has plenty to offer. The Evansville travelers are very excited to enjoy some free time in the city today to visit such amazing sights as the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Basilicas of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.
The Diocesan Choir and Bishop have the distinct honor of celebrating the English High Mass at the Duomo in Florence this evening.
Following dinner, the group returns for another evening at the Starhotel Tuscany.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, September 24: High Mass and wine tasting

The Diocese of Evansville Tour waves goodbye to Venice this morning as they head off to beautiful Padova on their way to Florence.
Today the Diocesan choir will sing High Mass and meet with the Franciscan Friars at the Basilica of Saint Anthony.
The Basilica of Saint Anthony, known locally as “il Santo,” lies in the city of Padova in northern Italy. Construction of the church began in 1232, just one year after the death of Saint Anthony, and finally reached completion in 1301. The sanctuary’s expansive domes, a likeness to those of Saint Mark’s Basilica, create an ideal source of rich and full musical acoustics.
Following the mass, the tour continues to Castello di Lispida for a relaxing tasting of authentic Italian wines and a light lunch.
After lunch, the group continues to the Tuscan city of Florence where they will enjoy a comforting night’s stay in the Starhotel Tuscany.

Thursday, September 23, 2010: Evansville Diocesan Choir sings at Saint Mark's Basilica

Incantato Tours proudly presents the first Italy Performance Tour venue for the Diocesan Tour Choir from Evansville, Indiana: the Basilica di San Marco in Venice welcomes the singers on Thursday, September 23 at 6:45 pm.

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, more commonly known as Saint Mark’s Basilica, is a cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice in northern Italy. Located on the Piazza San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica is the city’s most famous church and a prime example of Byzantine architecture. Since 1807, the church has served as the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. The building earned its nickname, “Church of Gold,” for its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power.

The exterior of the basilica consists of three registers: lower, upper, and domes. Five rounded arch portals enveloped by polychrome marble columns create the lower register, which opens into the narthex through bronze-fashioned doors. Romanesque art adorns the rounded ceiling above the central door. The lateral portals feature mosaics preserved from the thirteenth century that tell the stories of Saint Mark’s relics. Statues of Theological and Cardinal Virtues, four Warrior Saints, and Saint Mark watch over the city from the top arches of the upper register. Greek horses face the square from the center of the balcony.

Upon entering, the building’s narthex prepares visitors’ eyes for the suffused atmosphere of the gilded interior. Similarly, the mosaic depictions of Old Testament stories represented on the narthex ceiling prepares worshipers for the New Testament Gospel received within the basilica. Bright mosaics containing gold, bronze, and a variety of brilliant stones decorate the 8000 square meter upper interior of the basilica. The most ancient works boast both Byzantine and Gothic influences. Moving from east to west within the church walls, visitors can contemplate the history of Salvation through the chronological art of the domes.

The spacious interior of the building, with its multiple choir lofts, inspired the development of Venetian polychoral compositional style often utilized by Saint Mark’s appointed maestros.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 22, 2010: Benvenuti to Italy!

The Diocese of Evansville’s Pilgrimage Tour commenced today as the travelers landed safely in Venice at around 9 o’clock this morning. Upon arrival, the group met the tour manager’s assistant before crossing the Freedom Bridge from Venice to the beautiful town of Mestre for free time to explore and stretch their legs.

Following a light lunch at Mestre’s restaurant Corte Sconta, the group transferred to the Villa Pace Park Hotel Bolognese to meet their official Incantato Tour Manager, check into their rooms and relax before their very first European performance.

The Diocese of Evansville Choir will sing and participate in High Mass at 5:30 this evening at the Church Santa Maria Goretti. This exciting first full day concludes with a special welcome dinner at the hotel’s restaurant before a comfortable overnight stay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome aboard Delta!

The Diocese of Evansville's Pilgrimage to Italy is about to take off on one of the world's premier airlines: Delta
While we recommend that you do get some sleep on the transatlantic overnight flight, you are in for several treats such as two warm meals plus two or more recent movies. For more information on the on-board experience, visit Delta's website. The Incantato Tour team wishes you a safe and relaxing flight. See you soon in Italy!