Monday, March 31, 2014

SMCC 2014: Choral exchange in Oviedo with Joven Coro de la Fundación Principe de Asturias, March 31, 2014

The San Marino Chamber Choir, under the direction of Tammi Alderman, and the Joven Coro de la Fundación Principe de Asturias, under the direction of José Ángel Émbil, enjoyed their first day of the Choral Exchange Program in Oviedo.

The exchange took place first at the reseharsal room of the choir, at the Filarmónica Theatre, where many other classical music ensemble also rehearse on a weekly basis.
You have some pictures and videos that hopefully will bring you the same huge smiles we had spending this wonderful time together.

San Marino Chamber Choir rehearsing:

Common rehearsal:

San Marino Chamber Choir and Joven Coro rehearsing "Como la flor", directed by Maestro Émbil

San Marino Chamber Choir and Joven Coro de la Fundación Príncipe de Asturias, rehearsing together "Nelly Bly", directed by Tammi L. Alderman.

At the end of the common rehearsal, both choirs sang for each other different pieces This was a very special and warm moment, that ended up with an African song with choreography.

San Marino Chamber Choir singing: Mata dei Anima Sola, for the Joven Coro

Big applause for San Marino Chamber Choir:

Look what happy faces!!

Joven Coro Principe de Asturias sings for San Marino Chamber Choir:

End song of the exchange today: Joven Coro sings for SMCC:

Arancha Menendez, from the Music Departmente of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, was sharing also these moments with us, and took us to the "pincheo" at the Auditorium right after the concert.
We are looking forward for the second day of Exchange and the Joint Concert that will take place tomorrow at the Auditorio of Siero.

Muchas gracias Maestro Émbil, Arancha y Fundación for this wonderful exchange!
Muchas gracias Maestra Alderman and San Marino Chamber Choir!

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SMCC 2014: San Marino Chamber Choir: Oviedo Joint Concert on the media: some links

Dear friends, family and singers from San Marino Chamber Choir,

As part of Incantato promotion, we are please to share with you some links and media info on San Marino Chamber Choir Joint Concert with Joven Coro de la Fundación Príncipe de Asturias.
Please click on each screen picture to acces to the original media.

The Concert will take place on Tuesday, April 1, at 8pm at the Auditorio of Siero.

Prince of Asturias Foundation

Cultural Agenda Di donde Spain

La Nueva España, the most important media in Asturias, Oviedo.

Cultural agenda Cierra por Fuera

Cultural agenda Asturias
Townhall agenda


El Comercio, second most important media in Asturias

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SMCC 2014 Concert Overview for Incantato Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal: "Chants of the World"

The San Marino Chamber Choir, under the direction of Tammi Alderman, will be presenting their concert "Chants of the world - Cantos del Mundo - Cantos do Mundo" during their Incantato Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal in Spring 2014.

You are all invited to join us at each venue, performance, and Joint Concert that will take place during the Performance Tour. Here you have an overview of all them.
For more information on each venue, please check the links.

MADRID, Sunday, March 30, 7 pm
MASS at Catedral de la Almudena, Madrid
The San Marino Chamber Choir will be the featured choir at the imposing  "La Almudena", as "madrileños" like to call the Cathedral of Madrid, on Sunday, March 30, at 7 pm.
The principle church of the Diocese of Madrid, the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, is a relatively modern building, which was started in 1883 and was not completed until 1993.

LEÓN, Monday, March 31, 1 pm
RECITAL at Catedral de León
The San Marino Chamber Choir was granted permission to present a special recital at the marvellous Catedral de León, the gothic masterpiece in Leon, Spain.
The Cathedral of Leon has existed for over 800 years. The Pulchra Leonina, as it was called for its outstanding beauty, is a remarkable visit for travelers, artist, archeologists and pilgrims, and a main stop along the Camino de Santiago - Way of St. James.

OVIEDO, Tuesday, April 1, 8 pm
JOINT CONCERT with Joven Coro de la Fundación Príncipe de Asturias
Teatro-Auditorio de Siero
San Marino Chamber Choir and Joven Coro de la Fundación Principe de Asturias (Youth Choir of the Prince of Asturias Foundation) will offer a Joint Concert as a wonderful finale to their Choral Exchange after the 2-day program together, at the very Auditorium of Pola de Siero, Asturias.
Before, the San Marino Chamber Choir will enjoy a Reception at Grado Townhall, and a special meeting with High School students.

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Wednesday, April 2, 7:30 pm
MASS at Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

The San Marino Chamber Choir will sing Mass at Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, which is not only the most outstanding building of Romanesque art in Spain, but also the final destination of all the Ways of St. James - Camino de Santiago, which, during centuries, have brought Christendom’s pilgrims to the apostle’s tomb.

PORTO, Thursday, April 3, 7 pm
CONCERT at Monumental Church Igreja do Sâo Francisco
The San Marino Chamber Choir will present their "Chants of the World" repertoire at this outstanding temple, a must-see monument that amazes all visitors, and a cultural reference of the second most important city of Portugal.

LISBON, Saturday, April 5, 3 pm
JOINT CONCERT with Coro Musaico
Main Hall - Salâo Nobre do Conservatòrio Nacional
San Marino Chamber Choir will enjoy a Choral Exchange with the Coro Musaico, whose members are students of the National Conservatory of Portugal, on Saturday April 5th- followed by a Joint Concert. The Choral Concert will take place at 3pm, as the highlight concert during the 3-days cultural festival "Conservatòrio Sai Na Rúa".

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Travel Tip: Frequently asked questions

What should everyone carry at all times, their real passport or a photo copy?
Ideally, your passport should be on you at all times. Please be “street-smart” and don’t wave it around for all to see of course. Photocopies of the passport should be packed in your suitcase, available in your e-mail and Incantato should have a copy as well.

Is the tap water safe to drink?
The tap water is safe in many areas, although we would recommend to buy bottled water. 

Do you have recommendations or suggestions on the type of power adapter needed and what voltage?
Electricity in Europe comes out of the wall socket at 220 volts alternating at a 50 cycles per second. In the US, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. Not only the voltages and frequencies, but the sockets themselves are different. Adapters and converters may be found at Target, Walmart and radio shack etc.
What is the average meal cost? How much money should you bring?
As long as you are wise about your choices, meals can easily be 15 Euro or less. You don’t have to go to sit down restaurants to get decent food. But when you do want to sit down, you should check the menu outside to see if they have a "menu special" or "tourist menu" - you can get an entrée, dessert and a drink for a set price. 

What is the size limit and number of items for a carry-on?
You may have 1 carry-on bag - it must be able to fit either under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. We highly recommend something simple and easier to use such as a backpack. 

What are the airline carry-on container regulations?
No containers holding more that 3ozs of liquid is allowed in the carry-on luggage. They also must be in a plastic zip-lock bag.

What has the best exchange rate, using a debit card to pull money out or exchanging US currency?
By far the best way is to use your debit card. Most banks only charge around $2 per withdraw and they also take care of the exchange rate for you. You do need a 4 digit pin and also let your bank know that you are travelling abroad. DO NOT BRING TRAVELLERS' CHECKS!

What is the approximate exchange rate right now?
It’s about $1.37 to 1 EUR (March 2014).

What happens if someone gets injured while in tour? Medical care and cost wise? Do they need a medical consent form for treatment?
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance. You may find a link to our recommended partner on this blog.

Travel Tip: Money Matters

Dear SMCC travelers, family and friends,

We all know money is a delicate subject. The best way to use your money during your upcoming Spain & Portugal Performance Tour 2014 with Incantato Concert Tours is to have a debit or credit card. Paying with these cards allows you to minimize cash needs and also allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. The fee differs between banks. Be sure to call your bank before your departure to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account. The debit cards given by the bank has the compatibility of Visa, MasterCard, however, Visa is the most widely accepted worldwide. 

If you bring cash, you can exchange it but you will lose more money as they charge for their services. 
Please keep in mind that most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore. Also, be prepared to pay for water in restaurants/ bars and a little fee for restroom use (usually 0,50 EUR). 

We suggest you have some spending money available and our recommendation is around 20 US-Dollar per day for the meals not included, snacks, drinks, postcards, some souvenirs. It is not imperative that you have this amount of money. There are many ways to lower your expenses such as:

  • Most restaurants abroad have menus outside, so you can check their price range before you enter it.
  • Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and also better prices.
  • Bring your own water bottle. Most places have safe tap water to fill up with.
  • Buy food from the "convenient" stores. You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal.
  • Hop around for souvenirs. Many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.

Last but not least, there are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why most Europeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.

Last but not least, remember that your Incantato Tour Manager is with you pretty much 24/7. The guide is there to help you make the right choices abroad and answer all the questions you may have.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Travel Tip: What to pack?

Dear members of the San Marino Chamber Choir, parents and guests,
As your departure for your 2014 performance tour comes closer and closer, Incantato Tours provides you with different travel tips to make it easier for you to get ready for your trip.

For most people, packing for a trip is the most difficult part. The solution for many is to just pack as 
much as you possibly can into your suitcase and backpack, but as a colleague explains it:
"You'll be thanking me later when you don't break your back from having to carry everything on your own. Don't do it!" Her advice: "Pack as lightly as you can. The best way to get it all to fit nicely into your suitcase is to fold it nicely and then roll it tightly. It can all fit into your bag like a puzzle."
Keep in mind, however, that many cathedrals have a dress code and will not allow you to walk in if you are wearing tank tops or shorts. A scarf is a good solution to this code. And shorts should always go to your knees (both for Ladies and Gents).
Here are a few things that we think are essential to have to be comfortable with what the weather brings and with the weight of your bag - remember, we allow only one checked bag per person and a small carry-on, such as a back pack or purse.

A sample packing list (just a suggestion!)
* Rain jacket, maybe with fleece insert
* Umbrella
* An adapter plug/converter (if bringing electronic devices)
* Camera and batteries or charger with adapter
* At least two pair of jeans/pants, ladies may want to bring a couple skirts or dresses too
* A sweater or two
* Plenty of shirts, including a polo or two and at least two dress shirts (Europeans dress much more formal than Americans)
* Plenty of undergarments and socks for daily changes
* A watch, make-up and jewelry if applicable (keep all of your valuables in your carry-on)
* Choir music and attire
* Don't forget shoes, we recommend a maximum of three pairs (tennis shoes, good everyday shoes, dress shoes). Bring nice concert shoes, but make sure that you will be able to walk long distances in them. Europeans do not wear flip flops other than to the pool or at the beach.
* Put all liquids that are in your carry-on into a zip-lock bag. And remember the 311 rules.
* All scissors, fingernail clippers, etc. are better packed in your check-in luggage along with liquids over 3 ounces. Bring enough contact lense solution and prescription medication that you may need for the whole duration of the trip.

If you forget anything there are plenty of shops where you can by shampoo, toothpaste, etc. 
And remember, your Incantato Tour Manager is 24/7 there to help you!
Happy packing and bon voyage!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SMCC 2014: Incantato Tour Poster and Concert Card

Wonderful San Marino Chamber Choir and Director Tammi Alderman, sure deserve great marketing. Spain and Portugal are awaiting your arrival!

Concert Card for San Marino Chamber Choir Performance Tour 2014.

Incantato proudly presents the concert posters for Oviedo, Porto and Lisbon concerts for the San Marino Chamber Choir 2014 Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fado, singing blue in Portugal

A shawl, a guitar, a voice and heartfelt emotion. These are the ingredients of Fado, the celebrated form of world music that captures what it is to be Portuguese. Fado is probably the oldest urban folk music in the world and represents the heart of the Portuguese soul. Listening to Fado is like visiting Lisbon, meeting the Portuguese people, those that once upon a time faced the unknown sea. This type of music that connected nobles, vagabonds and seafarers, is still nowadays a shared passion by all Portuguese. Fado has been recognized last November 2011 by the UNESCO as Inmaterial              Humankind Patrimony.

Fado can be performed by men or women, although the raw emotion of the female fadista is nearly always preferred. Dressed in black with a shawl draped over her shoulders, a fadista stands in front of the musicians and communicates through gesture and facial expressions. The hands move, but the body remains stationary. It’s a solemn and majestic performance.

Traditionally accompanied by the Portuguese guitar, there are many ways of singing the Fado. It can range from the faster Fado corrido of Mouraria, to the impromptu singing known as ‘desgarrada’, or the mournful music of the students of Coimbra. And the well known Fado Vadio (Vagrant Fado), which is characterized by the place where it was born and sang for so long, the streets!

There are two main varieties of Fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Some of their characteristics are that in Lisbon it is always sung by a solo performer on the contrary, in Coimbra it is often performed by groups of male university students. Both are accompanied by two guitarists, one playing the melody on a twelve-stringed Portuguese guitar and the other supplying the rhythm on the six-stringed viola. In Coimbra we find the usual Fado’s sad style, but with different motivations and also based in the medieval songs called trovas.
Inspiration for Fado can come from almost any source, with predominance of themes like: destiny, deep-seated feelings, disappointments in love, the sense of sadness and longing for someone who has gone away, the sea, the life of sailors and fishermen, and last but not least “Saudade” (one of the main themes used in Fado, that means a kind of longing).


The word Fado comes from the Latin fatum, which means fate or destiny. Fado, in a certain way, represents better than anything the spirit of the Portuguese people: the belief in destiny as something that overwhelms us and from which we can't escape, the domination of the soul and heart over reason, which leads to acts of passion and despair, and reveal such a black and beautiful sorrow. There are many theories about the origin of Fado, like:
  1. Fado has its origin in Moorish songs; Moors kept living near Lisbon even after the Christian take-over. The melancholy of those songs and the referral in many lyrics to Mouraria strengthen this theory.
  2. Fado arrived to Portugal with the sailors returning from their long trips (1822), under the form of Lundum (the music of the Brazilian slaves). Lundum only after a while started modifying until it became the Fado. The first lundum songs related to the sea and the lands far beyond them, where the slaves lived. Then, one of Amália's Fados, called "The Black Boat" talks precisely of a senzala (place where the slaves were kept).
  3. The melancholy character of Fado evolved from Portuguese seafarers who sang of home during their long absences at sea.
  4. Fado was born in the Middle Ages. As cantigas de amigo (friend songs) are a good example of it. They were love songs dedicated to a woman and have great similarities with diverse subjects of the Fado of Lisbon. Also with the Fado of Coimbra, where the students intone their songs beneath the window of the loved one (serenades).

Fado became popular thanks to the singer Maria Severa who lived in the first half of the 19th century and died at the age of 26. She made this type of song famous in aristocratic circles through her romance with the Count of Vimioso. Her life later became the subject of Portugal's first sound movie in 1931. To this day, female performers wear a black shawl in her memory and her life story has been the influence of several Fado songs, poems, novels, and plays.

By the early twentieth century, Fado had become a fixture in the everyday life of Lisbon’s working class. It was played for pleasure and also to relieve the pain of life. Fadistas, skilled singers that performed at the end of the day and long into the night. Fado was the earthly music of taverns, brothels and street corners mainly in Alfama, Mouraria, Bairro Alto and Madragoa. Fado reached its golden era in the first half of the 20th century, when the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar (1926-1968) forced the fado performers to become professional and confined them to sing in the fado houses and the so called "revistas", a popular genre of "vaudeville". The main names of this period were: Alfredo Marceneiro, Amália Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha and Armandinho and Jaime Santos (guitar players).

From the 1940’s until 1999 Fado was shown to the world through the voice of one amazing artist, Amália Rodrigues, the towering figure of Portuguese fado. In the 20th century she made Fado known beyond Portugal, performing all over Europe, Japan, South America, and even in the United States, in New York's "La Vie en Rose" in the 1950s. When she died the country’s prime minister called for three days of national mourning, and as a national icon, she was buried in Lisbon's National Pantheon.
Amália has found a worthy successor in Mariza, who takes Fado to an even wider audience. Other very important names of Fado are Maria da Fé, Hermínia Silva, Argentina Santos and Carlos do Carmo.

Nowadays in Portugal, the younger generation respects fado but isn’t dedicated to it. Contemporary fado musicians like Misia have introduced the music to performers such as Sting. Cristina Branco, Dulce Pontes, Camané, Mafalda Arnauth and Katia Guerreiro are other sonant artists that keep Fado alive, and brought with them a new look to the traditional song, occasionally reviving 19th century Fado. Amendoeira.

And also please note that despite Fado being a symbol of the Portuguese nationality, it is, by no means, the national song. From region to region, Portugal possesses several rich and typical folklores of each geographical area that have nothing to do with Fado. Perhaps we can, if you want, to say that this will be the form of folklore of Lisbon, Oporto and Coimbra. However, it is appreciated and recognized in all the Portuguese country as a symbol. This is the spirit of fado, the expression of a collective soul, made of each one's soul.

Sources: Clube de fado, www.fado.comHistoria do Fado, Pinto do Carvalho, A history of the Portuguese Fado , Paul Vernon,…

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SMCC 2014: Incantato proudly presents San Marino Chamber Choir at Sao Francisco Church (Porto), on Thursday April 3, 7 pm

The San Marino Chamber Choir, under the direction of Tammi Alderman, will present their "Chants of the World - Cantos do Mundo"  Choral Concert at the Igreja Monumental do Sao Francisco de Porto, on Thursday, April 3, at 7 pm.

This outstanding temple is a must-see monument that amazes all visitors, and a cultural reference of the second most important city of Portugal. The Igreja de Sao Francisco is a perfect example of rococo or late Baroque architecture: its golden-covered pillars and columns are extremely ornate with cherubs, rose garlands, fruits, and animals.

The St Francis Church was built between
1383 and 1410, which can be recognized in its
strict gothic facade. During the 17th and 18th centuries the temple underwent a huge baroque decoration renewal, which gave place to an interior of gilded wood carvings and earthly designs made of gold. Amidst all these, the remarkable Tree of Jesse, which is a visual representation of Jesus’ family tree, which traces its way back to Jesse, the father of David.

Adding to the experience are the catacombs beneath the church’s three interior chapels. These catacombs house the church’s small museum that keeps artifacts from the former Franciscan monastery. Nowadays the Igreja Monumental do Sao Francisco de Porto is open as Museum and Monument, and also classical music concerts are often held here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

SMCC 2014: Choral Exchange and Concert: San Marino Chamber Choir with the Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional of Portugal, Lisboa, Saturday, April 5.

San Marino Chamber Choir will enjoy a Choral Exchange with the students of the National Conservatory of Portugal, during their Incantato Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal, on Saturday April 5th. The Choral Concert will take place at 3pm.

The Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional - School of Music of the National Conservatory of Portugal - is based in the capital city Lisbon, hosting a regular program of concerts and masterclasses for the students and the citizens, to increase the musical and cultural level of the city.
The Escola de Música mission is to qualify students through a solid education in its multiple facets: humanistic, scientific, historical, ethical, ecological, aesthetic, artistic and musical; empowering them for a professional option as musicians.

The Coro Musaico - Musaico Choir, under the direction of Tiago Marques, will meet San Marino Chamber Choir for the choral exchange and Joint Concert that San Marino Chamber Choir and Musaico will present at the Conservatory Concert Hall at 3pm on Saturday April 5..
Coro Musaico runs this year a light music programme of choice, but their repertoire comprises all kinds of styles. Here you can see Musaico on a performance celebrating the Day of Song, under the direction and solo from Maestro Tiago Marques.

The Coro Musaico is one of the choirs under the Escola de Música do Conservatorio. Here you can watch the Orquestra de Câmara and the Coro Géral performing together Vivaldi's Gloria.

The creation of the Conservatory in Lisbon is directly linked to the action of Portuguese musician João Domingos Bomtempo (1775-1842), known primarily as a pianist and composer, but also as an excellent educator. Following the Liberal victory (1834), he gave substance to his plans to reform the teaching of music in Portugal.

The Royal Conservatory of Lisbon remained basically unchanged until 1901, with a major reform headed by Augusto Machado (1845-1924), Director of the School of Music from 1901 to 1910, who guided the Conservatory in the ways of modernity, updating the curricula and repertoires of various instruments. 

Currently, the School of Music of the National Conservatory is identified with the traditional Conservatory institution, remaining in the same building of Caetanos and continuing to be a major player in the Portuguese musical training. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SMCC 2014: San Marino Chamber Choir sings for Mass at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, April 2, at 7,30 pm.

The San Marino Chamber Choir will sing Mass at Catedral de Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday, April 2, at 7:30 pm.

The Catedral de Santiago de Compostela is the most outstanding building of Romanesque art in Spain. It is also the final destination of all the Ways of St. James - Camino de Santiago, which, during centuries, have brought Christendom’s pilgrims to the apostle’s tomb. And that is not all; it is the starting point for the construction of the monumental city of Santiago de Compostela, that arose in a sacred forest at the End of the World, with the vocation of becoming a Holy City and a World Heritage City.
Today, with a thousand years of existence experienced at the pace of Compostela’s extraordinary history, the Cathedral reveals itself to be a complex series of spaces covering an area of around 10,000 square metres, capable of rewarding with its powerful spirituality the faith of travellers, and with its beauty visitors from all over the world.

Construction on the cathedral was begun in 1075 in the reign of Alfonso VI, and sponsored by Bishop Diego Peláez. The work took place under the direction of Master Esteban on the remains of old churches built in devotion to the saint. 
It was built with three naves and a floor plan in a Latin cross, and had an area of about 8300 m². Its countless extensions have added numerous architectural styles to the building (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque and neoclassical). 

The La Gloria portico is the main entrance, and was created by Master Mateo in 1188. It features 200 figures referring to the Apocalypse, and the figure of Saint James the apostle appearing to welcome the pilgrims, supported on a column rising from the mullion. 
The Obradoiro façade of the cathedral is the work of Fernando de Casas y Novoa, and is considered to be one of the supreme expressions of the Spanish Baroque. The main altar is also in the Baroque style, and the crypt of Saint James the apostle lies directly beneath.

The Cathedral of Santiago has different and beloved traditions, that both locals and pilgrims arriving each year graciously fulfill: a hand on the St. James pillar, a head on the Master Mateo sculpture, the botafumeiro incense burner swinging... distinctive and unique usages with a deep spiritural or cultural meaning that are kept for centuries. We are sure you will discover and enjoy them during the visit to Santiago, and we will present them here soon.
For more information and further posts, you can suscribe to this blog. We will keep updating!