Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two meals and two movies - Welcome aboard SWISS

The Mayfield Senior School is about to take off for their Italy Arts Immersion Tour 2014 with Incantato Concert Tours. Their overnight flight with SWISS will depart today at 8:25 pm from Los Angeles (LAX) and our team wishes them safe travels and a great time in beautiful Italy.

While we recommend that you do get some sleep on the transatlantic overnight flight, you are in for several treats such as hot towels before landing, tasting of different high quality cheeses of Switzerland, in particular the Tête de Moine, Le Gruyère and Appenzeller, at least two warm meals (either vegetarian or meat) served with salad and dessert plus two or more recently released films. Enjoy Oscar winning movies such as Frozen, Gravity or Blue Jasmine on your flight.

For more information on the on-board experience and other news about the airline, visit the SWISS' website.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Learning Italian with Incantato Concert Tours

Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. You may already know that Italian is the first language in which opera singers learn to sing?
It is also an incredibly fun language to speak, full of expressive hand gestures and colorful phrases. Italian words can be rather long (and so poetic), but here is a helpful tip for pronouncing them: most of the time, stress falls on the second-to-last syllable. So “Venezia” is “Ve-NE-zia”; “castello” is “cas-TELL-o”.

Let's start with a few common phrases:
  • Buongiorno - Good morning. Usually said until 4pm. (bwon gee-orno)
  • Buona sera - Good evening. Usually said after 4pm. (bwon-uh say-ruh)
  • Buona notte - Good night. Only used to say goodbye, it is usually said before parting ways after 10pm, or before going to sleep. (bwon-uh no-te)
  • Ciao - Hello or goodbye. A very informal but common greeting.  (chow)
  • Arrivederci - A formal way to say goodbye. Literally means “until we see each other again.” (ah-ree-vay-der-chee)

Other common Italian phrases
  • Per favore - Please 
  • Grazie: Thank you. You may also hear “grazie mille” (literally “a thousand thanks”) to mean many thanks. (grah-tseeay)
  • Prego: You’re welcome (pray-go)
  • Mi chiamo…: My name is… You may also say “Sono….”
  • Non parlo italiano: I don’t speak Italian
  • Parla inglese?: Do you speak English? This is the formal version, but you can also ask parli inglese? if you’d like to be informal.
  • Sì: Yes. Other popular affirmations: va bene (fine), okay. 
  • No: No
  • Dove: Where. You may ask “Dov’è (street or landmark)…?” for directions.
  • Chi: Who
  • Quando: When
  • Cosa: What
  • Perché: Why
  • Excuse me - Mi Scusi (mee skoo-zee)
  • How are you? - Come sta? (koh-may stah)
  • My name is - Mi chiamo (mee kee-ah-mo)
  • What is your name? Come si chiama? (koh-meh see kee-ah-mah)

The Mayfield Senior School departure date gets closer and closer...

Time goes by so fast and today in exactly one week Mayfield Senior School is going to arrive in Italy and meet up with their tour manager Stefania for their Arts Immersion Tour. They will check-in and enjoy their first Italian dinner at their first home away from home Hotel Cavour in beautiful Rieti.

Incantato Concert Tours is very excited for our first group this year to embark to one of our most favorite destinations - Italy. The region of Lazio where Rieti and Rome are located is famous for dishes such as Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Burschetta or Perciatelli all'Amatriciana. What about cooking one of these delicious dishes for your family and friends at home before you leave, as a food introduction to your upcoming MSS Arts Immersion Tour? Buon appetito!

Click here to see the recipe for a delicious, spicy pasta called Perciatelli all'Amatriciana.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mayfield Senior School performs at Saint Peter's Basilica on March 27, 2014 at 5:00pm

Now if that is not the best way to start "dreaming" about the Mayfield Senior Arts Immersion Tour 2014, by knowing already that the choir will be performing mass in the most important Catholic cathedral on March 27, 2014 at 5:00pm?

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.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Travel Tip: What to pack for your Incantato performance tour?

Dear MSS students, family and friends,

As your departure for your Arts Immersion Tour 2014 gets closer, Incantato Tours provides you with some travel tips to make it easier for you to get ready for your tour.

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).

Below 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, airlines allow only one checked bag per person and a small carry-on.

A sample packing list (just a suggestion):

  • Rain jacket, maybe with fleece insert
  • Umbrella
  • Gloves, scarf, hat (if you tend to feel chilly)
  • An adapter plug/converter (if you are bringing electronic devices, please check if they are compatible, most new devices are)
  • 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, (or three, if you tend to feel chilly).
  • 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 (carry on any valuables at all times)
  • 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 by TSA  Transportation Security Administration.
  • All scissors, fingernail clippers, etc. are better packed in your check-in luggage along with liquids over 3 ounces. Bring enough contact lens 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.

Travel Tip: Money Matters

Dear Mayfield Senior School Travelers, Family and Friends,

Money is a delicate subject. The best way to use your money during your upcoming trip is to have a debit card; this 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. Most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore. Also, be prepared to pay for water and a little fee for restroom use. Last 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.

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 have menus outside so you can check their price range.
· Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and  
  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.
· Shop around for souvenirs; many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.

Last 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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Your second home away from home in Rome, Italy

The 4 star Holiday Inn Roma Pisana is located in a modern building in the western part of the city of Rome. The hotel offers 229 rooms, two restaurants, and a modern Fitness Area which is opening soon.
 It is equipped with free Wi-Fi in the rooms and in all public areas.

The 229 are equipped with high-speed internet access and LCD TV.

The JSH Hotel Rome offers two restaurants. ‘The Hub’ is the restaurant located in the ground floor, characterized by a modern environment. It is ideal for good and healthy breakfasts and lunches both business and informal.
 Located on the first floor, is  the restaurant  called ‘The Terminal, which would be a perfect place to organize business breakfast, buffets, banquets and dinners with à la carte or personalized menu. 

Your first home away from home in Rieti, Italy

The 4 star Hotel Cavour is situated on a bank of the river Velino, in the historical center of the city of RietiIts strategic position allows to reach the historical city centre in few minutes. Recently restored, Hotel Cavour has 34 rooms, a restaurant with panoramic view, breakfast room, bar, conference room and a gym.

The rooms are all furnished in contemporary design and with the modern comforts, such as LCD satellite TV, direct dial telephone, safe, mini bar, conditioned air, hair dryer and internet connection. Some overlook the river Velino on the historical part of the city with the ancient Roman Bridge, others look out onto Piazza Cavour. 

The hotel restaurant offers regional cuisine with choice of dishes typical of the place. The buffet style breakfast offers home-made cakes, local cheeses and meats with scrambled eggs or bacon etc.