Monday, July 6, 2009

A wonderful recollection of the Sing!Kanta!Canta! Concert at Ta' Pinu

Have a look at the website of our new friends from Schola Cantorum Jubilate where a special page is dedicated to the recollection of the Sing!Kanta!Canta! Concert at Ta' Pinu on July 3, 2009 with the SCS Touring Choir and Soprano soloist/guest conductor Ms. Marouska Attard.

SCS Touring Choir bids farewell to 2009 Sicily and Malta

The SCS Touring Choir departed Malta on July 6 after touring Sicily & Malta with Incantato for twelve days. Six performances in prime venues, two exchanges, 7000 year old temples, ancient Greek theatres, amazing cathedrals, interesting museums... and last not least wonderful food and fun at the beaches, the group of 52 from Akron, Ohio and the Summit Choral Society surely kept busy. Incantato Tour Manager Stefania bid farewell to the group at the airport on Monday morning and all of us with them a safe return home.

For more pictures, visit Choir Manager William Cook's photo album

Saturday, July 4, 2009

SCS Touring Choir concludes Incantato Performance Tour as featured guest choir for High Mass at St. John's Co-Cathedral

Malta's most prestigious church, St. john's Co-Cathedral in the capital city of Valetta, was the perfect setting for the finale performance of the 2009 SCS Incantato Tour to Sicily and Malta. The singers from Akron, Ohio were the featured guest choir for High Mass on Saturday, July 4 at 6 pm and they 43 students not only sang to a full house, but also moved Monsignor Mifsud, the rector of the cathedral, with their presentation. "I would like to thank you for singing here today and as a musician myself, I appreciate your presentation probably even more so than the others", the Priest said after the mass concluded and even allowed an encore: The spiritual "Go Where I Send Thee!" can be seen and listened to in this recording.

Impression from the SCS Incantato Performance Tour to Sicily & Malta: Mass at St. John's Co-Cathedral

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SCS Touring Choir Sings Evening Mass at St. John's Co-Cathedral on July 4 at 6 pm

What a better way to celebrate the 4th of July when traveling abroad than performing in the most prestigious venue of the country. The SCS Touring Choir presents its sixth and finale performance of their 2009 Incantato Tour to Siclíly and Malta at 6 pm in Valetta.

St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the temple of the Knights of St. John. The severe exterior of the Cathedral, built immediately after the ending of the Great Siege of 1565, is reminiscent of a military fort The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. The Church was designed by the Maltese military architect Glormu Cassar who designed several of the more prominent buildings in Valletta.

The painting depicting The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608) by Caravaggio (1571-1610) is the most famous work in the church. Considered one of Caravaggio's masterpieces and the only painting signed by the painter, the canvas is displayed in the Oratory for which it was painted. Restored in the late 1990's in Florence, this painting is one of Caravaggio's most impressive uses of the chiaroscuro style for which he is most famous with a circle of light illuminating the scene of St John's beheading at the request of Salome. The oratory also houses Caravaggio's St Jerome III (1607–1608).

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Compliments for a wonderful event" - Joined Benefit Concert by SCS Touring Choir and Schola Cantorum Jubilate in Gozo a huge success for all

The SCS Touring Choir explored the island of Gozo as part of their 2009 Incantato Performance Tour to the islands of Sicily and Malta on July 3. The day full of educational yet fun sightseeing concluded with a highlight performance in the National Shrine of Ta' Pinu to a large and appreciative audience.
Incantato Tours presented the concert in collaboration with the Gozitan Choir Schola Cantorum Jubiltae. Soprano Ms. Marouska Attard, the director of Schola, presented two soli accompanied by SCS pianist Mrs. Kathy Reichenberger and guest conducted "Jesu Dulcis Memoria" by Maltese composer Paul Portelli who was in the audience. Despite only a short preparation time, the American singers enchanted the audience by performing this Maltese work. "It is a very special moment for me", composer Portelli said.
For 17 of the 43 young women and men, this was also the last concert with the SCS Touring Choir as the have graduated high school and are off to college. The encore spiritual thus moved several of the singers to tears.
Father Gerard of Ta Pinu thanked both choirs and Incantato Tours for "making this excellent concert possible" He continue by saying: "Compliments for a wonderful event" and expressed the hope that he can soon host a fine choir from the US in his church again.

For videos from this and other Incantato Performance Tour concert, please visit

SCS Tour - Impressions from Gozo

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

SCS Touring Choir Highlight Concert in collaboration with Schola Cantorum Jubilate at Ta Pinu Basilica in Gozo on July 3 at 7:30 pm

The Summit Choral Society's Children Touring Choir from Akron, Ohio is presenting a concert of sacred music benefitting the restoration of the Ta' Pinu National Shrine in Gozo. "Sing!" is the theme of the 2009 Incantato Performance Tour to Sicily and Malta. The simple word "Sing" or "Kanta" in Maltese and "Canta" in Italian sums up the joy of bringing people together through music. The youth choir with 42 voices is directed by Mrs. Arlene Jacobs. The singers present a repertoire of classical and modern works from European and American composers and also an original composition written especially for the journey to the islands by American composer Dorn Younger who will be joining the choir on tour. The concert is organized in collaboration with Schola Cantorum Jubilate from Gozo and thus the American singers added a composition by Maltese composer Paul Portelli to their repertoire. A special highlight will be a clinic with Marouska Attard from Schola Cantorum Jubilate prior to the benefit concert at Ta´ Pinu. Ms. Attard will be singing two soli during the concert and is also going to conduct the American youth when they sing Portelli’s “Jesu dulcis memoria”. The concert starts at 7:30 pm and the entrance is free. Donations are appreciated.

The concert starts at 7:30 pm, the audience is kindly asked to be seated by 7:15 pm.

Ta' Pinu was built in a neo-romantic style which means that the designer rejected or abandoned the use of the devices of avant-garde modernism and followed an older tradition. This is a national shrine and a center of pilgrimages for both the Gozitans and the Maltese as it is told on several accounts that the voice of Mary has been heard from inside. The present church was started in 1920 and consecrated in 1931.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SCS Touring Choir warmly welcomed by Maltese audience at St. Helen's Church - "You sound angelic"

The SCS Touring Choir was warmly welcomed by the Maltese audience in the magnificent church of St. Helen's in Birkirkara. Singers and guests alike instantly fell in love with the beautifully decorated venue and their hosts. The singers from Akron, Ohio were the featured guest choir for High Mass and a benefit concert in aid of Richmond Foundation Malta. Father Charles asked two of the singers, Elisabeth Berkovitz and Patrick Tregoning to introduce their choir to the congregation. "It is our honor to welcome you here and we wish you all the best for your journeys", he said and complimented the Summit Choral Society. The singers truly enjoyed singing for the appreciative and music loving Maltese although they were a bit tired from the journey to Malta from Sicily via ferry boat that very morning followed by fun times at the beach of the Paradise Bay Hotel where the group is staying. "You sound angelic", added a representative from the Richmond Foundation. The NGO was thankful for the choir's help to raise awareness for their cause: "A mentally healthy community".
The next formal concert is on July 3 at 7:30 pm at Ta' Pinu Basilica in Gozo.

SCS Touring Choir sings at St. Helen's Church in Birkirkara on July 1 at 6:30 pm

The SCS Touring Choir performs on Wednesday, July 1, at 6:30 pm at St. Helen's Church in Birkirkara - one of the oldest and most prestigious churches on the island.
St. Helen is also the titular saint of the parish. The church became a Collegiate church in 1630 and a Minor Basilica on in the 20th century.
Birkirkara is the largest population center on the Islands and has been so since the Middle Ages. Most of present-day Birkirkara is modern, though the town retains a traditional core characterized by alleyways, narrow streets and houses typical of small villages. The larger town houses tend to be used as headquarters for band clubs or political parties. A tiny garden separates the town's older area from the new quarters. Here you can see one of the old railway stations on the commuter line that ran from Rabat to Valletta. Apart from the churches, the oldest buildings in the town are the windmills. One is a private residence, the other, at the heart of the town, is an art gallery. Known locally as `Ta' Ganu' it hosts exhibitions by local and foreign artists.
The SCS Touring Choir is the featured guest choir for High Mass and will also present a short concert afterwards. Donations collected during the performances will benefit the Richmond Foundation Malta.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Impressions from the SCS Touring Choir concert in Modica

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"Siete veramente bravi!" - third SCS Touring Choir Sicily concert enchants audience

What better place to present the third and final concert in Italian soil for the SCS Touring Choir then the Duomo di San Giorgio in Modica: On June 30, the 43 singers under the direction of Mrs. Arlene Jacobs from Akron, Ohio enchanted the audience at the main cathedral of the UNESCO World Heritage town during their 2009 Incantato Tour of Sicily and Malta. "Siete veramente bravi", the locals told the choir ("you are truly very good") and the asked for "Bis, Bis, Bis" (Encore, Encore, Encore) long before the concert was over. Again, the Italian folk songs were audience favorites and several of the older people heartily sang along.
The group is off to Malta where they sing at on July 1 at 6:30 pm at Santa Helen's Church in Birkirkara.
Below is a recording of Brahm's "Mainacht", for more videos, please visit

SCS Touring Choir Concert at San Giorgio Duomo in Modica on June 29 at 7:30 pm

The southeast area of Sicily is universally recognized as the capital of Baroque art, music and architecture influences. And the San Giorgio Duomo in Modica, the third concert venue for the SCS Touring Choir on its 2009 Incantato Sicily and Malta Performance tour, is frequently described as the monument and reported symbol of the late Baroque architectural style that characterizes all of this city. The art historian Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco said that the church may be inserted between the seven wonders in the baroque world. The touring choir will be performing their "Sing!Kanta!Canta" concert programm in the natural acoustics of San Giorgio on June 30 at 7:30 PM.

This performance concludes the concert series on Italian soil as the groups departs on July 1 via ferry boat to Malta for three more performances and two cultural exchanges.

New pictures from the SCS Touring Choir adventures abroad

Choir Manager Mr. William Cook added new pictures to his album, click here to check them out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Impressions from the SCS Touring Choir Concert in Noto

"Wonderful accoustics" make second SCS Touring Choir Concert in Noto very special

The SCS Touring Choir under the direction of Mrs. Arlene Jacobs presented its second formal concert during their 2009 Incantato Performance Tour to Sicily & Malta in the beautiful baroque church of San Carlo al Corso in Noto to small, yet very appreciate audience of about 60 locals and tourists. A local artists was so impressed with the performance that he went to his studio and brought one of his paintings which he presented as a gift to the artistic director. The singers kicked off the concert by singing "Santa Lucia" in front of the church as you can see in the video below. It was a very special concert for the 43 singers from Akron, Ohio who excelled in their performance. Dr. Frank Jacobs, founder of the Summit Choral Society, commented on the wonderful accoustics in the church as well as the "gorgeous decorations of the altar".

Fore more recordings from the concert, visit

SCS Touring Choir Concert at San Carlo al Corso in Noto on June 29 at 8:30 pm

It's another concert day for Summit in Sicily! On June 29 at 8:30 PM, the SCS Touring Choir under the direction of Mrs Arlene Jacobs is presenting the second formal concert of their 2009 Incantato Performance at the Church of San Carlo al Corso. The Church of San Carlo al Corso was dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo - the church of the convent of the Jesuits of Noto. The construction of the building began in 1730, the church is designed a longitudinal plan with three naves covered by a barrel-vaulted and divided by half.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Video from the SCS Touring Choir Concert in Taormina: Hava Nashira

First SCS Concert on 2009 Incantato Performance Tour a huge success - full house and great sound

Just a short post to let you know that the first SCS Touring Choir Concert on the 2009 Incantato Performance Tour to Sicily & Malta was a huge success. The singers had a full house at the beautiful church of Santa Cantarina in Taormina - the audience actually was even listening from outside as all seats were long taken. Some people even insisted on sitting down during rehearsal and stayed until the very end. Monsignore (Father) Cesare thanked the group from Akron, Ohio for their inspiring performance and joined in the minute-long applause from the mostly Sicilian audience. Favorites were Younger's Kyrie Eleison, Shiru, Dirait-on, Shiru and the encore spiritual. The audience cheered the choir on as they sang two Italian folk songs. More pictures and videos will follow. It surely was "wunderbar" and guess what I discovered on my way home. Buena notte, good-night from Italy --- Sandra

For a video of "La Barchetta", visit

What do SCS and Michael Jackson have in common? They are top news in Malta

Have a look at this very special story on the SCS Touring Choir, but do get your Maltese dictionary out when you click on this website

Impressions from the SCS Touring Choir Concert in Taormina

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SCS Touring choir performs at Chiesa di Santa Caterina Duomo in Taormina at 8 pm on June 28

The SCS Touring Choir performance debut on their 2009 Incantato Performance Tour is at the church of Santa Caterina in the picturesque medieval town of Taormina in Sicily.
The 43 singers directed by Mrs. Arlene Jacobs and accompanied by Mrs. Kathy Reichenberger present a repertoire of classical and modern works from European and American composers such as Palestrina, Ravel, Haydn and Lauridsen. The will also premier Dorn Younger's work "Brahm's Lullaby" internationally. The concert starts at 8 pm.
The beautiful church was consecrated to St. Catherine of Alexandria (exact consecration date unknown); it is thought that it may have been built in the mid-17th century. It sits on a piazza that abuts the highest point of the town's main street, Corso Umberto I. Within its severely dignified exterior are baroque detailing and a trussed wood-beamed ceiling. We hope you enjoy the few impressions from Taormina and updates on the first concert abroad will follow later today.

Impressions from Taormina, Sicily

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 4 of the SCS Touring Choir Journey: Fun-filled day in Catania

The SCS Touring Choir explored Catania yesterday on the way to the Etna Archeo Park. Before having the chance to taste some of the local specialties, Sicilian Arrancini and Calzone, during lunch in chaperone groups, the group had a chance to see the local market and also sang for a newly wed couple. Here are some pictures and a little video.

Spaghetti welcome dinner for choir and the newly arrived parents and friends of the choir

The 14 members of the Shadow Tour arrived only little late it Catania on June 27. After a short bus ride to the hotel, the parents and friends of the singers joined the group for a spaghetti welcome dinner.

Day 3 of the SCS Touring Choir Journey: Next stop Catania

The singers under the direction of Mrs. Arlene Jacobs enjoyed a good night of sleep after a hearty welcome dinner with typical Sicilian pasta "alla norma" in a hearty tomato sauce with roasted eggplant and grated ricotta cheese, followed by cordon blue with roasted potatoes and ice-cream. Next stop will be Catania, the second largest city in Sicily where the group stops for lunch and to see the market. They then continue to thei next hotel near the Etna volcano (not that near that you have to fear anything) where they will be joined by the shadow tour members for a spaghetti feast. Arriverderci from Modica --Sandra

Want to say hello to the singers? Post a comment on the blog

Dear Family and Friends of the SCS Touring Choir members. This blog is designed as an open communication tool between the travelers and you at home. So feel free to post comments as our Incantato On Tour Team Stefania, Ember and Sandra will gladly pass them on to the group. We hope you enjoy the updates and also encourage you to visit SCS Choir Manager William Cook's photo gallery.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SCS Touring Choir sings for the first time onn foreign soil

Soon after landing in Malta, the youth choir from Akron, Ohio sang - just for fun - in the hotel lobby of the Phoenician in Malta: Enjoy and feel free to visit our youtube channel as the quality of the videos there is much better:

First Impressions from the 2009 Incantato Performance Tour for the Summit Touring Choir

Finally here we are, said Dr. Frank Jacobs as the group of 52 from Akron, Ohio got off the bus in Malta's capital city Valetta. And a pleasant surprise awaited the SCS Touring Choir at the Phoenicia Hotel. Icecold water and fresh Maltese pastizzi awaited the travelers in the lush gardenf of the 5 star Grand Hotel that kindly had offered to host them for the few hours on the island prior to catching the ferry boat to Sicily - and the group very much appreciated the warm welcome. If it only hadn't been so hot this day. After being offered a cooler place in the lobby bar, the choir thanked the staff with two Italian songs.

What's Malta's favorite savory pastry?

Summit Touring Choir lands safe and sound in Malta

Welcome to the islands dear singers under the direction of Mrs. Arlene Jacobs

SCS arrived safe and only a little late in Frankfurt - On the plane to Malta now

The SCS Touring Choir 2009 Sicily & Malta Incantato Performance Tour is off to a good start. The group arrived almost 90 minutes late in Frankfurt, but their carrier Lufthansa was kind enough to hold the connecting flight to Malta and so the 52 travelers from Akron, Ohio are now on their way to the beautiful island. Upon arrival, Tour Manager Stefania will pick them up and bring them to the Phoenicia Hotel where a suprise Pastizzi Tasting awaits them in the beautiful lush garden area. At 6 pm, the singers, their director and chaperones will board the ferry to Sicily.
More updates will follow as the tour continues.