Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Calling All Singers

The Ministry for Culture and Education is rolling out the red carpet on the beautiful, historic, and musically rich German Baltic Coast in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Queen Charlotte’s coronation, and the growing partnership between the greater Charlotte-Mecklenburg region and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. You are invited to join other outstanding vocal ensembles and singers to form the official ChorFreude Choir, under the direction of Professor Ginger Wyrick, and supported by the Charlotte International Cabinet. Collaborate with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, the state’s prime symphony orchestra, to present Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” and Boyce’s “The King Shall Rejoice,” composed especially for Queen Charlotte’s coronation.

Invitation from the Ministery of Culture, Education and Economics,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Mr. Staatssekretär Udo Michallik:
“The German Baltic Coast is not well known internationally, but a hidden treasure: Fairy-tale castles with beautiful gardens, medieval cathedrals and churches, and spectacular ocean boardwalk will not only impress you, but provide a stunning backdrop for unforgettable concerts.
The Ministry of Culture, Education and Economics Mecklenburg-Vorpommern supports the 2011 International Choral Festival celebrating the 250th anniversary of Queen Charlotte’s coronation who was originally from Mecklenburg-Strelitz. I look forward to welcoming many choirs from North Carolina to this unique cultural event in the home of Sophie Charlotte: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.”
Chorfreude auditions
The ChorFreude Choir is still auditioning qualified performers. Interested vocalists and conductors of university, college, high school, community, church, and children’s choirs may apply by contacting the Charlotte International Cabinet. Instrumental ensembles are also welcome.
Individual performances can be arranged during the festival. Custom pre- and post-tours to other destinations are offered to existing ensembles, with concert opportunities at magnificent venues in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Scandinavia, Austria, and many other beautiful European locations. Family, friends, and other non-performers are also invited to take part. Please contact the Charlotte International Cabinet to be added to the ChorFreude Family and Friends mailing list.
Participation in the ChorFreude International Music Festival is limited. Lufthansa German Airlines is offering special airfare pricing to the first 90 participants to register with two departure dates: June 11-19 and June 12-20, 2011. Registration begins Monday, July 26 and ends September 15, 2010. To register, contact the Charlotte International Cabinet via email to
Click here for the ChorFreude Choir audition form and other important information.

ChorFreude Itinerary

DAY 1, Saturday, June 11
Overnight flight to Germany on Lufthansa via Munich to Berlin. Tourmanager welcomes the group at Tegel-Airport. After a panoramic orientation tour of Berlin’s many highlights, check into your hotel for the remainder of day at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Berlin.

DAY 2, Sunday J
une 12
City tour of Berlin with a local guide, free time for lunch and strolling. Afternoon and evening at leisure for individual exploring under the guidance of your Tourmanager. Overnight in Berlin, dinner on own.

DAY 3, Monday, June 13
Continue to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the hanseatic town of Rostock for a welcome reception and lunch with the ChorFreude Choir members. After a guided city tour, check into your home for the next two nights. Exchange and performance opportunities this evening.
DAY 4, Tuesday, June 14
Leisure Day with optional group excursions to either nearby Heiligendamm,
Rügen, Kühlungsborn, Stralsund or Wismar to sightsee, shop and go for a swim in the Baltic Sea. In the evening, gather for a friendship concert with local choirs in or near Rostock followed by a fun dinner at a traditional German eatery with beer garden.

DAY 5, Wednesday, June 15
Drive East to Neubrandenburg for sightseeing and orchestra rehearsal with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, then continue to Schwerin for check-in followed by a welcome reception.

DAY 6, Thursday, June 16
Festival Concert with Orchestra
Schwerin, the capital city of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with a local guide followed by free time for additional sightseeing and relaxation. After a light dinner, prepare for tonight’s highlight festival concert at magnificent church or concert hall in Schwerin.

DAY 7, Friday, June 17

There is lots to see and do in Schwerin, so why not
visit the famous castle, one of the many museums. In addition, today is ideal to meet with local students and experience a typical German high school. This evening, the ChorFreude Choir will gather for a special re-opening party at Castle Mirow, Queen Charlotte’s birthplace.

DAY 8, Saturday, June 18

It is up to you to either take it easy on your last full day in Europe and experience some German “Gemütlichkeit” as you simply enjoy some more time in Schwerin or embark on an optional excursion to
Neustrelitz for a traditional Float Tour. The finale Festival concert is presented tonight at beautiful 12th century Schwerin Cathedral with master organist Jan Ernst as your accompanist. A farewell dinner party with local specialties is the perfect ending.

DAY 9, Sunday, June 19

As your flight leaves early from Berlin, you’ll leave in the very early morning for the airport with a breakfast and coffee break at Tegel-Airport. Lunch and snack will be served on the Munich-Charlotte flight along with your choice of movies. You are scheduled to return home in the
late afternoon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ChorFreude travel packages

ChorFreude features
• Two special festival performances: One with full orchestral accompaniment by Germany’s renowned professional symphony orchestra Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, and one at the 12th century Schwerin Cathedral with accompaniment by the Domkantor and master organist on their 1871 Ladegast organ.
• The premier performance of an original work by American contemporary composer Richard Burchard, written personally for the ChorFreude Choir.
• Participation at the official grand re-opening celebration of the Castle Mirow, where Queen Charlotte was raised, official receptions, opportunities for exchanges with fellow musicians etc.

ChorFreude packages
Incantato Tours offers a festival travel package with three unique levels to accommodate the special needs of all attendees. All levels include:
• International economy class round-trip airfare from Charlotte via Munich to Berlin and back on Lufthansa of $450 (subject to change) (90 seats) with estimated taxes and fuel surcharges
• Participation in the ChorFreude Festival (rehearsals, concerts, receptions & party), professional concert management and marketing
• 8 nights accommodation (2 nights Berlin, 2 nights Rostock, 4 nights Schwerin) with daily breakfast and 5 dinners or lunches including welcome and farewell dinners
• Bi-Lingual tour manager and transportation starting and ending at Tegel-Airport
• Educational and entertaining sightseeing with entrance fees to major sights

Pricing levels
Pricing varies by participant numbers and package level chosen. Single rooms are available for an extra cost.

Student: starts $2465 per person
Provides safe and clean stays in multi-bedded rooms in pre-inspected youth guest housing such as renovated castles, ships, a hay barn or even a hammock-hotel.

Classic: starts at $2665 per person
Shared twin or double accommodation in pre-inspected 3-star superior & 4-star hotels with continental breakfast, located within easy-reach to the city center.

Premiere: starts at $2865 per person
Shared twin or double accommodation in pre-inspected city center 4-star hotels with American-style buffet breakfast. Recommended for singers traveling with spouses. and friends.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ChorFreude receives endorsement from WDAV Classical Public Radio

WDAV Classical Public Radio is showing support for the ChorFreude International Music Festival and encouraging local singers to audition for the ChorFreude Choir. We thank WDAV for the following article, currently displayed on their website.

ChorFreude: Calling all singers with an Interest in International Travel
Take part in the Charlotte International Cabinet’s “ChorFreude” program. In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Queen Charlotte’s coronation in June 2011, outstanding vocal ensembles and singers from throughout the Charlotte, NC region are forming the official ChorFreude Choir, under the direction of Professor Ginger Wyrick. The group will travel to and perform in the beautiful, historic, and musically rich German Baltic Coast, in collaboration with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie. The program includes Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” and Boyce’s “The King Shall Rejoice,” composed especially for Queen Charlotte’s coronation.

WDAV 89.9FM, a public radio service of Davidson College and licensed to the trustees of Davidson College, is a member-supported public radio service providing classical music and cultural arts programming 24 hours a day.
WDAV reaches a 22-county market of approximately 2.2 million people in Charlotte, North Carolina region. The station attracts approximately 100,000 listeners each week.
The purpose of WDAV is to provide the highest quality classical music and cultural arts programming and to promote the activities of local arts organizations and artists of all disciplines. Promoting major community projects, such as ChorFreude, throughout the year, WDAV is devoted to creating a “community of the arts.”

Celebrate the Official Grand Re-opening of the Castle Mirow

In collaboration with the 250th anniversary of Queen Charlotte’s coronation, the officials of Mecklenburg-Strelitz celebrate the grand re-opening of the Queen’s birthplace, the Castle Mirow. The merriment will commence Friday, June 17, 2011, in honor of the Queen and the castle’s historic legacy.
The ChorFreude Choir and friends will serve as the special American guests of Mirow’s highest officials. Experience a traditional feast and engage in unique cultural exchanges with the people of Mirow while visiting the royal duchy and birthplace of Queen Charlotte.

“The event in Mirow will be a sort of ‘Festakt zum Krönungsjahr,’ with regional VIPs and a feast at the castle the whole day.”
-Dr. Melanie Wuerz,
Ministery for Culture and Education

The Castle Mirow served as the home of the Dukes of Mecklenburg since 1587. Sophia Charlotte, born May 19, 1744, was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Friederich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince of Mirow, and his wife, Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The future queen’s bloodline reigned over Mirow for centuries. Sophia Charlotte was the granddaughter of Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, by his third wife, Christiane Emilie Antonie, Princess of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen. Her father’s elder half-brother reigned from 1708 to 1753 as Adolf Friederich III.
The children of Duke Charles were all born at the Castle Mirow, a modest citadel comparable to a large country estate. The daily life at Mirow favored that of the family of a simple English country gentleman rather than prestige and royalty. The children practiced needlework, embroidery, and lace-making. The children were raised by the careful hand of their mother, with admirable education and grounded religious principles. They received further education by a Lutheran minister by the name of M. Gentzner who offered detailed knowledge of botany, mineralogy, and science. Sophia Charlotte ultimately developed a lifelong appreciation for botany and the performing arts.
Sophia Charlotte went on to fulfill an arranged, yet happy and faithful marriage, to King George III of the United Kingdom, who was attracted to her charm, intelligence, good humor, and sparkling eyes. Although the Queen spent her entire adult life serving the United Kingdom, her legacy prevails over the region of Mirow.
The city of Mirow lies on the southern shore of Lake Mirow, in the heart of the Mecklenburg Lake District. A calm oasis near the German Baltic Coast, Mirow is roughly translated to mean “peace town.”
Click here for the official ChorFreude audition form and other important information

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Incantato presents ChorFreude at NC ACDA

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's rich musical history

Germany’s beautiful coast-lined region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern offers historic castles, museums, and local culinary specialties plus a rich music history and lots of culture. It is here that one can experience the sound of rich classical music and famous operatic arias, and a lot of this cultural richness is the legacy of one monarch’s love of performing arts.
Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, consort of King George III, devoted much of her time and money to the advancement of music in this region. As a connoisseur and enthusiast of the great George Frideric Handel, Queen Charlotte had an avid interest in all German artists and composers.
In 1764, the Queen summoned, then eight-year-old, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to court in order to perform a special four-hour show to an intimate crowd of the monarch’s closest advisors. Mozart went on to publish six sonatas in 1765, simply entitled Opus 3, which he admirably dedicated to his supporter, Queen Charlotte, on the fifth anniversary of the King’s accession.
Johann Christian Bach, eleventh son of Johann Sebastian Bach, served as Queen Charlotte’s personal music master. To entertain the Queen and her court, the young Bach was often expected to play new and unrehearsed music at first sight.
The Queen not only enjoyed listening to magnificent classical works, but was also herself a talented musician. Johann Christian Bach often accompanied her as she sang various arias. She also fluently played the flute, which she once performed as Mozart provided the accompaniment. The influence of Queen Charlotte’s musical advocacy can be heard today in various forms throughout the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region.
Summertime offers numerous open-air concerts, as well as Germany’s largest classical music festival. Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern occurs from June through September, presenting more than 100 various classical music performances, in venues ranging from established concert halls and country estates, to village churches and family barns. Acts include world renowned musicians, as well as developing young talent. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a great place for anyone who enjoys rich history, beautiful scenery, and classic music!
Photos of young Mozart, Johann Christian Bach, and Festspiele provided by Wikipedia and Ennus Photos.

Youth Guest Houses in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Listen to the organ at Schwerin Cathedral

Dom Cantor and Master Organist Jan Ernst plays the magnificent Ladegast organ (1871) at Schwerin Cathedral. For more information and to purchase the CD, visit

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ChorFreude Festival 2011 on the German Baltic Coast - Celebrating choral music and Queen Charlotte's 250th coronation anniversary

ChorFreude is a word play on the German words for choir (chor) and joy (freude) with the inspiration drawn from another German term, Vorfreude which can be loosely translate as happy anticipation.
ChorFreude is also the title for a new international choral festival that showcases a part of my native country that is rather unknown area outside of Germany, yet a gem to be discovered: the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. You may have heard of the rich natural beauty and cultural as well as historical significance of the Baltic Coast, but people rarely make the connection that there is also a German Baltic coast with - and that is most important to be the base for a choral festival - a very strong music making tradition. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) state boasts hundreds for choirs and choral organization with many of them celebrating our countries heritage and traditions.
In the summer of 2011, MV is looking forward to hosting international choral groups for the very first time in quite unique settings. Venues range from ancient churches and haunted castles to elaborately decorated palaces and stunning cathedrals - all with wonderful acoustics and appreciative audiences that can't wait to embrace singers from the new world. ChorFreude is an initiative that was born to reach out and start a friendship between musicians from both sides of the big pond. Supported by the MV State Ministery of Culture and Education as well as the local tourism boards, ChorFreude2011 offers unique opportunities to connect through the universal language of music. Venues that are normally closed to performing groups or only available to professional ensembles will become available such as the former residence of Queen Charlotte in the beautiful village of Mirow.
And due to the special relationship between the county of Mecklenburg in the US where the city of Charlotte is located, the German Mecklenburg goes as far as offering the opportunity to singers from the Greater Charlotte area to perform a masterwork with professional symphony orchestra. Under the leadership of Prof. Ginger Wyrick from Queens University, efforts are on its way to form a multi-generational honor choir to prepare here in the US Mozart's Coronation Mass in C and then present the production at least twice in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern next June. The dates for this event are June 16 through June 20, 2011 and singers from all parts of life are invited to audition as well as already formed choral groups invited to join as well. Ensembles interested in joining the festival will be given multiple opportunities to perform on their own if they wish to do so, as well as meet fellow singers for musical and cultural exchanges. MV also invites friends of the singers to come along to enjoy the performances and experience German hospitality at its finest.
"We will be rolling out the red carpet for our visitors from the US" is a promise that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern made and is striving to keep with special receptions, media coverage for the performances and by doing everything possible to allow the guests to really connect with the locals. A final planning meeting and location visit is scheduled for June 11, 2010 and additional details will be released thereafter.
For more information and to be put on the ChorFreude2011 mailing list, please email to or simply become a follower on this blog.
Auf Wiedersehen in Mecklenburg 2011!

Incantato Concert Venue: Schwerin Cathedral

Schwerin Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John, was built following the move of the seat of the Bishopric of the Abodrites, established by Henry the Lion, to Schwerin from Mecklenburg in the late 12th century. At first a timber construction served the city as a place of worship. The foundation stone of the cathedral of the former Prince-Bishopric of Schwerin was laid in 1172. After a construction period of seventy-six years, the cathedral was consecrated in 1248. The proto-cathedral is now a Lutheran church. In 1222 Count Henry of Schwerin had returned from a crusade with the Reliquary of the Holy Blood, an alleged drop of Christ's blood contained in a jewel. This was placed in the cathedral, and caused it to become a place of pilgrimage. A number of great churches served as models for Schwerin Cathedral: the Marienkirche in Lübeck, the Nikolaikirche in Stralsund and the cathedral of Ratzeburg. During the 14th century the nave and transept were completed, as well as the chapter buildings. At the end of the 15th century the cloister on the north side was finished. The tower, 117.5 meters high, was constructed between 1889 and 1893.
The pictures are from the website