Monday, October 12, 2009

Cheap flights around Europe

For those of you planning on traveling around Europe after the completion of the tour:
You have a few options for getting around.

Bus, train, and air are the most common. Buses are alright, but since most people will be planning to go from large city to large city, that option is not likely available or desirable.

Eurail is alright, but extremely time consuming and quite uncomfortable in long shots. I once took a 20-hour train ride from Budapest to Amsterdam-- not recommended. Generally speaking, you don't want to take a train ride that will be longer than 7 hours or you will drive yourself crazy. And just so you know, Berlin to Paris is 9 hours, Berlin to Amsterdam is 6.5 hours, Berlin to Copenhagen 7 hours, Berlin to Warsaw 6 hours, etc. Even Frankfurt is 4 hours, Munich 6. That's a lot of missed time sightseeing. That being said, if you have a scenic train route planned (e.g. crossing the Alps), it's well worth the time. Also, Eurail passes are somewhat challenging to decide which package is right for you, and sometimes you end up paying for train rides that you don't use.

Which brings me to why flight is the way to go. The cost of rail and flight is not all that different, plus with flights you have the added bonus of not having to worry about buying all in one go., for example, has flights for about €40 to almost any major European city. Some even have flights available to several North African cities for the more adventurous types (Marrakech, Casablanca, Tangier, Cairo, Luxor, Tunis). With taxes and fuel costs, it comes out to about $80-$100. Well worth it. Here is a link to a list of cheap local airlines. Do some research-- don't just take the first one because it seems low. You could find lower.

I would like to stress one point: do NOT use RyanAir. While the low, low prices are tempting, your flight can and may be cancelled at any time, even if it's 5 minutes before your scheduled flight time. No refund, no reschedule. Just CANCELLED. The customer service is miserable, and good luck trying to find another quick flight out when the rest of the plane is doing the same thing. Their basic philosophy is "You pay nothing, so we give you nothing." Here is one guy's explanation of why he'll never fly with them either.

This is all based on my own personal experience of planning extended tours, so if you have any questions, please ask. I'd be happy to help.

Happy planning!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great news for all you of you planning to stay longer in Europe

Dear singers and guests of the 2010 CSULB Performance Tour.
As you know, Incantato is holding 45 seats from LAX to Vienna (VIE) and back from Berlin (TXL) for your group at a very good price. After our meeting, we contacted our airline partner Lufthansa LH to advise that a lot of you would like to stay longer in Europe and asked if it is possible for them to change the restrictions on deviations. They came back with wonderful news and the following offer to all members of your tour: Anyone that chooses the LH air-land package and would like to extend the return from Berlin (be it by a day, two days, a week, even a month), can do so for a change fee of $75 per person and date change.
We think that is a pretty amazing deal as Berlin is home to many low cast European carriers such as Ryanair, Easyjet, AirBerlin etc. as well as centrally located for everyone planning to get a EuroRail pass. This offer from Lufthansa is subject to availability of seats on the plane at your preferred return date, so we ask you to contact us soon so we can pass your request on. You CANNOT return from another city and be part of the air-land package. If you choose this option you need to make your way back to Berlin for the return to LAX.

Should you wish to extend your return from Berlin (TXL), please email to clearly stating the following in the subject line:
CSULB Tour - your name as it is printed in your passport - LH extension from Berlin and the date you want to return
After your request has been approved, we will notify you and upon receipt of the $75 change fee as a check payment made out to Incantato within 5 business days of the approval, you will get a confirmation notice.  Remember that every subsequent change costs $75.
We are thrilled to offer you this option in addition to the regular group airfare and are passing on the exact amount Lufthansa is charging us and thus appreciate your cooperation to follow the procedures as outlined above.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Travel Insurance

Incantato Tours strongly recommend getting travel insurance for your upcoming journey. Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage etc.
Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online and can you do so with your credit cards and also select the option that is best for you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Want to blog for the tour?

Dear Singers, let your CSULB tour coordinator Christina know if you want to become a blogger so she can send you an invite to do so. If you already have a gmail account, it will be a piece of cake, if not, you will need to create one which is not that difficult either. It was great meeting you all last week and I look forward to being in touch more in the months leading up to this exciting journey.
Auf Wiedersehen, Sandra

Friday, September 25, 2009

Name Our Tour!

Singers! We're looking for a good name for our tour, publicity for our flyers, and/or concert title.

Here's the basic program (some things will change, but not the overall scope). Do you have a good name for the program?

The Bob Cole Conservatory Choir
From California State University, Long Beach, California, USA
Summer Tour, 2010

Repertoire to be selected from the following:


In the Beginning Rosephayne Powell
Ave Verum Corpus David N. Childs

Rhytmus Ivan Hrušovský
Ave Maria Anton Bruckner

Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? Johannes Brahms


Chorale settings, according to the lectionary J.S. Bach

Totus tuus Henryk Gorecki
Sanctus Craig Courtney
Lux Aeterna Edward Elgar (Arr. Cameron)
Libera Me Lajos Bárdos


Austrian, German, Moravian and Slovak Folk Songs

In stiller Nacht Johannes Brahms
Aus “Funf Gesange, Op 104” Johannes Brahms
Nachtwache, Verlorene Jugend
Lerchengesang Felix Mendelssohn
Kde su Kravy Moje? Arr. Wilhousky
Three Moravian Songs Arr. Karl Husa


American Spirituals and Folk Songs
Bright Morning Star Arr. Squatrito
My Lord, What a Morning H.T. Burleigh
Poor Man Lazarus Jester Hairston
I hear a voice a Prayin’ Houston Bright
Lord, If I Got My Ticket Stacey Gibbs
Shenandoah James Erb
Elijah Rock Moses Hogan

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CSULB Performance Tour Group Flight Schedule

LH 451 / 31MAY LAX FRA 710P 320P

LH3538 / 01JUN FRA VIE 515P 635P

LH 173 / 11JUN TXL FRA 725A 835A

LH 456 / 11JUN FRA LAX 1005A 1240P

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Bob Cole Conservatory Choirs (at CSULB)

The CSULB Chamber Choir is comprised of the top 38 singers at the University. Recognized as one of the finest collegiate choral ensembles in the US, the CSULB Chamber Choir tours yearly, offering performances of varied repertoire embracing all styles of choral composition. The Chamber Choir performed at the ACDA Western Convention in 2008, at the ACDA National Convention in 1993, the CMEA Conventions in 1997 and 2002, and the World Symposium of Choral Music in Netherlands in 1999. In the last 5 years, the ensemble has sung with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, and the Pasadena Pops Orchestra. On University sponsored choral tours, the CSULB Chamber Choir has performed in Vienna, Rome, Venice, Florence, Budapest, Munich, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. American appearances have included Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, Segerstrom Hall, and Grace Cathedral. Dr. Jonathan Talberg directs the Chamber Choir.

University Choir is a select ensemble of 65-75 voices. The University Choir has appeared before regional and national conventions of the ACDA and MENC, demonstrating its versatility in presenting works from the Renaissance through the 20th century. The choir has recorded extensively, and appears on soundtracks for film and video games. The University Choir was the first American choir to tour Scandinavia, and has toured extensively on 4 continents. Dr. Jonathan Talberg conducts the University Choir.

Dr. Jonathan Talberg

Dr. Jonathan Talberg serves as Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, where he is music director of the University and Chamber Choirs, and he oversees one of the finest—and the largest—undergraduate voice programs in the state of California. Ensembles under his baton have toured the United States and the world. He has twice conducted at the Music Educator’s National Conference regional honor choir, at the 2008 ACDA Western Convention, at numerous All-State choir concerts, and in various venues throughout Europe and Asia, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Italy, the Karlskirche in Vienna, the Matyas Templom in Budapest, and at the Great Wall of China. In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has worked with all levels of singers—from elementary to professional—throughout the United States and Europe. He has prepared choirs for the Cincinnati Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony and the Pasadena Pops. Dr. Talberg is Music Director of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, where he also serves as director of the Los Angeles Bach Festival, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2008.

Prior to his appointment at CSULB in 2000, Dr. Talberg served as Conducting Assistant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops and as principal choral conductor at Arrowbear Music Camp. Before graduate school, he taught high school choir in Orange County and at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. A five-year member of the California ACDA board, he holds the position of Youth and Student Activities Chair for California. He is an editor at Pavane Music Publishing, where a choral series is published under his name.

Dr. Talberg earned his BM in Choral Conducting from Chapman University and his MM and DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship, graciously underwritten by the Oliver Family Foundation, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, and the May Festival Chorus.

Monday, April 20, 2009

2010 CSULB Performance Tour to Central Europe

Itinerary (still work in progress)

Monday, May 31
Day 1 - Independent and group departure from the US on an overnight flight to Vienna VIE (45 confirmed seats on Lufthansa for a base fare of $700 plus $385 estimated taxes and fuel)

Tuesday, June 1
Day 2 - evening arrival in Vienna, transfer to Bratislava, check-in, welcome dinner in the old town and time for strolling

Wednesday, June 2
Day 3 - Bratislava City tour, university visit/exchange, concert

Thursday, June 3
Day 4 - via Vienna - city tour and free time, to Goettweig, welcome dinner and rehearsal, overnight in dormitory or for an extra fee at a nearby pension or hotel (for guests)

Friday, June 4
Day 5 - Melk Abbey visit, concert at Goettweig

Saturday, June 5
Day 6 - to Cesky Krumlov, free time, concert, dinner at Satlava restaurant

Sunday, June 6
Day 7 - to Prague, city tour, free evening

Monday, June 7
Day 8 - Prague at leisure, University visit, exchange, concert

Tuesday, June 8
Day 9 - via Dresden (city tour, free time) to Berlin

Wednesday, June 9
Day 10 - Berlin city tour w Reichstag, concert at Gedächtniskirche

Thursday, June 10
Day 11 - Optional Potsdam excursion, farewell dinner

Friday, June 11
Day 12 - Return from Berlin or individual extensions