Give the MU Chorale “The Boot” to Italy!
Announcing the Methodist University Choir Concert tour of Italy
Featuring Rome, Florence and Venice
March 1–11, 2018
Since its formation 60 years ago, Methodist University has consistently held a strong tradition of choral music. The Methodist University Chorale has been part of that legacy having toured throughout the east coast from Orlando, Fla. to Boston, Mass., as well as throughout North Carolina. Among other things, they have also distinguished themselves by special performances for the North Carolina Music Education Association, performed for the installation of Bishop Hope Ward to the North Carolina United Methodist Conference, performed in a statewide Tower Lighting ceremony for WRAL, sang the National Anthem for the Charlotte Bobcats, and North Carolina American Choral Directors Association. They are in high demand for their performances.
Now, they are looking to advance these experiences with their second International Tour Abroad! The first tour took them to performances in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France. Especially moving was their performance at the Lorraine Military Cemetery in St. Avold, France! Pictured above right, Chorale Director Dr. Michael Martin (left) and MU President Dr. Ben Hancock, Jr. (right) appear with Amy P. Westling, the Consul General of the United States of America in Strasbourg, France and Acting U.S. Observer to the Council of Europe. Pictured below left, the Chorale and Dr. and Mrs. Hancock appear with Pascal Flaus, author of Saint-Avold, From Prehistory to the Present, at the St. Nabor Abbey in St. Avold, France (Fayetteville's sister city).
This tour will bring the MU Chorale to performance destinations in Rome, Perugia, Montecatini, Florence, and Venice. Special highlights will be the inclusion of the choral in high noon masses at St. Peters in Rome and St. Marks in Venice! Featured on the tour will be works by various American composers, as well as feature works by composers from regions where they will be visiting. The tour also represents the ensemble’s second significant alumni outreach as MU alumni have committed a return to join the group as part of this wonderful experience!
March 2, 3, and 4: Rome
The first drive of our tour takes us into the city. Our visit begins at the Piazza Navona, in the heart of Rome. There will be plenty of time here to take some pictures, get a slice of pizza, and perhaps a gelato (Italian ice cream). Next we’ll walk to the Pantheon, an ancient building perfectly preserved, founded by Agrippa in 27 B.C and possible impromptu performance. Next day: A visit to Vatican City for a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel. Then continue to St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square to participate as a choir in mass in St. Peter’s. Last day: We’ll take a guided tour of ancient Rome that will feature visits to the Coliseum, the Roman Forum—the religious, political and commercial center of ancient Rome, and the Arch of Constantine. Next, we’ll walk to Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
March 5: Assisi/Perugia
We’ll depart Rome and travel to Assisi, called the “city of the birds” from the time of St. Francis. Upon arrival, our tour managers will walk with us up to St. Francis Basilica and then to the center of town to visit St. Clare’s Basilica. There might be an opportunity to give an impromptu performance in one or both churches. Later we’ll drive to Perugia to check in at our hotel. After dinner, we plan to give an evening concert performance in Perugia.
March 6: Sienna, Montecatini
Our travels today take us first to the beautiful medieval city of Siena in the heart of Tuscany. The center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include a stop at the Palazzo Publico in the Piazza del Campo. The palace has served as Siena’s town hall since the 1300s. Following time to enjoy this lovely city, we’ll continue to Montecatini Terme to check in at our hotel for dinner and a two-night stay. This evening we plan to give a concert performance in Montecatini.
March 7-8: Florence
First day: A visit to Florence is planned. Our first stop will be at the Accademia, which contains several works by Michelangelo, including his famous David. After this visit, our guided walking tour takes us to the magnificent Duomo. Here we will see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Baptistery’s world-famous “Gates of Paradise” doors, before walking to the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. We will also have time to give an impromptu performance. Following time for an independent lunch, we’ll visit the Uffizi Museum, one of the finest art museums in the world. Second day: After breakfast, we’ll return just south of Florence to visit the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. Most of those buried here are from the Fifth Army who died in the fighting that followed the capture of Rome in June 1944; roughly 6000 soldiers are buried or commemorated here and we will likely pause for an appropriate impromptu performance. We will leave there where the day will be at leisure for independent exploration and shopping in Florence.
March 9: Ferrara, Mestre
Travels today takes us in a south east direction. A stop will be made in Ferrara, a town that remains as one of the major artistic and cultural centers in Italy. Besides taking time for our independent lunch, we’ll want to visit the 12th-century Duomo for a possible impromptu performance and see the San Romano, one of Ferrara’s medieval streets. Later we’ll continue to Mestre, located just outside of Venice, to check in at our hotel for dinner and a two-night stay.
March 10-11: Venice, Mestre
This morning we’ll head into the exciting city of Venice. Venice is built on 117 islands, laced with 150 canals and connected by 400 bridges. No motor traffic is allowed in the city, so we will take the train from Mestre to Venice and then board chartered boats for the trip on the Canale della Giudecca to San Marco Square. Here we’ll disembark for a guided walking tour through the streets and piazzas. Our walking tour will include a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, and the Rialto Bridge. We also plan to participate in a mass at St. Mark’s Basilica. Later we’ll have dinner in Venice before returning to Mestre. On Sunday, we’ll transfer to the airport for the return flights to the U.S.
Donate to the Tour
Click the link below to make a contribution online to the MU Chorale's Tour of Italy. Or you can make your donation by check, made payable to:
MU Chorale Special Tours (SP5316)
c/o Methodist University Advancement Office
5400 Ramsey St.
Fayetteville, NC 28311
In addition, all donors will be listed on our European Tour page and featured in our concert programs!