Classical Movements in the Press
A limited selection


Antarctica Choir Tour Announced
"This month, Classical Movements is starting to accept reservations for a choral tour of Antarctica from December 29, 2017 to January 14, 2018."
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, April 1, 2016



The Minnesota Youth Symphonies Symphony Orchestra travels to Cuba
The Minnesota Youth Symphonies Symphony Orchestra will take an eight-day, four-city tour of Cuba from June 19 to 26, 2017. Manny Laureano, the orchestra's co-artistic director, will travel with MYS students to Cienfugos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and Havana to perform three concerts and participate in four musical exchanges and workshops with local professional and student musicians... Neeta Helms, President of Classical Movements, which is arranging the tour, says, "Manny Laureano was a huge hit in Cuba. His personality and fluent Spanish, combined with his obvious joy during the Minnesota Orchestra tour, did not go unnoticed by Cuban students, officials, and musicians."
The Hub, Posted December 1, 2015


New York Times critics select the Minnesota Orchestra's trip to Cuba as one of the top classical music events of 2015
New York Times, December 9, 2015


Summary of the Minnesota Orchestra's historic tour to Cuba, arranged by Classical Movements
".love. There is no better way to describe the affection, admiration, generosity, appreciation, and sharing that took place between this impassioned orchestra and a joyous Cuban public."
Huffington Post, Jesse Rosen, May 20, 2015



Minnesota Orchestra's Cuba Tour Organized by Classical Movements Featured in Symphony Magazine
Symphony Magazine, Fall 2015







"Classical Movements is the go-to company for ensembles planning concert tours."
Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith, June 29, 2012




"Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said that music is the universal language of mankind, and Serenade! Washington D.C. Choral Festival, celebrating its second year, speaks the language with exalted fluency, offering lovers of vocal music an international concert experience nonpareil."
Spirit Southwest Airlines, May 2012



Singing that nourishes body and soul
"Helms has been doing business with South Africa since 1994... [and] one of the main aims of Ihlombe, [is] to raise awareness of the extent and quality of choral music in the country... When the festival was launched last year there were 14 choirs involved. That number has shot up to 36 for this year's event... Even local choirs will have the opportunity to branch out into new communities."
Cape Times, Terri Dunbar-Curran, August 5, 2010



"...The [Philadelphia Orchestra's] Wednesday flight from Barcelona to Lisbon had the most stringent bag restrictions yet, with hefty fines for those deemed too heavy. But the loaded-down musicians were allowed to board unimpeded. "Neeta worked her magic," murmured one."
Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns, February 6, 2009



Young Choruses make a joyful noise as part of Serenade!
"Singing together is one of the great and unifying pleasures we humans enjoy, and in so many ways, Saturday's program at the Church of the Epiphany downtown, part of the Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival, was a celebration of these pleasures."
Washington Post, Joan Reinthaler, July 1, 2012



Nations of song fill Strathmore on Sunday [as part of Serenade! Festival]
"A choir of 325 blended voices will fill one large concert hall Sunday -- and Sunday provides a free opportunity to check it out."
Washington Examiner, Marie Gullard, June 30, 2012 "Russia was an exhilarating, eye-opening experience. For comfort and safety a comprehensive tour package run by an experienced company such as Blue Heart Tours is the way to go."
McCall's, April 1998


"Blue Heart, which is number 1 operator to Russia from Washington, DC area"
The News and Observer (Chapel Hill, NC) , April 10, 1994


"Another benefit for the touring youngsters, though, according to their conductor [of the Rhapsody! International Music Festival], is the reaction of Czech audiences... Czechs immediately start singing along, tap their feet, and nod in time to the music." This kind of instant feedback surely boosts the confidence level of any performer, regardless of age or nationality."
Opus Osm, Mary Matz, August 9, 2011



Fearless Traveler 1996: What They're Doing, Where You're Going, In the Year Ahead
"...tropical Panama, which offers Spanish colonial sites and jungle and mountain wilderness and Peru and its Inca realms."
Washington Post, James T. Yenckel, December 31, 1995



"Classical Movements founder Neeta Helms delivers musicians and singers all over the world with the precision of a Steinway piano tuner."
Washington Post, Tom Heath, September 15, 2013



Review of Classical Movements' second commission for the Baltimore Symphony
"Gong whooshes punctuate the piece... and juicy dissonances abound."
Washington Post, Charles Downey, April 16, 2016



Review of Christopher Rouse commission
"... a centennial commission for Alsop and the BSO by Classical Movements, Inc... the short, moody, subtly scored work imagines a funeral cortege for Edgar Allan Poe."
Baltimore Sun, April 15, 2016



Review of Classical Movements' first commission for the Baltimore Symphony
"'Moxie,' written for the occasion by the composer Kristin Kuster (one of 10 commissions spearheaded by the Alexandria-based travel agency Classical Movements for the orchestra's centennial), was literally tailor-made, and sounded it..."
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, February 12, 2016



Review of Classical Movement's commission for the Baltimore Symphony
"Kristin Kuster's 'MOXIE,' the first of several BSO centennial commissions to be given world premieres this year, proved to be well-crafted and colorful."
Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith, February 12, 2016



"'When Marin Alsop approached us about these commissions, we were delighted to support them, an orchestra that happens to be in our own backyard,' said Classical Movements founder and president Neeta Helms."
Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith, March 11, 2015



"There are 10 short new pieces by Caroline Shaw, Joan Tower, Kristen Kuster, and seven others, commissioned for the centennial by Classical Movements in Alexandria, as a gift to the orchestra and its music director, Marin Alsop."
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, March 11, 2015



Music brings people together
Ihlombe! South African Music Festival at the University of Pretoria
Pretoria East Rekord, July 2014



Escalonia de Montserrat performs at Strathmore
Press coverage of the legendary boys choir's first U.S. tour.
Washington Post, March 2013



"Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements, which works with major orchestras as well as tours by youth orchestras and choirs, says 2009 looks to be its busiest year ever."
Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns, February 6, 2009



"Blue Heart Tours... This is the lowest price I was able to find for summer departures [to Russia], and there is no add-on fare to New York. The package includes a full-day trip into the countryside to visit the monasteries and cathedrals in 11th century village of Suzdal."
Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, Moscow Bureau Chief, May 16, 1993



"The Washington-based Blue Heart Travel Group is offering an 11-day Good Hope tour that begins with a visit to Pretoria and continues through Eastern Transvaal to Kruger National Park. After two nights at an air-conditioned "rest camp" there and a full day of game tracking, group members fly to Cape Town, where they will spend the rest of their nights, with day trips to the Cape Winelands and Cape Point."
New York Times recommends Blue Heart Tours, October 22, 1995


"Few companies can count 2,034 clients in their very first year of operation."
Jax Fax, June 1994



Woman Around Town: Neeta Helms - The Class Act Behind Classical Movements
Woman Around Town, September 2012



Wonderful Choirs Connect Georgia and USA
"Deputy Chief of US Mission Kent Logsdon thanked Classical Movements for organizing such an amazing concert tour and praised YAC (Yale Alumni Chorus) musicians for their great charity activities and Vakhtang Kahidze for his wonderful orchestra."
Georgia Messenger, Salome Modebadze, June 28, 2011


"In September 1994, Blue Heart began departures for South Africa."
JaxFax Travel Marketing Magazine, February 1995



"Ihlombe! Festival brings world's choirs to South Africa"
Beeld, Anna-Retha Bouwer, June 25, 2012


"Helms said Croatia has plenty to offer Americans."It is very much coastal, semi-Mediterranean, since it is north of what you call traditional Mediterranean," she said. "Even though we are going along the Adriatic, it is not a beach experience. It has some very old and historic towns. It is very cultural. It is like doing classical Greece with antiquities."
Tour and Travel News, Michael Milligan, April 22, 1996


"...[Blue Heart Tours offers] sightseeing and time for independent exploration in Paris and south of France, including Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Avignon, Nimes, Les Baux, Arles, Marseilles, Cassis and Camargue,. Enjoy flowers, herbs foods and wines. Highlights include Cezanne's studio in Aix, a bakery museum in Lubernon; Palais des Papes in Avignon; the Amphitheater in Nimes; Roman Ruins and the van Gogh asylum in St. Remy; the Cloisters in Arles and a safari dinner and horse ride in Camargue."
International Travel News, December 1996



"First came tours of KGB headquarters in Moscow, then outdoor adventure trips in Siberia. Now a Washington travel agency [Blue Heart Tours] is sponsoring package trips to Russian space centers, including viewing a manned launch on June 20 from the formerly secret launch site. .... Helms said this is the first time the space center will be open to anyone who isn't with an official delegation."
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 15, 1994



"Tale of Two Cities, Blue Heart Tours. Ten days in Moscow and St. Petersburg include the usual highlights such as the Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great, Winter Palace and State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and Kremlin in Moscow. "
USA Today, May 22, 1996


"Since 1992, Blue Heart Tours has specialized in tours to Russia offering "excellent prices on complete tours."
Travel World News, October 1996




Opera Legend Baritone Sherrill Milnes directed Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Estates Theater, Prague as part of Prague Summer Nights
Read the press coverage


Classical Movement's role in the Kennedy Center's 2016-17 season
"A lot of the season's offerings are being shoehorned into the catchall festival that's the season's overarching theme: a celebration of the centennial of John F. Kennedy's birth. One of the exceptions is the Serenade Festival, an international choral festival which has been held in DC for several years; this year, it will move (in part) to the Kennedy Center and present choruses from countries where the Peace Corps, a Kennedy initiative, has been active."
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, March 8, 2016



How touring puts orchestras on the map
"According to Classical Movements, the Alexandria-based travel agency that is responsible for booking and arranging the NSO's tours, orchestra touring is on the rise, well on the rebound from the days without travel after the financial crisis of 2008."
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, February 10, 2016



Review of Ihlombe! by distinguished conductor Joan Gregoryk
"Our choir left South Africa with a renewed sense of unification through the power of music."
International Choral Bulletin, Joan Gregoryk, April 9, 2015



Review of the 2015 Serenade! Washington DC Choral Festival
"This organization thinks globally. Sunday's choral groups hailed from Cuba, Slovakia, Australia, Canada and the United States."
Washington Post, Cecelia Porter, June 29, 2015



"...There is now an opportunity to see some of these young musicians in the UK. Juilliard415, the school's period instrument ensemble, begins a British tour with singers of the Yale Schola Cantorum in Oxford before going on to Windsor, London, Cambridge and then Paris."

Read more about this tour, arranged and managed by Classical Movements.
The Guardian, May 23, 2015



"...the Spanish were very excited to have such a prestigious group performing in their country, and that certainly shined through in the glee club's full houses and press coverage throughout the tour."
New Haven Register, March 26, 2015



Music from across the globe to sing together at Strathmore [as part of Serenade! Festival]
"On Sunday, [Serenade! Washington DC Choral Festival] is offering up a musical round trip with stops in South Africa, Australia and Canada - and you won't even need a passport."
Bethesda Gazette, Cara Hedgepeth, June 25, 2012


"...it's a trip of a lifetime, and we want to deliver a high-quality music product. Prague allows us to do that year after year."
Opus Osm, Mary Matz, July 18, 2011



"It is difficult to classify Blue Heart Tours, a wholesaler that started with one destination and one itinerary but now offers programs in Europe, Africa, and Asia. If there are defining characteristics, they would be the ability to keep prices low by watching costs and to provide value for clients."
Travel Agent, December 18, 1995



"The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra visit involved a human element that transcended the usual business of arranging orchestra tours for Neeta Helms, executive vice president of Classical Movements. She ushered the musicians from their first nerve-wracking security checks at New York's JFK Airport to their last tourist stop at Rockefeller Center on the way out of the country. "It was very hard to say goodbye. Usually when a tour ends we say, 'See you next time.' That's not true in this case," she says."
Symphony Magazine, Rebecca Winzenried, March - April 2004



"In keeping with one of the core beliefs of Classical Movements, and building on donations to the three benefactors of last year; some of the profits from the concerts will be shared between South African groups that work to help under-privileged communities and youth programmes. Classical Movements is also empowering local choirs by directly sharing the profits from ticket sales."
Johannesburg Star, July 2010


China Made Easy. Really!
"All the Excuses you have for not visiting- it is too far, too expensive, too complicated to arrange- are just excuses."
Travel Holiday Magazine, 1995/1996


Following their clients' hearts
"Blue Heart has followed its clients' suggestions to map out its expanding... vacationers travel from Guanzhou to Hong Kong by train visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and Tian'anmen Square and take in a performance of the famed Shanghai Acrobats."
Tour and Travel News, Michael Milligan, May 8, 1995


Norman Scribner Leads the Washington Choral Arts in France [Tour Organized by Classical Movements]
"...raucously enthusiastic audiences, packed houses, rave reviews, radio broadcasts, and extended ovations..."
Peabody News, September/October 1996


Goodwill Games: Blue Heart Tours appointed operator for games in July
"The board of directors of Aeroflot Airlines has appointed Blue Heart Tours as its official tour operator for the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia July 23-August 7. The games are held alternatively in Russia and in the U.S. every four years and are the brainchild of Ted Turner of CNN. Featured this year will be more than 2,000 athletes from over 50 countries and 16 different events. Blue Heart Tours has been chosen due to its close relationship with Aeroflot and the extensive tour program run with the airline both to Ireland and Russia from the U.S."
Travel World News, February 1994


New and Noteworthy
"Blue Heart Tours' lineup of Russia products includes tours, extensions, and a cruise. ....St. Petersburg and Moscow and throws in the medieval cities of Vladimir and Suzdal. Another extension is the six-day "Golden Ring of Russia" which visits Kostroma..."
Travel Agent, David Cogswell, 1997


New Itineraries Explore Southern Half of Continent
"The Blue Heart Travel Group of Washington reports a surge in interest to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. The company has several tours to these countries, which can be combined with other Africa packages or taken separately."
Travel Weekly, May 15, 1995


"Save money and go see how much Russia reminds you of the United States, and how its differences make you appreciate your own home all the more."
Jim Banke, Florida Today recommends Blue Heart Tours, July 10, 1994


"Russia Specialist, [Blue Heart Tours], moves to Expand With Two Good Hope Packages [to South Africa]"
Travel Weekly, September 26, 1994


"We were met by friendly and caring guides who spoke excellent English and were sophisticated in matters relating to history, architecture and the way of life in Russia, both at the times of the czars and of the Soviet Union. A folkloric performance was of outstanding artistic quality...We were offered flexibility in the choir of the sightseeing sites...My appreciation of the tour itself is quite reliable."
International Travel News, letter to the editor about the Blue Heart Tours Russia trip, August 1998