St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Christmas Concert a Tremendous Success

Dec 09, 2018 462

BY: Michael Cross

The St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization held its very first Italian Christmas Concert this past Saturday, December 1st starring mezzo-soprano Benedetta Orsi, a native of Bologna, as well as famed soprano Stella Markou and pianist Alla Voskoboynikova. The concert, entitled “CHRISTMAS IN LOVE” was held at Grace United Methodist Church in the Skinker-Debaliviere neighborhood near Washington University. Dr Michael V Smith, music director of the church, generously offered the magnificent space for the concert. Around 200 people attended the concert and reception directly following the performance. 

This was the first time the Italian Community of St Louis has organized a Christmas concert of this calibre in St Louis. Proceeds from ticket sales helped support Italian Medical Foundation Fanep Onlus in Bologna which assists children suffering from psychiatric disorders. Each ticket-holder also received a copy of Benedetta Orsi's CD "Christmas around the World".

Musical excerpts were taken from Lakmè, Les Contes D'Hoffman, Così fan tutte, Samson e Dalila, as well as classical Christmas and holiday songs such as ASTRO DEL CIEL to the delight of the many Italians in the audience. 

Present to volunteer were students from the University of Missouri - St Louis music department under the direction of Darwin Aquino, conductor of the Winter Opera of Saint Louis.

The concert would not have been possible without generous donors and sponsorships from various organizations, companies, and individuals. The St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization especially thanks the World Trade Center St. Louis along with Director Tim Nowak and Deputy Director Stella Coen-Sheehan for a generous grant specifically for the concert. A special word of thanks goes to Mr. Nunzio Sardo, Director of Piva Group North America and Mr. Giorgio Bucci CEO of Arteco Global who both had given the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization a generous donation for this event. Donors and supporters include: Cav Franco Giannotti, president of CLUB Italiano Per Piacere and board member of the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization; Cav Michael Lombardo of CTIM, Cav Anthony Gandolfo of COMITES, Nina Held and Aggie Santangelo of UNICO, Carina Marino of Il Pensiero, Julia Masetti of Webster University, Tom Sudholt of the Radio Arts Foundation - Saint Louis,  Betsy Cohen of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, Umberto Mucci of We The Italians Magazine, Alberta Lai of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura - Chicago, and Anna Croslin of the International Institute St. Louis. A word of gratitude also goes to both Giuseppe Colagiovanni, Vice Consul of Italy in St Louis, and Giuseppe Finocchiaro, Consul General of Italy in Chicago, for their continued presence and support for the initiatives of the Italian Community of St Louis.  

The St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization, originally founded in 1987, has been formally re-founded by Michael J Cross in October 2017 with the assistance and oversight of the World Trade Center St. Louis, the approval of the City of St Louis and the St Louis County governments, the approval of the City of Bologna, and the approval of Sister Cities International. The St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization receives its funding directly from the World Trade Center St Louis and from generous sponsors and supporters inside and outside the Italian Community of St Louis. Each year the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities participates in the International Institute’s Festival of Nations as well as events of the Italian Community of St Louis, the other St Louis Sister Cities, and the wider St Louis international community. 

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