On May 14th I was proudly part of an event for the Dana’s Angels Foundation. A year ago I got to meet, thanks to my dear friends, movie producer Sonny Grosso and casting director Chris Krauss, two incredible parents of 4 children, Andrea and Phil Marella. Two of their wonderful children, Dana and Andrew are suffering of a very rare and cruel disease called Niemann-Pick Type C disease.
The NPC disease is a genetic metabolic disorder in which harmful quantities of cholesterol and other fatty substances accumulate in the cells of the body such as the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow and, most dramatically, the brain. This year the annual benefit Gala was the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT and the star of the night was the King of Motown Smokey Robinson. Already for many years MC of the night were Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford.
This was one of the most touching and beautiful events I was ever part of. Frank Gifford said something very powerful “Imagine…. you have child, you see her or him taking their first step, saying their firth word, going to their first ballet class, climbing for the first time a tree, learning to bike. And then all of the sudden you see he or she regressing and forget all they’ve they learned”. So cruel is this disease. Well it was so very touching to see Dana, now 16 years old and unable to even move a muscle, on a video they show before the Concert, only a few years back able to talk, walk, dance. So very different for the Dana I’ve learned to know that night! And to know that Andrew, a wonderful child of 10 now, alive and full of energy now, can end up the same way in a few years!! A very special night that had made me understand that health is the true wealth and that help other less fortunate is real power! What a night, a real rollercoaster of emotions and most of all full of love and fun. Smokey Robinson was on fire on stage and the audience, mostly women, was burning of love for him!! What a night!
And after the show I was between the few lucky people that got to meet the King of Motown. A very unforgettable moment!! I become an instant fan of Smokey. A great artist and a wonderful human being!! I was lucky to be in great company the whole night: here I’m with NY Suprime Court Judge Eddie Torres also writer of movie "Carlitos Way", and with NY Ranger Hall of Fame Rod Gilbert and the Mayor of Stamford Michael Pavia. And here I’m with Movie Producer Al Messina and his beautiful wife and great makeup artist Lori Messina. If you want to learn more about this disease and help too, you can visit their website www.danasangels.org
May 17th I had my debut in Pittsburgh!! I drove to Pittsburgh. So we left home on Saturday 15, after only a few hours of sleep from the Dana’s Event! It was a very beautiful sunny day, traffic very moderate. A great way for me to see some the USA!! All over great panoramas…and I had fun taking tons of pictures of everything…really everything!!~
We reached our destination around 9PM able to see a wonderful Pittsburgh’s view at the sunset. It was time to relax and to call my wonderful PR in Pittsburgh, Karen , to hear about the Sunday planning! Sunday was planned a sight seeing of Pittsburgh in company of my wonderful street team: Karen, Mary, Irene and their guys Kevin and Vince!!
What a wonderful sunny day it was: first I got lost on my way to the meeting point. But when I got to find the place on Carson Street, the fun started and didn’t end for the whole day!! We started the day with of course a wonderful lunch at a very cool place called “Bucca”.
We had so much fun driving crazy the waiter who also took this picture….it was his second day and we didn’t made it easy for him while ordering all different salads and different soups to go with.
The laugh and confusion started when I though he said “Super Salad” instead of “Soup and Salad”!! After the fun lunch we went for a ride on the boat of the canals of Pittsburgh!! “The Duchess” was our boat! I was impressed by the so many wonderful yellow bridges!! What beautiful city! I heard that Pittsburgh is the second city in the world for the number of bridges, second only to my Venice!!
When was time to leave the boat we heard a very nice band playing and it turned out to be a very famous man playing the mandolin Chris Fennimore from WQED. Here my picture with him. Karen Mary and Irene introduced me to him. He works for the local PBS and he knew I was coming to Pittsburgh so I got also his very warm welcome!! What a nice place. People are so nice!! Then we took an adventure with the train and we went to the Theatre District to see the Cabaret where I had to perform on Monday!! And then it was time to eat again.
The girls had made a reservation on a restaurant in Little Italy! It had been already such a great day when Karen, Mary and Irene surprised me with a beautiful “welcome to Pittsburgh” cake with in the middle a picture of me singing that they had taken last October in Atlantic City!!! Oh boy that was so nice!! They also had a basket full of Pittsburgh stuff: t-shirt of Pittsburgh and the Steelers, a book with Pittsburgh slang, chocolate bars, nice little frames with picture of me with them taken also in AC…of boy that basket was full of wonderful surprises!
Irene had also made a delicious cake for me, and Mary had a bag full of teas and honing of all kind and creekers…. all things I need back stage before my show!! And I got a wonderful hand made “Pysanky” from mamma Eleanor. I was speechless. I’m so blessed to have such a group of friends in my life!! Thank you girls…you are very priceless!!! What an unforgettable day!!
And let me tell you , Kevin and Vincent were two fantastic additions to my life!! I can’t wait to see them all again! And then it was show time the day after…so much more fun coming my way! I had to be in the Theatre around 2:30PM to rehears with the band directed by Vito DiSalvo.
All went smooth and nice. Vito DiSalvo, who I had meet when he was working with Patrizio Buanne, had made great preparation and the musicians were great!! It was finally show time. While I was getting ready another surprise came to me. My FB friend Tommy Beppler from Canton OHIO who couldn’t make the show had anyway decided to come back stage and surprise me with a specially made for me cheese cake and some of his famous cupcakes!! It was so nice to meet him; what a surprise!!
The show flew by I had so much fun. There is only one debut in a city and the one in Pittsburgh was unforgettable! After the show I got to see so many familiar friends and to meet so many new fans!
And got to receive more gifts! Irene and Vincent got me some wonderful silver earrings and Anita got a wonderful “Make a Wish” bracelet with a diamond star with a very wonderful note and beautiful silver pen!!
What a night!! Can’t wait to go back!!
May 21th :I was performing at the beautiful Norwalk Concert Hall in Norwalk Connecticut for the Italian House Party with John LaBarca. A wonderful night with tenor Chris Macchio and comedian Floyd Vivino.
After the show there was a reception where I got to meet old and new friends. Mary Guarino came all the way for me from Boston and Susan Dorr from Rhode Island. They got me some wonderful relaxing candle, perfect to relax after such a busy month!!
It was so wonderful to see Stella and George Gelernt and Sandra and Forrest Blood who all came from NJ for me. So many wonderful special people. Also the Mayor of Stamford Mr. Pavia and his wife honored us with their presence. And it was such a great joy to have my friend Sonny Grosso and Chriss Krauss in my audience!! It was such a great night!!
May 27th : it was the time to my Concert at the Etcetera Etcetera in NYC in heart of Broadway. This was the first of a monthly event that I will be organizing together with Daniele Kucera, owner of Etcetera Etcetera, who’s also an incredible great Italian restaurant, Massimo Veccia, founder of Learn Italy NY, the newest Italian School in the city and radio personality Valerie Smaldone! I’m so very proud of be part of this great event that will promote modern Italy in NYC. Every month we will have music, food, art, culture and more directly from Italy!! This was a first successful and sold out event. Next will be June 25th. For tickets for this exclusive night you can call 212-399-4141. The place is very elegant but sell out quickly since only accommodate 80 people max!!
May 31st I had the honor to part of The Memorial Day Ceremony sponsored by the Little Italy Merchants Association. It was such a warm sunny day with the United States Marine Corps Color Guard. The mass was celebrated outside the Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street by Father Patrick.
I had the honor to sing the Italian and The American Anthems, a song during the mass and a few songs afterward! It was a very solemn event. I was so proud of being part of it! After the Mass and the reading of veteran’s names from the historic neighborhood of Little Italy, we all went, also the Marines, for a delicious lunch at the great restaurant “Il Cortile”. What a great special day!!
Here I’m with Jeannine and Carlo Verdone and Rocco Papaleo and in the other I'm with Gabriele Salvatores and her. I got to perform in Villa Roma for the OSIA NY Convention and this coming Thursday I will have the honor to sing the Italian National Anthem at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC for the NOIAW Annual Gala that will honor this year celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich and her family!! I’m almost never at home….but this is my life and I just love it!!