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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back in the US: two wonderful events!

Carissimi amici,


How are you?
With mom and my wonderful cousin Marta
Yes I’m back from Italy, from my work/vacation. It was great to be there as you can imagine. To see my parents, my family, my friends: well I haven’t been there for a year and half. I will make sure to never be away from them that long!! The weather in Italy was incredible. Sunny and warm just like in the summer. In a matter of fact I was sunbathing almost everyday in my bikini for the whole time: such a great time!! 

And of course the food was another plus to the whole trip: I had really missed the taste of sun ripe tomatoes, the real Italian barbeque meat, the fruits, the home made pasta and the gnocchi of my mom.  I also made a trip to Holland to visit JJ's family  and my dear friends Anja and Joy: so much fun! I took tons of pictures and I will share them with more details of the whole trip very soon in my BLOG!!
With Marisa May
Well I’m back now and I’m already working hard and I can tell you I’m happy too. I missed my music. Last Sunday, May 15th I had the honor once again to perform at the Leone di San Marco Gala in New Rochelle. Also this year they honored some outstanding Italian Americans. Here on the pictures you’ll see some of the recipients: the beautiful Marisa May, a wonderful business woman that following the footsteps of her dad, famous New York restaurateur Tony May and former owner of the Rainbow’s Room, has now a very upscale Italian restaurant in NYC with him the SD26 (www. Sd26ny.com). Very nice to hear her speech of how she always felt happy to be Italian thanks to her family.
With NYPD Michael Gervasi and his lovely wife
The Sonny Grosso Law Enforcement Award was given this year to a real hero NYPD Highway Patrol Medal of Valor Recipient, World Trade Center Disaster, Michael Gerbasi. It was so inspiring to hear his incredible story, a man that saved hundred of people that day, that got injured badly, and still decided to go back and keep working for the NYPD. He was sitting next to me a very humble and gracious young man with a wonderful wife and a wonderful family! Some tears came done during his speech, but I really could feel the joy and admiration of everybody when he was done with it!! A great moment that really made me think about the real meaning of life!!
M.D. Vincent De Vita
The Medicine Awards was given to Vincent De Vita MD. Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., MD is an internationally recognized pioneer physician in the field of oncology. His speech was also very touching and sincere. A very humble man that was instrumental in developing combination chemotherapy programs that ultimately led to an effective regimen of curative chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease and diffuse large cell lymphomas.
With Richard LaGravenese
The Screenwriting/Directing Award was given to Richard LaGravenese. It was so nice to hear his speech, to hear how much he was influenced by his being Italian in becoming a writer. He even got emotional remembering his own dad and the time spent with him going to see movie: a very touching moment. A very great man!! In case you don’t know among Richard’s movies, are the just new released movie “Water for Elephant”, but also some great movies like “Freedom Writers”, “The Horse Whisperer”, “The Mirror Has Two Faces”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, just to mention a few.
Luigi & Gayle 
With Maria & Sonny
As always it was a very uplifting event and a great occasion to get to spend time with some of my dearest friends, like Sonny Grosso and Christina Krauss, Luigi Moneta and Gayle Scott, who also performed, and Maria Traina Gallina, who drove me there and spent the day with me so to give me her welcome home!!
With Andrea, Dana & Andrew
Last Friday night,  May 20 I was once again  proudly part of an event for the Dana’s Angels Foundation. A few years 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. To say things easily: the children end up in a wheel chair and stop talking and moving till they die!! It’s a rare desease and that’s why the Marella family is devoted in collecting money for the research so to find a cure for this horrible desease. Dana is already in a wheel chair, but Andrew, now 11 is still a normal child, thanks to new medicine and the research of the last few years!! It’s a run against time I so much respect their commitment and strength as parents and as family!! So honored to know them!!

Regis and Kethie Lee
Frank and Kathie Lee

Also year the annual benefit Gala was at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT and the star of the night was Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Already for many years MC of the night are Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford. And this year also Regis Philbin stopped by with his lovely wife Joy!
The Live Auction
The Live Auction


The Live Auction
Regis and Kathie Lee were wonderful on stage and very generous too. During the Live Auction they both generously donated $10.000 each to the cause. Regis for a table at Rao’s on Monday night with Sonny Grosso, and Kathie Lee for a day of sailing on the Ticonderoga. Their act of generosity really was a good example for every one that soon after showed their generosity bidding very high on all the wonderful things the Live Auction had to offer: a dinner with Chazz Palmintieri and his wife Gianna at their home, three tickets for Rihanna and Cee Lo Green with meet and greet after the show, and a wonderful week of vacation in a deluxe Three Bedroom ocean front unit in beautiful Turks & Caicos.
It was such a wonderful feeling to see the generosity of the people to help the DART to find a cure to save the lives of all the children afflicted with NPC.
Well it was so very touching to see Dana, now 17 years old, still in her wheelchair but doing much better than last year. She even got to say a word a few weeks a go. And it was wonderful so see Andrew, a wonderful child of 11 now, alive and full of energy now and full of projects for his future. He must be worried to end up like Dana, but to see the strength and the commitment of his parents to find a cure makes him feel secure and protected, just like a child should feel.   



Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

With Frankie






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. After the Live Auction Frankie Valli hit the stage with the Four Seasons: just like one of his songs: Oh what a night!! The audience was standing almost for the whole concert and singing alone each and every song! So many wonderful songs!! Frankie was great and the young ladies loved in particular the 4 wonderful male backing singers, dancing and singing with so much energy!! And the Band was outstanding!!
After the show I was between the few lucky people that got to meet the Frankie. A very nice moment!! A great artist and a wonderful human being!! I was lucky to be in great company the whole night seating next to Sonny and Chriss, Richard Vetere and Lissa, Maria Traina Gallina on the second row just behind Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis and Joey Philbin. They were all happy too! 

With Richard Vetere, Bobby Valentine & Mr. Pavia
With Michelle Phillips 





I also got to spend time with legendary singer from The Mamas & The Papas, Michelle Phillips. the wonderful Major of Stamford Mr. Pavia and his dear friend, legendary Major League Baseball player and manager, Bobby Valentine.What a great night. I’m so honored to be part of it and it was so wonderful to see the Marella’s Family reworded with so much money for the research for this horrible desease. Actaully Phil and Andrea got a standing ovation for what they do when their enter the stage: very nicely Phil said he was happy to see the standing ovation for them but that he couldn’t wait for the real stand ovation the day when we will have the cure for this desease. He thanked all of us for attending the event in a very emotional way!!  God Bless them: what a wonderful family!!


If you want to learn more about this disease and help too, you can visit their website www.danasangels.org

I’m leaving today to go to Washington to sing at the NELA Gala. Stay tune for pictures and stories about on my next week BLOG.
Love always,
Giada