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Friday, June 17, 2011

Heavenly music in NYC: The Choir of the Pope's Diocese!

Dear friends and readers,

Spring is leaving the place to the summer: and you already know, for me is the most wonderful time of the year!!

My New York life has always a touch of Italia, a bit because many of my friends are Italian or are Italian’s lovers and a bit because I’m always looking for something Italian anyway myself so not to miss my home country that much, I guess!!

Last Saturday I was part of an event that really was very special in so many different ways! A dear friend of mine, journalist Franco Corrado, invited me to attend the last Concert of the Choir of Pope’s Diocese.

This was a wonderful event that actually started thanks to a another wonderful person I know very well, a man that I respect and love very much: Larry Paragano.
Larry is a very humble and quiet man, a man that has build from nothing an incredible empire in the USA, a very successful banker and involved in many different and successful business ventures. Nevertheless if you should chance to meet him you will think he’s just a sweet nice man, proud to be Italian and thankful to be alive, to have a great family and dear friends. You will love him like I do for his great heart and gentle manner.

With my MD Etienne and Larry & Sal
But Larry besides being very wealthy is also a very generous person, ready to help others when he can. He together with his best friend Sal Davino, another wonderful man with a great heart,  are the two angels that made possible for me to record my CD "And I Love You So". And for that I will be forever grateful to them.
They both are successful businesses men but they make to give back to the world.  

Larry actually has financed the reconstructions of the Church in the village in Italy where is family was from.
And it was actually during a visit to his own village in the south of Italy that a few years ago he saw the Choir of Pope’s Diocese and feel in love with thier music.
And that said he deiced to bring them to the USA. Well as you can imagine it wasn’t an easy thing to be arranged, not only for its costs but also for all the things that need to be arranged. But Larry was strongly motivated to make it happen and it did happen.

The Choir of the Pope's Diocese
The wonderful 47 piece Choir of the Pope’s Diocese directed by Marco Frisina flew from Rome to the US and toured for the first time with sold out Concerts in the Patriot’s Theater in Trenton, NJ, the St. Patrick Cathedral in NYC, the Community Theater in Morristown, NJ, in the Palace Theatre in Stamford CT, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ) to end the tour at the   Regina Pacis Church, Brooklyn, NY.
I must say that the sound of the heavenly voices of the Choir really can steal your heart and can bring you to another planet. A surreal experience.
Monsignor Frisina conducting 
The Choir was accompanied by the great Livingston Symphony Orchestra directed by Marco Frisina. Monsignor Marco Frisina that I got to meet before and after the Concert is a very talented man. He too like me attended the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia where he received a degree in composition just before entering the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary to study theology.
Monsignor Frisina founded the Choir 1984 and since then he directs the Choir of the Diocese of Rome, which was created to accompany major diocesan liturgies, many of which are presided by the Holy Father, the Pope indeed.
The Choir has a total of 250 members and has performed all over Europe.
Monsignor Frisina singing with the audience
Monsignor Frisina besides being a wonderful Monsignor is a very talented musician and accomplished composer.  He has collaborated in many international projects with the Italian television RAI and also Mediaset. Frisina has authored numerous liturgical songs known in Italy and abroad and has worked on projects with Italian and international artists. In 2000 he also worked with Italian superstar and also one of my favorite Italian singer, Mina for whom he composed the songs “Magnificat” and “Nada Te Turba” that were so wonderfully sang also at the Concert in Brooklyn that I attended.
I spoke after the Concert with some of the musicians of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra who played for the first time with the Choir. They all were raving about the enthusiasms and charisma that Monsignor Frisina was outing during the performance. His energy and passion was really visible to all of us during the Concert. A very talented and wonderful man for sure!! Such an honor to get to meet him!

Singing with Choir at the farewell party
After the incredible Concert I was part of the farewell party for the Choir that was living for Rome the day after. It was so wonderful to hear the words of gratitude that they all had for Larry and the friends who helped him to organized this wonderful event.  The standing ovation and the applause were long and thundering and ended with a wonderful song that the Choir spontaneously started to sing engaging all of us to be part of it!! Just wonderful!

It was nice to talk with the Choir’s members. They all where so full of emotion and proud to be part of such a wonderful event. It was bittersweet as you can imagine, since they all were still enjoying the moments knowing that it was soon over and they had to go back home. I got to talk also with some of the musicians of the wonderful Livingston Symphony Orchestra who played with Choir. They were also very emotional. One of the violin players proudly was showing me the whole repertoire he had to learn to play with the Choir. Monsignor Frisina had a pop repertoire for the Theatre Concerts and a more sacral and liturgical one for the Church and Cathedral Concerts. Totally different repertoire one to the other and  equally so wonderfully performed. He was so happy to tell me how much he had enjoyed to play with the Choir and to work with his wonderful direct Monsignor Frisina. Actually his eyes were glistening with tears: so much had the experience touched his heart!!

With Larry after the Concert
It was a very nice after party and could see the joy in the eyes of Larry: the energy was very high all over the room. It was also directly decided to bring the Choir back soon, next year if not sooner was said!!
I would be honored to be part of this event when they come back, as you can imagine. I would for sure love to sing the “Magnificat” and the “Nada Te Turba” sung originally by my idol Mina or any of the songs of the pop repertoire in the Theatres, songs that I already sing in some of my show! But to do it with the Choir will be a dream!!
In anyway I will be part of the event helping promoting it since it’s for sure a wonderful special night and the Choir and Monsignor Frisina are just excellent!! I hope you will get to hear the Choir of the Pope’s Diocese next time the get in the US or in Europe if you live there. You will love it for sure!!

The Choir of the Pope's Diocese
The heavenly voices of the Choir in the embrace of the beautiful Regina Pacis Church and people all around singing along joyfully the “Jesus Christ You Are My Life”, a song written by Frisina for the 15th World Youth Day and adopted as the music for all Youth Meetings with the Holy Father, are for sure memories that I will take into my heart forever!!
And I want to thank also my wonderful friend Vito Catalano who was the official photographer of the Choir’s Tour who so graciously lends me these beautiful pictures for the BLOG!! Grazie Vito sei grande!!

Stay tuned for my next week Blog….yes about my trip to Venice and some of my favorite dishes, and more!!

Love always,



  1. Would be nice if you could sing with the choir.
    In that case they should come back to NY somewhere in October, within 10 days from THE EVENT of 2012 ;-).
    So I could attend it too ;-)

  2. Funny you got this idea Susi since I was just thinking the same. That would they can come as special guests to my show as well in read my mind!!
    Love, G

  3. In that case. I got 2 other suggestions.
    1) do the PBS also in that same time slot
    2) and also the musical

    See I want to have it all once I cross that ocean. LOL.

    Just kidding...but I do have some catching up to do ;-)