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Monday, November 21, 2011

My life: so much to be thankful for!!!

Dear friends and readers,

The autumn is getting along nicely in NYC:  we are lucky to have a very mellow and pleasant weather lately. If it weren’t for the beautiful yellow leaves on the trees all around it would feel like spring!!
I normally don’t really like this season but this year I kind of love it! And even if I still in my summer mood I’m also dreaming already about Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Actually I’m already working on the program for my Christmas Concerts and all that Christmas music makes me feel so happy, like Christmas is already here!!
And before we know it will be Christmas Day and the snow will be here and so will the cold weather! Somehow now I can’t wait!!

After my busy October month, I’m still running to the so many events I’m invited to participate every week and I really love it.  Last Friday I was invited to celebrate the third Anniversary of the Perry Como Lodge of the OSIA in Long Island and Sunday afternoon I was invited to a Wine Tasting in Long Island by my wonderful  friend radio’s DJ Rita Monte.

With JJ
With Rita & Maria

Both events were wonderful and I got to see many old friends and to meet so many new wonderful people. I really love my job: singing is my life and the joy that I get from singing and entertaining people is a blessing. And I do love to meet my fans and my supporters and to thank them for making my dream of singing a reality!! I’m so grateful for people that support my music and show me their love. I know I bring joy to their life but they just do the same and so much more to mine with their love and applause!! I’m so lucky!! I call them my Angels and theya re my wing to fly!!! Thank you all!!

With the wonderful Charles Traina
After the event I went to my wonderful friend Maria where Charles, her wonderful husband, touched up the color of my hair! He's the best colorist ever and he's being doing my hair's color for months now!! He's wonderful and if you need his service you can find him at Anthony De Franco Salon in Long Island. You will love him!! I adore him!!

Kathie working her magic with my hair
Talking about being lucky and having fun this week it was also a very special busy week: I did a photo shoot for my promotional campain for the Carnegie Hall debut on October 20, 2012 and the new CD as well.

Early in the morning ready for hair and makeup

For this photo shoot I wanted to wear evening gowns, just like I do on stage, and set the pictures in a very romantic environment. I was blessed to have the support of the Columbus Citizen Foundation that allowed me to shot in their beautiful building and a particular thank you to John Bode who did  arranged everything for me there. I have so much to be thankful for!!

The day started early: at 8:30Am my dear friend Maria came to pick me up with her wondeful sister Kathie, who was doing my hair for the shoot. We drove to the beautiful building and we did unload the car with some help: I had with me 14 beautiful evening gowns from Daniel’s Boutique, a suitcase full of shoes and a big bag full of accessories, like gloves and fur stoles.

Piera working her magic with her makeup

The girls of Pomellato
Piera, my wonderful makeup artist was already waiting for me ready to work her magic. Around 10Am also Alex, the photographer got at the location and started to adjust the lighting for the first shoot. 
Around 11Pm also the beautiful jewels of Pomellato arrived with security!

With my Angels Piera and Kathie
First Kathie worked her magic with my hair: straight for the first look. Then Piera decided to go for a natural glamorous look for the first setting. Around noon I was ready to go. Alex had prepared the set for the shoot and adjust the light to make the pictures perfect.
Checking the pictures with Alex and JJ
The pictures were taken digitally so we could right away check them on the laptop of Alex and made adjustment if needed on the light and the facial expressions.
First setting a romantic picture of me sitting on a chair!! After hundreds of pictures we had a few great ones and we were ready to change the dress, the make up and the hair for the second photo setting.

Another look for more pictures
We decided to wear a glamorous dress and to shoot the pictures standing in the hall of the Columbus Citizen Foundation. All my team of Angels, Maria, Kathie, Piera and JJ were there to check that all was going smoothly while Alex and I were having fun with the camera.
There was also a friend of Alex from Italy that was quietly filming the photo shooting for a documentary he’s producing.
I always enjoy taking pictures with Alex. He’s a great photographer and a dear friend. So it was not easy to strake sexy poses with him…I was more in a funny mood…but we needed the sexy touch in some of them so I was really trying my best!! And we did had at the end some good shoots!! I can't wait to share them with you.

With the wonderfu Piera and Kathie
It was time to change the look, the dress and jewels again. We decided to go for a more sophisticated one. 
Piera and Alex adjusting my pose and my dress before shooting
I was wearing a Missoni Gown and I was lying on a couch in the hall. Well I had to stay in a very strange position for my body…. so we were all laughing at the fact that the pictures were looking gorgeous, the pose was so elegant and looked so relaxed even if I was having cramps at my shoulder for that position…thanks God we had in no time some good shoots I could stand up!! 
But the pictures were great!!

Having fun with my furs with Kathie, Piera and Maria

Another setting, dress, hair and makeup!!

It was time for a new up do of my hair and a new dress and jewels. Before I knew it was already 6Pm and was time to call the day. We had shoot 1500 pictures in 5 different setting and dresses, hair make up and jewels. I did not even had lunch, only some little snacks that JJ and Maria were giving to me here and then. Now I was sturving...but I was so very happy and grateful to have such a group of Angels in my life!1 Thank you Alex, Kathie, Maria, Piera and JJ. I love you guys with all my heart!!

Having some fun with wonderful Maria

Amost done: checking the pictures
We started to clean up the room and it was time for the hugs and goodby. It was a very fun and intense day. As you can imagine I can’t wait to see the pictures and to share them with you. Thanks to Maria and JJ I have a few pictures of the making of the pictures to share with you on this BLOG!! Great memories!!

In a few weeks I will be doing a new photo shoot since I need also some pictures with a NYC's background. I’m already looking forward to another fun day with all my Angels!!

Stay tuned for my next adventures on my next week BLOG next week!!

Love always,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Great to be Italian!!

Dear readers and wonderful friends,
How are you?

Time really flies when we are having fun!! It was September when I did the Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert and here we are in November already!!
I was so busy performing, did not had much time to sleep and most of all I never stop to be thankful for all that has happened and still is coming my way!!

The Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert was as always magical: a bright sunny day and so many wonderful people all around! Wonderful Eva Franchi surpassed herself this year with even a better program and selection of songs and performers; no need to say that I felt once again so honored to be part of it!!

With one of the Sergio's car

In September I also had some wonderful intense days filming a new Italian reality/docu TV program that will 
debut in Italy in January at Italia Uno entitled “Sognando Italia”.
It was just wonderful to show to the presenter, the beautiful and adorable Morgan Witkin my wonderful life here in NYC!!
We filmed from 8Am in the morning till midnight…intense but great days!!

With Cav. J. Maietta and T, DiNapoli
Singing at the raising of the Flags

                                                  Before I knew summer was over and October was here. October in the USA is the month of the Italian Heritage and Culture. A month that always see me running from one event to another celebrating the beauty of my own culture and home land with the Italian Americans. Such a privilege to Kick Off on October 5th.the Celebration of Italian Heritage Month at the St. John's University in Manhattan singing also this year for the NYC State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli . 

Such an honor to sing on October 7th the anthems at the raising of the flags in front of the  beautiful Statue of Mother Italy at the Hunter College in NYC.

With Supreme Court Justice S. Alito

And my October went on with almost every day one event to go if not two, like when I had the honor to sing a few songs at the Rutgers University in NJ at their NIAF Legal Council Conference with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. as key note speaker at 9AM in the morning. Well that day ended very late as I was also schedule to be special guests at the Wine Teasting of the UNICO Chapter of in Southington, CT. I’ve learned to sleep in  limos and in plains on my way to the events and even if must sound stressing for the majority of the people for me is quiet normal and fine. And I enjoy so much to be in company of the so many Italian American people that so much love and cherish with pride their Italian Heritage. I think I’m privilege and honored to be part of their events!!

CCF Gala singing the Anthem

On October 8 I was once again honored to perform the Italian National Anthem at the Gala of the Columbus Citizens Foundation at the marvelous Waldorf Astoria. I’m in NYC for 7 years now and to participate to such an incredible event is also always a chance to meet and spend some times with some of my NYC friends, and always such a great chance to get to know new and so inspiring people, like this year Grand Marshal of the Parade Joe Plumeri. His speech during the Gala was for sure one of the most inspiring I had heard in a while: I came to America to follow my dreams and Joe, a very successful and powerful man, talked to a silent room the life story of his grandfather who came to the USA with nothing and just a dream of a better life ending up achieving wealth and success!!

With Pia Toscano
 FDNY Chief Salvatore Cassano
With Joe Plumeri

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly
With Maria Bartiromo
Presidend of CFF Frank Fusaro and his wife

Then of course on Monday October 10 I sang once again on the Red Carpet of the Columbus Day Parade that was broadcast live this year in the USA by WABC and a few days later by PBS.  If you have missed it id the link to see it again.


Singing for ABC7

With Jill, Kathie Maria and Rita

With Kathie and Jill
It is always such a beautiful day. It starts very early since I have to be in the beautiful building of the Columbus Citizen Foundation at 9 AM. Then I have breakfast and I start my make up and hear. I was wearing this year a beautiful gown of Daniel’s Boutique of Monique Luhllier and I had a wonderful make up done by Jill Hart  ( and hear by Kathie Gallina (business phone 516-359-0908). Around 11AM there is always the sound check on the Red Carpet and then it’s only a question to wait for the time that the performance is scheduled!! And in all this waiting there is food and wonderful people all around. This year my friend Maria Gallina Traina and Rita Monte were also with me. Also this a wonderful occasion to meet old and new friends.

Receiving my Citation of Merit from the Queens Burough President
On October  18th, I was also honored to receive a Citation of Honor from the Honorable Helen Marshall Queens Borough President in cooperation with the Italian Heritage & Culture Committee of NY and Queens County  at the St. John’s University. It was a very special day and to be recognized for doing what I love so much feel always like a blessing! So much to be grateful.

Singing the Italian Anthem (Photo R. Chioni)
Singing at the NIAF
My October months ended last weekend with the NIAF Gala in Washington DC where I was honored to sing the Italian National Anthem for the 2.500 people in the audience and the impressive lined up of celebrities and dignitaries on stage, like former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and legendary singers Dion and Frankie Avalon, but also actors like Robert Davi and my friend, wonderful actor Tony LoBianco. 

What a moment!!
View from the giant screen
View from the giant screen

The stage

President Barak Obama (Photo R. Chioni)
Listening to the President
Nanci Pelosi introducing the President
And of course the presence as key note speaker of the President of The United States Barak Obama made the evening even more memorable. Because of his arrival the security was very high. They changed the sound check of the microphones from 4PM to 8AM. Luckily they rescheduled it at the last moment to 1PM. There were security guards armed and very carefully looking everywhere. Just before my performance of the National Anthem I wanted to check my makeup and decided to go back stage, where normally is nobody…I open the door and there where more than 50 security men looking at me so surprised to see me but also alarmed. Gently but firmly they asked me to leave that space. They were all there waiting for the President to arrive of course . So no chance to check my make up there!! In the room of the Gala there where more than 2500 people dining and also there everywhere there were security guards and sharp shooters. Finally it was my time to go on stage and sing the Italian National Anthem….no need to say that I was so proud and I could not believe my eyes…what an impressive view the room was huge and everybody was standing…and behind me all those celebrities and dignitaries….and back stage the President of the United States……a very special night!
Before I knew the Anthem was over…the applause followed and my heart was still singing with pride!! How lucky I was!!

The President walks on stage and kiss Nancy Pelosi

With Sal Davino
With Dr. Mignone, Cav J. Maietta, Claudio Bozzo and Jerry Colangelo
With JJ at the after Party
And then it was time for Nancy Pelosi to announce the arrival of the President: everybody was standing the lights where all on so to permit to the security and sharp shooters to see everyone in the room…..the applause was strong and energetic….there is was the President of the United States. His smile was captivating as he started with a few nice jokes, about not be able to cook like an Italian Grand mother and saying that all he had to offer was a family names ending with a vowel. The crowed was laughing with him…and then slowly he got serous and talked about serious issues…..the room was silent and pondering every words he was speaking…..I knew he was reading from the teleprompter that the White House staff had installed during my sound check…but still he was so charismatic and so powerful in reading them without loose contact with the audience! He has for sure a great charisma and a super talent when it comes to speak and captivate the audience!! At the end of his speech followed a huge applause! The energy was very high in the room!!  It was surreal to be in the same room with him and so close to him!! What an experience!
I’m new in this country and only since a month and half I Am a Permanent Resident of the USA, but I must say I’m having the chance to live some incredible experiences!!

With Robert Davi

With Mary Ellen
With Frank Mancuso
With Mary
With Dr, Mignone, Cav. Giuliana Ridolfi and Claudio Bozzo
After the President's speech they served dinner and they start to give the Awards to all the honorees of the night, among them also my friend Claudio Bozzo President of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (USA) Inc., the President of Confindustria Emma Marcegaglia, Hon. Capri Cafaro, minority leader of the Ohio Senate; Dion DiMucci, rock and roll hall of fame; Hon. Frank J. Guarini, former U.S. congressman and NIAF chairman emeritus; and Frank G. Mancuso Sr., former chairman and CEO of the Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio, a man I have had the chance to meet a few time.
With Cristina Fontanelli
And I was also lucky to get to chat with some great colleague of mine, like Soprano Cristina Fontanelli who was sitting at my table and Simona Rodano who I saw at the after party. Actually I took Cristina to the TV troupe of Sognando Italia that was filming the event for their program and they where so happy to interview her as well!!
Con il regista di Sognando Italia Giorgio J. Squarcia

Around midnight the party was over and it time for the after party. I was happy to have there with me also Mary and Mary Ellen two wonderful friends of mine that where also at the NIAF Gala, one from Pittsburgh and one from Philadelphia. It was fun to hang with them and enjoy the party: we had some great girlfriends time and girlie talk, if you know what I mean!! BTW thank you to them too for some of the pictures of this BLOG!! And also to JJ!!

Around 2Am I was so tired and decided to say good night even if there where still some party gurus going strong!!
What a night!1 I guess I fell asleep in a second……it was quiet an overwhelming weekend!!

Stay tuned for my next week BLOG about the preparation for my photo shooting for the new CD and the promotional material for Carnegie Hall on October 20, 2012 and more news!!

Love always,