Casa di Babbo Natale (He is waving in the upper left window)
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the lights festooned on our village’s streets, the house of Babbo Natale created by the talented Nicola Ciarlo, the presents wrapped under the tree and I love most of all the music. Christmas without carols is like a night without stars. From the time I was in the children’s choir to today, I cry whenever Silent Night is sung, cheer on Joy to the World and feel the bells of Ring the Christmas Bells. Carols personify, the spiritual side of what unfortunately has become a very commercial time of year.
Last night, in Pontelandolfo, voices filled the theatre of Sala Giovanni Paolo II with joy and the power of the messages of Christmas. Student vocalists from the music and dance high school, Liceo Musicale G. Guacci, under the direction of Maestro Daniela Polito, put their hearts and talents into last night’s concert.
Selene Pedicini opened the concert with a plaintive violin solo. Singers entered carrying candles and joined solemn voices on the stage. It was the appropriate way to gather the attention of a talkative audience. Ms. Pedicini also acted as the program’s narrator, not only announcing the song but sharing the back stories. Saverio Coletta accompanied on the piano. Both Pedicini and Coletta are teachers at Liceo Musicale.
Having heard the Westminster Choir, I’m spoiled. That said, these fourteen to eighteen year olds knocked my Santa Claus socks off. Tight harmonies that blended into one melodic message. The Maestra, Daniela Polito, had them perform Silent Night in a variety of languages. It was stellar. Great articulation in not one, not two, but four languages. These kids are fortunate. Their Performing Arts High School is on a campus that includes the magnet school for languages. They get to study languages under teachers who are native speakers.
Two other pieces that not only moved me but had me embarrass my husband by shouting during the applause were a gospel piece – complete with clapping and choreography – and Can You Hear Me not only sung but done in sign language.
Ms. Polito needs to be complimented. Having been the director of a Performing Arts High School, I know how tough it is to encourage students in a variety of grades to work together as a cohesive performance unit. There are thirty students in the music track and all thirty are in the chorus.
Students audition for acceptance to Il Liceo Musicale and – Westminster peeps can relate to this – if the students do not cut it they will be asked to leave. Most of these kids go on to University level conservatories and their passion and drive is evident.
After the concert, I interviewed the faculty and of course my first question was – are there any students from Pontelandolfo? Of Course – Annalaua Tranchini!
Maestra Polito, Annalaura Tranchini of Pontelandolfo and I
There is something about young voices sharing the historic songs of praise, happiness and love that brings the spirit of Christmas to everyone in the room. I must admit, that I was saddened by how few people were in the room. It was such a fabulous concert that everyone in town should have heard it. But then, what do I care – I heard it and it made my Christmas bright.