The sun was shining and I was walking down the hill to my writer’s room – Bar Elimar. Suddenly a little blue Fiat stopped along side of me. My favorite lawyer, Rossella Mancini, rolled down her window and asked, ” Are you going to the Festa dell’ Accoglienza?” Even though, I hadn’t the foggiest idea what accoglienza meant, I hopped in the car. Hey, a festa is a festa. Rossella explained it was a program to welcome the opening of the school year and sadly she had to get to the courts in Benevento and couldn’t attend the show. Loving the Iacovella kids, I was happy to join her mom, Carmella, in the audience.
What a Great Opening!
Google translating accoglienza I discovered it meant ” welcome – acceptance.” What a great theme to start the school year – let us welcome the new students and accept each other! Our local Scuola Di Infanzia Materna, Scuola di Elementary and Scuola di Media hosted the program in the village’s open air covered market. I walked down the steep street to the market – note I never talk about walking up the hill. The interior of the market was filled with smiling little faces dressed in their colorful grembiule – school smocks.
Ariele Valazolo was excited!
The pink and blue grembiule of the pre-scool kids were swishing with excitement as the little tykes searched the faces of the standing audience for mamma, pappa, nonno and nonna.
A tiny little lad – about 5 years old walked to the front of the space with great aplomb and put the microphone to his mouth. What an amazing host. Poised, he looked at the audience, smiled, welcomed all – Salutiamo tutti – and then introduced the first song. I wanted to cheer for him! Oh wow I did! The bopping and hopping 2.5 to 4 year olds singing their song were terrific. Little mouths moved to the music. The three and four year olds knew every word the teeny tiny folks got every other. It was wonderful. Next up was a 4 or 5 year old girl who absolutely perfectly introduced a wickedly wild song and dance done with cheerleader style shakers by the oldest of the youngest students. I loved it. The kids were like pink and blue bolts of lighting moving and grooving to the song.
Then my mind snapped – I could no longer ignore the constant blah, blah blah buzz around me. I started to get frustrated and angry. Stata zitti – I wanted to scream at the young moms who insisted on gossiping during the entire song. OK, so your kid isn’t singing now does that give you permission to be a talkative asshole. Then I hear Jack’s soothing voice twirling around in my brain. It is a different culture. You don’t come from this culture. Take a breath.
Right, I’m an East Coast woman who built two performing arts high schools and would have gently wended my way through the audience and kindly pulled a talkative mom’s hair out.
Next up were the first year elementary school kids – 6 year olds . They recited an incredibly long story! Memorizing is an integral part of the curriculum. I was impressed. The show continued with more freaking moms chatting up a bloody storm. Some one brought a baby in a pram and a gaggle of giggling moms had to ooo, ahh and chatter while the 2nd graders were reciting. That is when I couldn’t control my anger and started with my school administrator mean stare and the ugly sounding shushhh.
The show continued with each grade taking a turn at song, reciting and reading. Of course my favorites were the portions done by the kids in my extended family and the wee ones that I know.
Dear children – Keep on singing, memorizing and facing audiences. Please ignore the rude folks who are talking while you are performing. It is a life lesson in facing a tough audience. No matter what you do in life — some days there will be a tough audience.
Auguri to all the performers!