Again, I warmed up to my sorry old Walkman, which insists on skipping pieces of the songs I was rehearsing just to make it more difficult. But of course, The Fates wouldn't allow me to make it through a pre-performance without a wardrobe breakdown. I had to whip out my sewing needle and thread and do some needlework in record time (Yes I Sew).
All of this took me about an hour after which, we hurriedly drove to the church. Upon arriving we did a quick sound-check and made sure the background CD's worked along with the microphone. Thankfully both were in working order. It was set up so that I had to walk out from behind the church pulpit (from the back room), and across over to the mic stand which was positioned in front of the pulpit, and I was wearing . . . the blue dress with the capes. (Tripping hazard). The church was Both very beautiful and had excellent acoustics.
My Performance started out with Sacred pieces such as "Nella Fantasia" and "Ave Maria", and then switched to more secular music such as "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "If Ever I Would Leave You", "That's Amore", and "Nessun Dorma" (12+ songs in all). I also had the great opportunity to sing a duet with Chicago Lyric Opera Tenor Tom Gursky ("Can't Help Falling In Love"). It was my great fortune to receive standing ovations. ~ I then spent time with the audience members who attended the concert. In my humble opinion, the performance went very well.
Afterwards my family and I went out to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Tom Gursky for . . . wait for it . . . Italian cuisine ! The El Capitan in Spread Eagle - had amazing seafood and my favorite ~ gnocchi polmodoro.
~ Tom Gursky ~ by the way, is an incredible Northwoods Fishing Guide ~ for those who enjoy real trophies.
For this concert, I would be wearing one of my trademark red ballgowns. An hour before I was to sing I went outside, ballgown and all ~ my parents picked me up and delivered me to the performance.
To walk by shop windows and see yourself on posters advertising the Festa Italiana is pretty neat feeling. As well as newspaper ads promoting the the performers. (This could give you an Ego).
Many in the audience, recognized me from the year before - I had Won their 2012 Italian Idol - and they kept me busy talking until the moment I went onstage. The songs I sang were Italian themed of course, and I performed another duet of "Can't Help Falling In Love" with Tom Gursky. I received an excellent reception from the audience and when ever I would finish off a high note the audience would clap or give me a mini standing ovation, but the big "Standing O" came during & after my signature song, "Nessun Dorma". Afterwards, I spent about two hours talking, autographing and taking pictures with the audience members who attended the concert. Oh yeah as well, I ate a couple Italian Cannoli's (my favorite dessert).
Concert Highlight Song List
My Heart Will Go On (Italian/English).. L'Amore Sei Tu.. That's Amore.. Canto della Terra.. Can't Help Falling In Love.. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Italian).. My Way.. Nessun dorma..
My Mom came and told me she wanted to take a picture of me next to a sign that was in the center of town, so we went down the street - with me still in my big red ballgown - and we looked for the sign. I found a sign and asked if that was the one she wanted, but she said no, that there was a bigger, nicer one that she liked better. We walked until we eventually found that sign. It was bright and sunny, nothing could possibly go wrong. Well I stood in front of the sign, and I felt something move in my Mother's white lace shawl that was on my shoulders. I was in the middle of saying "cheese" and I ignored it. Bad decision because it turned out to be a hornet. I won't get too graphic here but let's just say it hurt. I didn't cry as I had makeup on. Normally I don't wear enough makeup to worry about dripping, but it was an especially bright day and in order to distinguish my eyes from my nose I had to take the necessary measures. I was still determined to get that perfect picture though so I put on a farce of a smile and manned up. The rest of the afternoon/evening we played Bocci Ball, my siblings climbed on bounce houses (I couldn't as I was still in my ball gown), and I took more audience pictures and signed things by the dozens. I autographed more cups and napkins that day than I believe I ever will !
After departing the next morning, after many Italian-style hugs and kisses ~ they asked us if we would come back next year to the 2014 Festa Italiana, to which we answered yes. Thank You Iron Mountain for yet another amazing experience and 'I'll Be Seeing You' next year.
"My adopted Hometown ~ Iron Mountain, Michigan !"