The morning of the Festa my Mother, Grandmother, sister, and I sat in our hotel room making last minute changes to my dress for that afternoon and the next day (Festa Italiana Chicago). Due to checkout times at the hotel, I dressed, did my hair, etc. at 12:00 as we had to be checked out at 12:30, and I walked around the Festa grounds waiting for my concert slot at 3:00.
When it came time for my performance I gave the sound-man my CD and waited backstage. I walked onstage and introduced my first song, received applause, and stood waiting... and waiting... and waiting... My CD would not play. Finally I started saying more about myself, the area, joking around etc. Still my CD would not play. Finally Tom walked out onstage and offered to have a sing along. As he sang "Oh Marie", my Dad was in the sound booth working on my CD. Turns out the sound-man's computer shut down right when he put my CD in. :)
My first set consisted of many Italian pieces, as well as several "golden oldies" to which the audience reacted very well. When it came to "Luna Mezzo Mare" the audience was clapping along and children were dancing around in front of the stage. At one point in my first set, during "L'Amore Sei Tu", a little girl named Sarafina decided she was going to climb onstage with me. She tried desperately to boost herself up but just before she got on her uncle, one of my sponsors through Santini Dentistry ran over laughing and pulled her off.
Between sets Tom Gursky and I sang "Can't Help Falling In Love", receiving a standing ovation.
I closed out the concert with... you guessed it... my signature song... "Nessun dorma". I received a standing ovation and several people asked for more, but I had performed all of the songs I had prepared and I had to hurry on to Chicago.
But before my Dad, sister, and I headed out there were two more "missions" to accomplish, 1.) There were many people who wanted to talk to me, and 2.) there was lots of Italian food to be eaten (lots of cannolis) !
Remember the little girl who was climbing onstage while I was singing? Well I noticed her hiding near the table I was eating at and smiled at her, which caused her to run away, but she came back with her Mom minutes later and started calling me a "rock star". I asked her if she wanted a picture (in her hand in the picture below) and she asked for a picture with me.
She ran away again and a woman came to our table and complimented me, she then turned to talk to my mother. I was about to take another bite of my cannoli when she said, "Здравствуйте, приятно познакомиться. Как дела?" (Russian) which translates to "Hello, nice to meet you. How are you?" I replied, "Хорошо Спасибо." and she looked shocked. "Вы говорите по-русски?" ("You speak Russian?") she asked. I replied, "Я немного понимаю русский, я все еще учусь.", which translates to "I understand a little Russian, I am still learning". She complimented me and turned to my Dad and they started talking about Russia, Russian dialects, etc. when out of the corner of my eye I saw the little girl, Sarafina ~ Before I could say hello she had run over to me and gave me a hug. Naturally I hugged her back and she ran away laughing saying "she was going to tell her friends she had met a 'rock star'". :)
I would like to thank my sponsors:
"Cuisine Art" ~ "Santini Dentistry" ~ "Slumberland"
for supporting me, and I will definitely be coming next year.
I had a wonderful time.