The Granny Groupies Face Off ~ Madeline Vitella

Oh, those Granny Groupies are at it again! If you really want to get the Guys attention follow them on Facebook- (“The Granny Groupies”- Our Custom Trip of a Lifetime). They seem to know how to get it done.  So cute.  Thanks Maddie!

Deborah Georgini Beaupre and Madeline Vitella (2 of the infamous “Granny Groupies”) flew into Nashville on February 29 for the Il Volo Concert on March 1 – what other reason would they have to go there???
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After they checked into the hotel they decided to get a light bite for lunch since they were meeting a dozen or more Il Volovers for dinner that night. They went to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and sat toward the  back of the restaurant. Deborah was facing the door and noticed a man who looked like Sal Carozza, the drummer, but by the time we agreed it was him, he was out the door as quickly as he came in (maybe he saw us and decided to run away! LOL!). We walked the streets looking for signs of Il Volo; after all, if one of the band members was strolling along Broadway on such a beautiful Spring-like day, could others be far behind? We came up empty!
divider music note very smallThe next day was an exciting day for us and all the other Il Volovers roaming Nashville! It was concert day and we had a pre-concert dinner planned by one of the native Nashvillians. We decided to take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium that afternoon, not only because it was a very historic building, but we had an ulterior motive as well (the buses were parked outside). The self-guided tour was great and we were able to roam about as we wished, even in the auditorium proper where the stage was being set up. Since we were there we decided to see where our seats were located, and they could not have been better if we hand picked them ourselves! We sat for quite a while and watched the workers set up the stage, lighting, and sound equipment but there was no sound check yet! We decided to go back to the hotel for a drink (it was a nasty rainy, windy day) and relax a while then get ready for dinner and the concert. As we were leaving the Auditorium, we engaged in a conversation with a lovely couple who just purchased tickets for the tour. We asked them if they knew of Il Volo and of course, they did not. Well Deborah and I went on and on and on about them and gave them a short (for me, anyway) synopsis of the Granny Groupies and our travels, etc., and explained how much we loved the boys and what great artists they were. They were finally able to escape us and get on with their tour!divider music note very smallShow Time! 
We walk to the Ryman from the restaurant to find a very long line at the entrance. While in line we met so many Facebook Il Volover friends and enjoyed chatting with them.  Finally the doors open and we were allowed entrance to the auditorium. People were anxiously looking for their seats and there was constant chatter in the room. I looked around and saw many friends who I hadn’t seen earlier, and low and behold, who is sitting right there in the second row but the couple we talked to that afternoon. They said they couldn’t miss seeing Il Volo after all of our enthusiasm earlier in the day. In fact, they told the person sitting next to them (a fb friend) that there were two groupies they met outside the auditorium earlier in the day and they just had to see what Il Volo was all about. The fb friend didn’t realize it was Madeline and Deborah that they were talking about!
divider music note very smallLet the concert begin:
The stage is dark and people are talking amongst themselves while waiting for the concert to begin. Along the sidelines of the stage you can see Piero’s father peeking out, making sure everything is ready for them.
divider music note very smallThe stage lights up and the excitement mounts.
First the orchestra members come onto the stage with a round of applause; then comes the band – Giampiero, Giovanni, Patrizio, and Salvatore – and a huge round of applause for them. Finally, Maestro Diego Basso enters the stage and the crowd went wild! That could only mean one thing… the concert will now start. The stage went black, the orchestra and band were ready! We were sitting so close we could hear Giampiero whisper into the mic and assumed he was giving the go-ahead. All of a sudden the Maestro started moving his baton and WOW! No matter how many times you hear the overture, it’s like you never heard it before and it just knocks your socks off!
divider music note very smallNeed I tell anyone what happens next? Probably not, but I will anyway. As soon as the overture ends you hear the velvet voice of Gianluca singing the beginning of Volare, and then suddenly he appears on the stage; next you hear Piero starting to sing his part as he appears on stage and finally, Ignazio appears while singing his part, and then all 3 of them are out on the stage in full view of the entire audience. I left out the part that when each of the guys appear on the stage the crowd goes into an uproar for them… the applause, the screaming, etc. They finish singing Volare to a thunder of applause and go into Il Mondo. When they finish each song it’s always a thunderous applause and screaming and you think the roof is going to come down.
divider music note very smallAfter Il Mondo, the boys came to the front of the stage and welcomed everyone and thanked us for coming. If you know anything about the Ryman Auditorium, you know it was once a church, and the seats are in half moons or semi-circles and are wooden benches with backs. When Piero came to welcome us he said that it had been a long time since any of them had sung in a church! The crowd got a kick out that; he had us all laughing.
divider music note very smallThe boys each did their first solos and were applauded and warmed with standing ovations each. They are truly incredible singers! Throughout the concert they were kibbitzing with each other and with the audience. One young girl in the audience, about half way back, was screaming so much that Gianluca motioned for her to come to the foot of the stage, which she did, but not before she went back for her cell phone, screaming all the way. The boys were asking her questions and wanted to know why she was screaming and she told them she loved them. Gianluca gave her a kiss on the cheek and I thought the poor girl was going to faint away! She was trembling! Either Gianluca or Piero asked her what her favorite song was and she went numb. He asked again and she said Per Te Ci Saro!
divider music note very smallI’m still on a high so I don’t remember what happened when, but I do know that their “Godfather” skit was more hysterical than ever! Ignazio was cracking up so much that Piero and Gianluca couldn’t keep a straight face. And Piero was bent over with laughter, as was Ignazio! Ignazio was adlibbing quite a bit, and he was interacting more and more with Gianluca this time! I, for one, was laughing so hard I was crying!
Before I go into what happens next, I want to say that every song the boys sang, either solo, duet, or all together, was more beautiful than ever. Their voices just filled the Auditorium like you can’t imagine. The richness in their voices always seems to amaze me, even though I listen to them every single day without fail.
divider music note very smallSo now for song number 9 – Piove.
Deborah Georgini Beaupre had an idea when the group going to the Nashville concert was trying to figure out what to do for the guys that would be special. Deborah thought about putting their baby pictures on sticks, so she proceeded to dabble with the idea. Another Facebook friend said that she would make a few extra to pass around. Another suggested and brought mini Italian flags.
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During the creative process, Deborah thought it would be good to have them printed on glossy paper, and when she got them from the place she had them printed, she decided to trim away all the extra paper around their faces. She also decided it would be good to have some signs made saying Ciao Ciao BambinO, instead of BambinA. These were done in variations of colors and with pictures of the guys when they were young, and another one with pictures from when they first started singing together up to the present.
divider music note very smallPiero started singing Piove, then Gianluca and Ignazio started singing their part. All of a sudden there was a sea of baby pictures of the boys being waved on sticks. The guys didn’t know what to make of it and broke out into broad grins and looks of amazement. They looked at each other as if to say “what’s going on? Did you know about this and not tell me?” Their reaction was just PRICELESS! PRICELESS! PRICELESS! After a few seconds Piero pointed to Deborah to bring him his picture and he took it from her, then Gianluca pointed to Madeline to bring his and Ignazio’s. They took them and put them up to their faces while continuing to sing, not missing a beat! We’ve all seen them surprise the audience by going out amongst them to sing, or bringing a young person on stage, etc. Well, this time the surprise was for them! It was really AMAZING to have seen this happen in person and even better to have been a part of it!
The concert continued and before we knew it, the boys were singing “O Sole Mio” and we knew it would be over soon. They say goodnight and leave the stage to thunderous clapping and shouting… Il Vo Lo, Il Vo Lo! Il Vo Lo! FINALLY, they come back out and sing “Surrender” and then the finale… “Grande Amore”! You cannot imagine the noise in that room when the boys left the stage. O.M.G.!!!
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When the concert ended people started heading for the doors. The ushers told those of us with VIP badges to go to the rear of the auditorium. Once we were all gathered in one place they told us to go up to the second level and be seated in a certain section.
The person running the M&G told us to keep the M&G moving and explained that he would take 3 photos of everyone in case some of them didn’t come out well. (I guess he didn’t look at my pictures, or else he was getting even with me for spending too much time with the guys!!!). He also told us that the pictures would be available on the web site in a day or two.
divider music note very smallFrom where we were all sitting waiting our turn, you could clearly see the boys if you looked up towards the top of the seating section, where the M&G was being held. There was no room; it was being held in the foyer of the second floor seating area.
While we were waiting our turn, we could see Ignazio and witness his antics during the meet and greet! They were calling 2 rows at a time so we had somewhat of a wait. When they called our row, we started up the few steps to the M&G and got in line. Since I was in front of Deborah I went first. Before I even approached the boys, the first thing I did was ask them if I could take them home with me… I would be their Nonna!
divider music note very smallAs I approached these beautiful specimens of human beings, I went up to Ignazio and gave him a big hug, but before I could let go of him I was surrounded by Gianluca and Piero. They formed a circle around me and were hugging me, and we almost all fell over! Talk about being swept off your feet!!! I only wish it could have lasted my lifetime!!!
divider music note very smallNow I’m talking to the boys about The Granny Groupies’ visit to their home towns and they were very aware that we had been there… of course Gianluca had first hand knowledge! And I realized then that Gianluca just loves to sign things… I had the cover from the Grande Amore Sanremo CD with me and Gianluca took it from me to sign, only to realize that he had already signed it when he met us in Roseto! He turned it over to Piero and Ignazio to sign.
divider music note very smallBy now the photographer was after me to turn around and have my picture taken, and according to Deborah, he tapped me on the shoulder more than once to turn around, but I swear I don’t remember! So you’ve all seen how my pictured turned out but I don’t care, because I had those few minutes of the boys all to myself, and while I don’t look so great, I am surrounded by beauty in that photo!
divider music note very smallSo now it’s Deborah’s turn. The boys were just chatting away with her and then they saw the baby head sticks in her bag and Piero asked if he could keep his, and Gianluca and Ignazio also wanted theirs. If you’ve seen Deborah’s M&G picture, you can see that they all have their individual baby pics on sticks. It wasn’t long after the M&G that Piero posted a picture of himself holding the baby pic stick saying “the face of a 4 year old on a 22 year old body.” That picture is all over the internet! If you look at the pictures from OMG VIP, you will see that Ignazio has his baby pic stick in his pocket in all the pictures that follow Deborah’s! Kudos to Deborah!
divider music note very smallI stepped out into the hall to wait for Deborah so we can leave for the hotel and who is standing right there but Caterina and Eleonora! They are two very sweet ladies. I asked if I could get a picture with them and they were eager to do so, but Caterina said she doesn’t like her pictures posted so I promised not to put it on fb. Eleonora took the selfie of us and it turned out great – did Gianluca give her lessons? Then I saw Gaetano and asked him for a selfie also and handed him my phone! That picture came out great too! Deborah was also able to get pictures with the parents but I think she took the selfies, not the parents because Deborah is good at that too!
divider music note very smallWe lingered at the venue chatting with other Il Volovers who had just finished their M&G and when we were on our way to the hotel on foot, the buses were waiting by the side entrance/exit, and who walks out as we were passing by but Piero and Ignazio! It was so cold and windy that they had scarves over their throats and faces, but they waived and said Ciao! to us, then they were on their way!
divider music note very smallThe concert and Meet & Greet may be over, but the thrill is still with us. And we relive it every day in our minds and hearts, and on the internet.
divider music note very smallThanks to everyone who posted anything and everything on the internet from the Nashville concert at the Ryman Auditorium.divider music note very smallCiao!!


12 thoughts on “The Granny Groupies Face Off ~ Madeline Vitella”

  1. This is a brilliant write up, thank you so much for letting us share your great experience

  2. Many thanks for beautifully detailed narration,it was a very cordial meeting old friends.Our boys certainly considered “granny groupies” but also for the faithful older friends.
    I look forward also the photos of meeting.

  3. Wow! Soun dslike you had a GREAT IL VOLO EXPERIENCE! Those baby photos were brilliant. I’m so glad they were a great hit with the guys too! I’ve got to find that photo of Piero with his that you mentioned. Did anyone get to speak to that couple you met before the concert to see how they felt about IL VOLO now? I hope they became instant fans!

      1. OHHH BABY! Come over here and sit on Pirates lap! I promise I won’t bite….much!

        Heeheeeeeee.. I mean YO HO HO HO!

  4. The baby picture idea was true genius…kudos to Deborah! Great post, and I’m so glad a good time was had by all!

  5. Thank you Maddie for sharing your wonderful experience at Il Volo’s concert in Nashville. Having their pictures on the stick was a fantastic idea. The look on their faces in the video when they saw them was great and especially seeing so many people waving them! Glad you had a very good Meet and Greet also.

  6. Madeline,

    Stories like yours are the primary reason that I start and close each day on FlightCrew.

    Although I am physically hundreds of miles away in Connecticut, I felt that I was sitting two rows behind you after reading your story. Each detail was brought to life with your words and I could almost feel your excitement and joy! The fact that the guys acknowledged and appreciated the baby-sticks was just awesome. What a special day you must have had and thanks again for sharing it with your FlightCrew family.

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