Yes, it was a magical night for me, in spite of the disappointments as Jana has written. Magical just by virtue of even being there, which was a miracle in itself. When we first got the letter announcing the event, my granddaughter, Kate, said that she would like to take me as my present for my birthday and Christmas.
So we planned our strategy for hitting the computer button at just the right time to get the tickets. She, being the most techno-savy and quick with the finger, was designated to do the job. The tickets were to go on sale at 10 o’clock. I called her in the morning to remind her to be ready. Then at five minutes to nine, our time, it suddenly hit me that ten in Detroit was nine here. I quickly called her at work to tell her to get on it NOW, but she was in a meeting, and couldn’t be disturbed. She was able to call me back ten minutes later and got through right away and get our tickets-–just in time. Jana was right, they were sold out in twenty minutes. So getting them was in itself a small miracle….thanks to the guardian angel that whispered in my ear “time difference” at the very last minute.
The dinner at Antonio’s was great–seeing old friends, Chris, Jana, and Ginny, and meeting new ones, Sharon, Donna, Emelia and more. But on to the main event at the PBS studio. First, the diningroom--tables beautifully set with several bottles of wine included. My daughter, granddaughter, and Allene were in our party and others at our table that I got acquainted with, including Jo Longstreth and Kerri Buchanan.
Our table went first to the Meet and Greet. As Jana said, it was even more rushed than usual. We requested that I have a picture alone with the guys and then a three generation one. He, (the photographer) said that it wouldn’t be possible, so we opted for the group. As we were disassembling from that, someone, I wish I knew who, said, “let the birthday girl have her own picture.” They had already been told that it was my birthday. So back I went for that…..just the first of many kindnesses shown to me on that magic night.
After the Meet and Greet it was back to the dining room for coffee and dessert and she raffle. Michelle, the PBS hostess of the event, told everyone that it was my birthday, and all sang Happy Birthday, and there was a cupcake with candles. Kerri Buchcanan, a new friend, won the raffle prize, a huge poster of the guys mounted on a thick backing and autographed that night. Everyone was so impressed with it. Kerri brought it back to the table where we oohed and aahed over it, and the next thing I knew she was standing next to me and saying that she wanted to give it to me for my birthday!! I absolutely couldn’t believe it–who could give that prize away? It was just the most generous gesture ever. Another great kindness that I was blessed to be shown on that magical night.
Going into the studio for the filming, a woman in a wheelchair and Allene and I, who had our walkers, were put at the head of the line, which meant that we had front row seats and an excellent view of the guys, who were sitting at a high table. Piero was sitting at the end of the table closest to us, and throughout the evening he would look over our way and smile and say something. I think he was trying to compensate for the fact that they weren’t coming down during breaks to mingle with the people as they did the year before. It was a grueling taping with many retakes, and must have been hard for the guys considering how exhausted they were.
When the time was up, they filed out of the room, going right by the front row seating. When I saw Piero coming toward me I threw all caution to the winds, jumped up and grabbed him, saying “I need another hug” and threw my arms around him, and yes, I admit it, planted a kiss right on his delicious neck. Friends, before you censure me for being so aggressive let me say in my own defense–after all I’m 87 and it was my birthday--I couldn’t help myself take advantage of the situation. He gave me a real hug, too--not just an arm slung across the shoulder, and then he looked me right in the eyes and said, “Happy birthday.” What a guy! Amazing, isn’t it, what that can mean to an old gal? (another major act of kindness on this magical night)
I have to mention Gianluca’s display of his ever sweet and caring nature as shown when the guys were filing out. When he came to the woman sitting next to me, she took his hand and started telling him something that seemed important to her. It was a long story and she was speaking in Italian. She held on tightly to him, and although the security guy was telling her in no uncertain terms that Gian had to move on, she didn’t stop. Darling GG never took his eyes off of her face–he kept smiling sweetly and ignoring security. He was going to let her have her say. When she let him go and he moved over to me he smiled and touched my arm and then kept moving…..by then security was about ready to pick him up and move him bodily.
So that was the end of the PBS event and the next day I had to decide what to do about the poster. It was too big to take on the plane, so I opted for sending it by UPS. The cost was $75, but I didn’t think twice…..worth every penny. The boys arrived yesterday, and they are smiling at me now from across the living room. So it was a “magical night” for me, filled with many blessings. Just wish all of you Flight Crew friends could have been there, too.
Added note: I think we have to commend and thank the Detroit Public Broadcasting system for what they have done for the boys by producing the DVD’s over the past few years. They have brought Il Volo to the attention of the American public. And I thank them also for putting on the studio event allowing some fans the opportunity to be a party to the unveiling of the new DVD and have a close encounter with the boys.
Photo credits to: