New byline… dalla sedia verde or “from the green chair” in Italian….
Ah, sitting once again, in my sedia verde! Yes, it’s been a while now…. As most of you know, my work life was turned upside down last fall, and besides Il Volo, my work is my life, ergo, my life was also turned upside down and I was in an emotional roller coaster.
I expect things to settle down soon though. 😊
But I believe good omens are upon me…. I went to my favorite Italian restaurant tonight for a carry out. They often play Italian-themed music, Sinatra, the The 3 Tenors, etc. We never hear Il Volo though…. However, tonight, as I walked in, I heard the unmistakable voices of our guys singing Mama! I stopped to listen, very closely, as they often play the 3 Tenors version. No, it was clearly Gianluca I was hearing, and then pretty sure Piero and Ignazio. I asked the girl behind the bar who was playing, she didn’t know. I said I was pretty sure it was Il Volo. Blank eyes stared back at me. She said it was “PBR?” station? I was not sure what she said. I asked her to go find out, as I listened and listened, I was more convinced it was our precious 3. She came back and said it was the “Bocelli” station. Perhaps like on Spotify, or Amazon Prime Music, you can specify a certain artists “station” and they play their songs, along with other similar artists. Well, I couldn’t resist telling her that I was pretty sure it was Il Volo. Of course, I just had to show her my phone with my wallpaper picture of Ignazio and I. I showed it to her saying, “This is Il Volo….” She seemed to glance, as she was wiping down the bar, and then when she took a real look, her eyes immediately bugged out in surprise! As she looked up with surprising incredulity, I said, yeah, I’m a big fan….and told her this song was recorded at their concert at the Detroit Opera House, as I heard the audience clapping… I left with a smile on my face. I may not have added a new feather to my fan base, but I may have gotten her thinking? 😊
The temps have been mild here and the fog was rolling in. It had been a hazy day. I thoroughly enjoyed my pollo pepperanato, salad, bread, and this awesome peach spumante. Belly full and sated, I sat in my favorite sedia verde and promptly fell asleep.
I awoke to this tapping on my window. Scared me, as I looked out, I swear I saw the face of Gianluca! No, it must have been too much peach wine! The fog had rolled in thicker now and I had forgotten to close the blinds when I got home. I looked again, and sure enough, Gian’s beautiful face and penetrating green eyes, were staring back at me in the swirling fog, beckoning at my window. He wanted to know if he could come in. I’m thinking, my apartment is a disaster area! No way was I letting him in here, but as I looked around, it was spotless and neat as a pin. Ok, I must really be dreaming now! Lol! Ok, then! I went to the door and he was suddenly there. I let him in. I managed not to faint and asked him what he was doing there and how did he find me? He said, like Santa, they know where all the fans are! Especially those from the Flight Crew! “And you are here, why?,” I asked. Yep, leave it to me, to look a gift Gian in the mouth! Lol! He said all of the guys had heard how down we all were, since the guys didn’t have any concerts planned and could tell how sad we were. They decided they wanted to make us happy and to let us know that even though they weren’t officially performing, that they are always thinking of their fans and wanted to remind us that they were always there for us – “per te ci saro!”
“Oh,” I said, “that’s awesome!” He said he was also concerned about me! “Why?” He said he felt I was losing interest a bit myself and he wanted to be sure to remind me why I started to follow them in the beginning…. “Ok,” I said and before I could muster out an “how are you going to do that?” I was suddenly whisked off to my mom’s house, at Christmas time, where I sat flipping through the cable channels and happened upon PBS and the Takes Flight concert!
Ah, there was my Ignazio… chubby-cheeked, dimple-faced, adorable tenor that he was, even back then. Yes, the feelings quickly came back to me. Then I was seeing how excited I was when I was calling my one friend, Melinda, to tell her to quick, turn on PBS and listen to these guys. She’s like, yeah, yeah, not really interested. Oh, I said, you HAVE to watch them, they are awesome! I then watched myself again, sitting mesmerized watching the 2nd showing of the concert. It was so late at night by then, but I sat there like a little kid who had just seen Santa Claus! The joy, wonderment, and awe…
I forgot for a moment that Gian was even there, watching me. As I turned to him, he had the biggest smile on his face. He looked at me with those gorgeous hazel green eyes and said, “Yes, I think it’s starting to come back to you now…” I looked back at him and gave him the biggest hug! I was afraid it was a dream and he was just in my imagination, but it was real. He was real and his body had grown so strong from all of his workouts. He gave me back the best hug ever. I even kissed him on the cheek. “So where to now?” I asked. “Oh, there are a few more places I want you to remember…..” 😊
Ok, fast forward to about the end of August 2013. I must have told mom somewhere along the way, that I really liked this Il Volo group. I was upstairs, in my room and I remember her telling me that Il Volo was going to be on PBS soon. Oh! Awesome! Again, Gian was watching me as I watched the concert. This was their We Are Love Concert from Miami. Although “Beautiful Day” was an “old” song, I had never heard it before. I was quickly enamored and surprised when I saw my chubby-cheeked, dimple-faced, Ignazio, not so chubby anymore! I said, Gian, what really happened? He told me Igna had gotten some bad sushi, got really sick, and lost quite a bit of weight. He and Piero were really worried about him and then he kept on with the diet. As Gian was sitting there, I told him that this was when I decided that I just HAD to see them in concert when they came back, but that the September concert would be too soon and it was on my mom’s birthday!
We did a quick fast-forward to Christmas time again. They were replaying their Christmas concert on PBS. I was in heaven – figuratively speaking, of course. Gian asked me which song was my favorite. I replied, “O Holy Night…” By that time, I think I had purchased their Takes Flight, Christmas, and We Are Love CDs, maybe even the DVDs, too, I really can’t remember…. Anyway, PBS was announcing they had “special tickets” for their upcoming concert in June next year at Freedom Hill! What? Oh, wow, I’m going! They were in the VIP section! I quickly ordered these tickets. I was tickled, we were going. I didn’t even know who else was going with me, but I was going! Again, Gian is watching me. I said, “What?” He said, “I just love watching you, you were so excited!”
Suddenly, it was June 2014, Ginny and I were on our way to Freedom Hill. We had a nice dinner and were on our way to the concert when I realized we were going the wrong way! Oh no, U-turn…. Gian was laughing at me. I said, “Be quiet…!” 😊 We finally arrived at the concert, we still had lots of time, but the lot was filling up quickly. Reliving that concert, with Gian by my side, was so incredible. We even sang together on a few of the songs….”this time….” That was really one of my favorites, especially when Igna kind of takes it and runs with it! It was fun to see me watch Igna trying to find his Maria to sing to…. Even Gian said, “Look, he’s so close to you and then he stops!” True, but it was fun anyway. We did not know there was such a thing as meet/greets at that point and it’s a good thing, as I don’t think we would have afforded them anyway. We simply floated home after that concert. Gian asked me if I was having a good time? Well, of course, how could I not be?
We then had flashes of me at my job, trying to convert every soul that passed by my desk… “do you like opera? Ever heard of Il Volo? They are like the 3 Tenors…” Etc., Etc…. Every so often, I’d snag a new fan, it was so much fun. Gian was just looking on – fairly surprised. He had no idea their fans were so, well, fanatic! 😊 He said, “I wondered how our fan base grew so quickly – I guess this was part of it?” I even found an internet radio station that played “We Are Love.” He was really surprised to hear that and had no idea it was playing on radio stations in the US.
One thing that Gian didn’t know was that Igna was my inspiration for losing some weight. He did say they had heard Igna had inspired many ladies to lose some weight. Gian, hope you don’t mind, but you do know that Igna is my favorite, right? He said, “That’s ok, I know most of the fans have a favorite.”
Then we watched how I went home every night to scan the internet, just looking for anything and everything Il Volo. Gian was so surprised at that and then even he enjoyed reliving some of the videos I had found! Then he came with me on my walks around the block. He marveled at my joy and enthusiasm, singing to the songs on my MP3 player.
Yes, I said, I really needed to get back to that again soon. I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit… He said he understood and that they would always be there for me!
We even took a quick look at how all of the Detroit Il Volo gals, first met. Of course, there were just a small group of us then. We met at Antonio’s for Gianluca’s birthday. “Look Gian, we met all because of you!” “Awe…,” he said, “you really had a good time!” “Yes!” “We really made some good friends that night!” “Gian, remember? It was also the first night you guys sang Grande Amore at Sanremo?”
Of course, the following spring was their Pompeii concert. Gian told me how excited they were to do another concert for PBS from Italy, their home country. I told him how much we loved it as well and that Sharon, almost went!
Suddenly, we were flying again and it was June 2015. Rumors were flying that they might come to town to promote their Pompeii concert at PBS. Gian said they tried to keep it a secret as much as possible, but word got out and quickly spread like wildfire. He said they were pretty excited also about the exclusive meet/greet at PBS! We happened upon the day that I heard from Marie, that they were going to have the meet/greet. It didn’t take much for me to remember this moment in time. I had already signed up for PBS, just hoping I could be there on the night Il Volo was there. Gian watched in awe as I returned texts and phone calls with Marie. I was literally having secret conversations in the old-fashioned phone booth in our newly restored, historic Ford building. I had been saving up money, just for this occasion. Without hesitation, I gave all my credit card and personal info to someone I had never met! Lol! I told Marie, I was not taking any chances on missing this opportunity. She had met them before, but it was my first time. Again, Gian is watching… he had no idea we went through such turmoil, angst, and conniving! He said, “Wow, I had no idea you went through all this, just to see us? We are just 3 guys from Italy, singing and having fun!” – he said with a twinkle in his eye. Ok, sure, downplay it Gian… I told him I have never been so close to such an awesome celebrity before and I kept hearing from others that they were so nice to their fans, etc. With that, he gave me this great little shoulder hug and even kissed me on the cheek! Ok, now I was in heaven…. 🙂
I then got the email from Marie that said we got the tickets! I’m looking at myself and it was hard to tell, but I think I was in shock. “Gian,” I said, “I remember this day so vividly. After I read the news, I just couldn’t sit still for the rest of the day. My heart was pounding and I was literally shaking. I could not concentrate on work for the remainder of the day. I remember running down to see the other admin and telling her of the news.” Sure enough, there I was, just feeling like a Mexican jumping bean in my chair! I could not wait until I got home. “Gian,” I said, “watch…. I’m taking my walk and literally skipping around the block.” I told him he couldn’t really read my mind, or hear me, but I was saying “I’m going to meet Il Volo – over, and over again!” Gian started humming… we are love….
Part II to come….