Michigan Honors Il Volo’s 10th Anniversary Feb 13, 2020

Even before the guys announced their ten-year tour celebration, Sharon Bear, Detroit IlVololover and fellow Flight Crew member, wanted to do something special to commemorate this momentous occasion. It had to be special, not just your everyday, average, congratulatory “key to the city” presentation, but something really big! This was Il Volo and she’d been following them from the very beginning when they landed in Detroit just over ten years ago. She was even in the audience for their inaugural DVD, Il Volo Takes Flight, taped from the Detroit Opera House and received Piero as he sang O Sole Mio to her in the audience. Yes, what could she do, what could she do? She thought.

The wheels in her head started to spin and she came up with a plan. But first it was time to contact Il Volo management. Through a good Il Volo friend connection, she was able to obtain Il Volo producer, Michele Torpedine’s email, and she contacted him. Shortly afterward, at the end of January, they arrived in North America to entertain us with their first few concerts, beginning in Canada. Michele forwarded Sharon’s email to Barbara Vitali, the guys’ personal and road manager. Barbara contacted Sharon. At first, Barbara was not too sure what Sharon was talking about and felt this was just another ploy of fans trying to get Il Volo’s attention. But when Sharon explained, in detail, how she had already put out feelers to the mayor and the governor, it really got Barbara’s attention. She listened carefully to the plan and was quickly on board. Barbara and Sharon stayed in close contact for the next few weeks, emailing and texting all of the details, both major and minor. In addition to keeping in constant contact with Barbara, Sharon worked tirelessly getting final commitments from the media and public offices, by making phone calls, late night texts, organizing press releases, writing biographical data, setting up remote Interviews, going through chains of command in sending emails, and even old-fashioned snail mail.

Since Il Volo was launched in Detroit at the Fox Theater and Detroit Opera House, Sharon decided to contact the Detroit mayor’s office. Well, why not? She called Mayor Duggan’s office and with a bit of negotiation and coordination, was able to get some agreement to honor the guys with appropriate fanfare. However, as he was going to be out of town, who could do the presentation? Sharon and his office manager discussed a number of people and finally assigned this important task to a communications director in the office, who just happened to also be Italian. Then began the decisions of what to say and how to present it – a letter or a certificate? Both were cookie-cutter formats with only names to be filled in. Nope. Not good enough for the Il Volo guys. A new format had to be designed – personal, informative and exclusively for Il Volo. More work, but finally all were in agreement. Ok, one hurdle down, on to the next. Who else should she call?

Sharon then called the governor’s office of the State of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Again, she was able to get through to the governor’s office and relay her project, which was also met with cooperation. However, much time was required to process this request as Sharon insisted on a new, personalized certificate, which was specifically worded for Il Volo’s 10th som folderanniversary. This endeavor consumed a couple of weeks of her time, ending with the governor’s office promising to overnight the document to Sharon’s home to arrive the day before the concert. Ok, who’s next on the list?

She called the Italian consulate, of course! Maria Manca is very proud of Il Volo and was looking forward to attending the concert.

Sharon had the three areas of government covered, now what else? The media, of course! She contacted the Detroit News, as well as TV channels, 2, 4, and 7, along with a local news radio station, WJR (with wide signal coverage to several states). Then Mike Hodges, of the Detroit News, was assigned the task of writing this beautiful article https://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/music/2020/02/12/detroit-il-volo-fox-theatre-opera/4728557002/ celebrating Il Volo and the event which would happen before the concert. The entire event would include the mayor’s office presenting Il Volo with beautiful certificates of congratulations for their 10th Anniversary, as well as their ground-breaking roots stemming from Detroit. Also, the Italian consulate would offer comments and the governor’s commendation presented. 

Our Detroit concert date, of Feb 13, was fast-approaching and the excitement of this whole event actually coming together was a bit mind-boggling. Even though this was what Sharon was used to doing in her past career, this was still a very complicated endeavor to take on.

As the Detroit Il Volo Gals celebrated Gianluca’s 25th birthday (Feb 11) at a local restaurant on Feb 8, Sharon could not contain this surprise any longer, and told us of her plans! This media project, was to take place after the soundcheck, at approximately 6p – 6:30p, with the concert beginning at 7:30p, at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. We sat there surprised and stunned at the news. We were also very happy for her and wished we could be flies on the wall, but alas, this was pretty exclusive, so we would not be able to attend the ceremony backstage.

The night of the concert finally arrived. The plans and logistics had changed a bit and it was decided that Il Volo would be presented with this honor during the concert, before their last few songs. A local

spokesperson presented Il Volo with personally signed letters from the mayor’s office, from the City of Detroit, making them honorary citizens, along with pins, and congratulating them on their 10 years of success. They also certreceived certificates of appreciation from the governor’s office. The Italian Consul was in the audience and her praise of them was expressed. Il Volo was informed that this was going to happen, but they did not know to what extent. The guys were very gracious and

surprised at this honor from the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. Ignazio was pleased to be an honorary citizen of Detroit, as he is looking at the pin below.

igna pin
Igna looking at the pin

After the presentation, they quickly went on to sing the aria from La Traviata and the remainder of the concert.

For those of us that were able to get home a little early after the concert, it was “news at 11”, or in actuality, more like 11:30p for Il Volo! Sharon was also able to arrange for channel 7 to do a short segment on the guys and the evening’s concert. It was just over a minute, but it was still a thrill to see them honored on our local TV news channel – an ABC affiliate – in the evening, and again on the morning news. There is a snippet of the segment here:  

Although things had not gone quite according to plan, Sharon was still pleased for the guys in receiving this grand recognition for their 10 years of hard work and success in their home country of Italy (and the rest of Europe), as well as the United States, Mexico, Canada, South America, Australia, Asia, and Russia! They are truly loved, the world over, on all six continents! Well, who knows, maybe there are some happy penguins in Antarctica, waddling along to Grande Amore!?

 

Jana

 

(facts sourced via Sharon Bear, photo credits are mine)

20 thoughts on “Michigan Honors Il Volo’s 10th Anniversary Feb 13, 2020”

  1. 👍❤️ Grazie Jana, for letting us in on this wonderful info
    And Grazie snd Congratulations, Sharon on your very worthwhile and exciting project…. and Grazie to all who readily cooperated.
    This is wonderful 👍✅❤️🙏🇺🇸

  2. WOW WOW , che meraviglia.
    I didn’t know about this event, and when I learned about it, the Detroit post was already published, I thought “damn, it had to be written”, so Jana, great job, full of precious details, since you were also present, Sharon it was fantastic and Il Volo was very honored. Thank you all. 🙂

  3. Sharon Bear, you certainly worked very hard to surprise Il Volo with Detroit’s certificate of honorary citizenship of Detroits presented to Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero. You are a true, loving fan. Thank you very much.

    Elisa Narie

  4. Jana, thank you so much for the wonderfully detailed post about the Detroit concert and the extraordinary, well-deserved certificate of honorary citizenship of Detroit and the commemorative pin to Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero.

    Elisa Marie

  5. Jana, thank you for all the great photos from Detroit. You did a great job on your post as I commented on in a previous post to you.

    Elisa Marie

  6. Sharon, we are so happy that you expended so much effort to create such a wonderful recognition and tribute to Il VOLO. What an achievement on your part and so well deserved by ‘our’ young men.
    And Jana, thank you for posting so thorough an article which immortalizes the events leading up to, and the delivery of, the awards from the government of Detroit, Michigan.
    Barbara, Il VOLO is fortunate to have you leading, promoting and protecting them. You are the rock they need and as a grandmother who raised three wonderful sons, believe me I appreciate what you have achieved. As I have read about their shenanigans, I have smiled and laughed out loud! It’s easy to identify with the stories.
    Thank you!!
    I’m looking forward to meeting them at the Straz Theater in Tampa on February 24th. I’ll be the one crying with emotions front and center.

  7. Sharon , you are wonderful. At the Gianluca dinner you were talking about it but I had no idea how much effort you put into it. Great job.
    Jana, thanks for telling us the whole story and giving Sharon the recognition she ddeserves.

  8. Thank you Sharon for all the work you put into this endeavor for our “boys” ! It was a lovely presentation & I was thrilled to see it & So deserving !! Jana you wrote a wonderful article & I always look forward to them !

  9. Jana, I loved Ignazio’s comment “maybe next we are American citizens?” And you asked if I could do that next? Uh. No. Sorry that my skills only go “so far.” But thanks for the comment AND for the wonderful article above. You are great. Appreciate it.

  10. Congratulations to you Sharon on the wonderful tribute you put together for the boys I’m sure the boys were impressed and very appricative of what you did. You are AWESOME

  11. Well done Sharon! You were up again some mighty forces (the ones who protect our boys). I am so happy the boys got some special attention for the good and love they generate.

  12. I am upset. I went to where that were performing, made picture, went to restaurant.. No one came. I am 75 years old and am almost blond. I think I deserve something for bravo g the cold. Shame on Atlanta.. Very upset!!!!!

  13. How wonderful for them. That was the beginning in this country for them and my beginning of following them. Good work, Sharon!

  14. Yes, it was an eventful night and we wanted everyone to know who really put everything together, and that it was not the person who presented it.

  15. Her name should have been mentioned during the presentation or at least she should have been given credit for her effort. I don’t remember hearing it. Correct me if I’m wrong please.

  16. Thank you Jana for letting us know about all the hard work, time and effort Sharon put into seeing that Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were honored in Detroit! It was very fitting for them to receive this there on their 10th Anniversary Tour!

  17. To Sharon @ Jana on the terific job you both worked so hard to show our precious Il Volo singers how much they are loved. Again I missed out their performance. I am also very glad Barbara is always traveling with them. I was living in Chatham then and would have loved to have helped.I have always said no other singer can compete with their singing, Well I moved to Dresden so maybe in the near future something else will come up that I could help. Loretta Foley.

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