$6.86/second…Is It Worth It?

Hello all…. I’m going to cheat a little bit here (but I still have to pack, as I’m leaving for an exciting weekend with hot and sandy beaches – already getting chilly here in MI!) and repost this one I wrote last year, just about a year ago now.  It seemed to be a well-loved post, so I hope you enjoy it again.  I know there are some newbies out there that have not seen this!


Just an update… I still have this addiction and my pusher skills are still going strong, just recently I converted another admin at work.  It started out she was having a stressful day, trying to schedule some meetings.  I viciously sent her Gianluca’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Water from the first LA appearance.  I waited and waited, knowing she was busy.  I wondered… did she like it?  did she think I was crazy?  I started out with something in English and well-known.  I figured she’d at least like the song.  Ok, sent an email back “thanks, she said, that was wonderful!”  Oh whew!  So glad.  She’s a director’s admin!  lol!  🙂  Another week or two pass….another stressful day.  But finally, it was almost over.  I told her she need an Il Volo break.  I sent her the “new” Ave Maria and told her that even if she did not know the song or words, the melody was hauntingly beautiful.  I waited some more…. YES!  She loved that one as well…  Ok, time to really reel her in!  I pretty much had her hook, line, and sinker!  I think I sent her Nessun Dorma as well and then told her a “little bit” more about me and the guys.  Then I sent her this article!  Days passed… I knew she was busy.  Finally!  The email was returned.  She loved this article!  And she says… yeah, they aren’t too bad to look at, either!  lol!  Yes, folks… there are more fans to conquer.  You never know when some poor, unsuspecting person will just fall into your evil web of deception with those 3 innocent-looking faces!  I challenge all of you to make a new fan this week!


Hi, my name is Jana, and I’m an Ivolover. My obsession started about 3 years ago or so, and like many obsessions, it started out slow. But along the way, I had to find a friend or two to help feed my obsession and help it grow. It started with just watching them on PBS, with a 1 me 2concert or two. Then, I went to the concert. After that one concert, it became apparent that this obsession turned into an addiction! I just had to have them – their faces, their music, their voices, the sound, it filled my soul like no other euphoric thing I’d ever experienced! I became a fanatic, ordering every CD I could find and scouring You Tube each night for a video or interview, so I could experience this amazing phenomenon. I got my fill most nights, but I just had to have more. I started listening to them all day at work, playing the same CD over and over. The bad thing was, I became a pusher! Yes, every time someone came to my desk and asked what I was listening to, I couldn’t wait to start pushing my addiction on to them. And it was so easy, too. Just showed them the CD cover and told them how awesome they were. Then I brought in the DVDs for them to watch. I was so bad…. Pushing my addiction on others like that. When we thought we couldn’t possibly get more of them, it becomes our ring tones on our cell phones, and their pictures are our wallpapers on our phones and computers, and to really annoy those that aren’t our fellow Ilvolovers, we have their songs on our ringback tones on our phones! There we were, 3 ignaexposing innocent persons to just a snippet of their voices, every time they called us! I just had to stop, but I couldn’t. Then, I found what I thought was a support group. We met and shared our stories about our addiction, and they were all so similar. Kindred spirits! I’d also found this blog site, where I found more addicted and obsessed persons! This obsession was rampant, and I quickly found it was spreading like wildfire all around the world. The scary thing was that no one tried to stop it! We just kept adding more people to our group. Like all addictions, it was getting a bit expensive, too! We just had to have their latest CD or DVD and we had to have it now. We could not wait and thought nothing of paying expedited shipping costs, just so we could have it first! We went to concerts and fought to get front row seats. We did not care what they cost, it was “the guys!” Then there were the meet & greets. Were we afraid of overdosing? No, never! We knew our friends were there to help us. The cost of the meet & greets and concerts? Hundreds…to some, maybe even thousands! It didn’t matter. We were there. Even when we’d thought 3 gianwe’d had enough, we just kept needing more to feed this habit of ours. We kept pushing others, so they would share in our glorious addiction; this untold high we got when we heard our favorite guy sing “that” note! It was pure ecstasy for those precious seconds! The cost of those meet & greets become a distant past when you see their faces up close and personal.  Oh, and it doesn’t stop there….all of a sudden, we find out there is a concert in Italy!  The next thing we know we are buying a ticket to Florence or Verona and then we are afraid.  Afraid to tell our loved ones we are going to see the guys, yet again  – that part is not so bad, but we are afraid to tell them it’s in Italy (because we are sure they will be calling the men in the little white coats!)!  What a joy it will be to hear them in their own country.  We’ve yet to experience the joy and beauty of our own country, but don’t think twice about jetting off to Italy!  They don’t know it, but for those 30 seconds or less when you are looking into those innocent and talented eyes, they are yours! They belong to you. When you hold their hands, the power of your touch, matches 3 pierotheirs and it’s electric. The fire courses through your veins, their eyes penetrate yours and you are lost in those few seconds; you get dizzy, and lightheaded. You cannot speak; your legs feel like fettuccine, and your feet like cement blocks. You are rudely brought back to reality when they say to turn around and smile, and snap! You turn around one last time. You look at them and the moment is gone.

 

Many say, after one, or even two meet & greets, and the money it cost; that’s it, no more, won’t do it again. Won’t spend all that money on a ticket, or to get first, their latest CD…they are done. They are calling it quits. They try to be strong, but peer pressure is overwhelming. The date of their next concert is drawing near. Ok, you decide, you will go – just to keep your friends company. Well, maybe you’ll try to get good seats, but definitely no meet & greet. The time is getting closer and closer…you start to feel it again, as hard as you try to push it way, it overtakes your very being again. All of a sudden, you realize, your addiction is back. It’s this craving, this thing, it’s just so overpowering; you can’t stop it. You buy the ticket, you check your bank account, it’s nearly overdrawn, you buy the meet & greet!

 

No, no, you said you wouldn’t get caught up in this thing again. It’s not worth all the money, and the waiting, and anticipation. It’s too much stress! But, like the words in Unchained Melody, it’s a hunger; a hungering, for their touch. A need, only they can fill.

So, is it worth it you ask?

3 guys pbs

There they are, standing before you, looking at you with those innocent, sparkling, and playful eyes;

your hand reaches forth…1 hand

(Photo credits:  PBS 2015)

Flashback – 1 Year ago today: Detroit’s Notte Magica! Aug 24, 2016

Wow – it’s been a year already!  Where does the time go?  We’ve had an incredible year, the guys are enjoying their time off and the Latin Tour awaits.  Saw them 3 times this year – certainly not enough!

(thank you to those that have answered the survey from Tuesday – let’s get some more answers!  So far there are over 100 responses!)  🙂


Ciao a tutti!  Ok, this might be even a little longer than normal, but I think I if I didn’t have all the details in here, some would be upset!  🙂  Here’s the inside scoop…

Lorna and I had barely been back a week from Italy and on July 14, Chris and I received the email to volunteer for the upcoming pledge drive at PBS.   A quick check on Aug 24 said it was a live event – YES! Il Volo was coming! We quickly signed up to work the phones as we did last year, not knowing how things were going to go and we wanted to be sure we were there. Later that afternoon, we received the official email from Michelle Gaisser at PBS.  schedule Per Il Volo management, there were only to be 35 tickets available for sale at a cost of $350 a ticket! Oh no, our odds just dipped! She announced they would go on sale on July 26 at 10a sharp and enclosed the website link to the PBS site. Wow, there were over 10 of us in our little group. What if we all didn’t get tickets? Operation “get tickets” went into motion! Of course, we went to the website and as she had said, there was nothing there yet. We later found out this email went to about 250 persons. Our odds of getting tickets were getting slimmer by the moment. Ok, we quickly mobilized the troupes and our plan went into action on the morning of July 26. Ginny and Lorna were at Jana’s with fingers ready on the keyboards at 9:55am. Chris was at work and unable to order, so Ginny had her info. Donna went to Sharon’s, so they could help each other. Sherry was at home, at the ready, too! I was at the office, behind closed doors, waiting nervously for the laptop I had borrowed to strike 10am! I had preset the link to the website on the computer. I believe we all did. All we had to do was hit refresh, and boom, order as fast as our fingers allowed! We all agreed we would sign on and order at least 2 tickets so everyone in our group would be able to go. If there was a chance someone didn’t get tickets, we would work it out.

 

Ok, it was 10a – refresh! Refresh!! Refresh!! Wait, it wasn’t working, I was starting to panic and break out in a cold sweat! I quickly emailed Michelle and said it wasn’t working. Plan B. I went back to the original email, on my phone and clicked on the link! Presto! It worked, by then it was at least 5 after 10a and I was in panic mode. I quickly chose 2 tickets, that said that was our limit, put in my information and voila! It said I was confirmed for 2 tickets! Yea! I quickly texted the others and said I had 2 tickets. Oh, no, Sharon and Donna could not connect. I told them to go back to the original email, said they did, but that didn’t work. Ok, I told Sharon to send me her info ASAP and I would try to order them. She sent the info and I believe I got the last 2 tickets, from what I heard later. By about 10:20a, the tickets were sold out. We later learned that Lorna had gotten 4 tickets. So, between the 5 of us, we had gotten 12 tickets!! Just about 1/3 of the tickets were ours!

 

As usual, the anticipation grew, and clothes were getting chosen. OK, fast-forward…..August 24th!

 

It was a beautiful day, however there was a threat of rain in the forecast. We all met at my apartment (Ignazio’s Blessing – lol!) and took off shortly after 4:30p. A group of us, about 15 or so, met at Antonio’s the night before for a meet/greet/celebration of our own.

It was to start at 6:30p. After almost a 1.5 hour car ride out to Wixom from Dearborn, while dodging a few rain showers, we finally arrived about 6:15p. We got our badges, mingled a bit and took a few pictures. At just about 6:30p, they led us to the dining area. The food was all set up and waiting for us and the wine on the tables.   We were table #1. There were 7 of us sitting at a table for ten. Mingled some more and took more pictures. Had a glass of wine.ginny It was really warm in there and it wasn’t the wine! There appeared to be something wrong with the A/C! (Chris and I later found out on Sunday, while we were volunteering that the guys were too cold and they asked to turn off the air. A room full of 40 year-old plus women and they turn the air off!) Dinner was pretty good; better than last year. It was a little after 7:30p and we were anxiously awaiting for 8p to get there. Finally, about 7:55p or so, Il Volo security announced we could not personally give them any gifts we brought, but we had to put them on a table and they would take them to them. That was very disappointing for everyone. But at least they will get them and I could get rid of those t-shirts! They started calling the tables about 8:10p – late again. We were told they were rehearsing and on a tight schedule. However, they called table 3 first! That was ok though, I didn’t really want to be first. We ended up being the 3rd table to be called. There were 4 tables.food

 

We went in and it was nothing like last year. It was dull and almost sterile. They didn’t allow the others to stay in the room. They were ushering you out as soon as you were done. However, I did stay as I had put my bag on the floor and went back to get it and then stayed until our group was finished.

 

The guys were just standing up there, kind of looking bored, no presents, no fun, no extra lights. Red carpet, but dull and boring beige backdrop for pictures. We had nametags on and Gianluca was calling out everyone’s name, kind of announcing us – that was nice.

 

I was next. “Jana!” “Gianluca!” I exclaimed. I excitedly walked up to them, clutching my book and bear. I asked Gian and Piero to sign my book and Igna to sign my bear. After they signed my items, I brought them all close to me and told them all that I saw them in both all 3 - 2the Florence and Verona concerts. They seemed mildly amused that I had attended both concerts. I told Gian we went to Montepagano and how much we loved it. I told Piero how perfect he always was and he grinned broadly. I told Igna how awesome his note was in Per Te Ci Saro in Verona and he loved that as well. I then gave them all a hug and was time for the pictures.

 

 

 

Snap! Poof Scree-eech wait, rewind….!!

 

 

 

Sadly, that was how I wished it had gone!

 

Here is what really happened… I may have to turn in my official membership card (and I have one lol!) after I ashamedly admit the true story….

 

Some of it was true…. I was excited to walk up there, a bit nervous, but not too bad. I had already seen them up close and personal 3 or 4 times already this year! I handed Gian and Piero my book and asked them to sign it, then turned to Igna and asked him if he would sign my bear. He did seem to grin a bit at the picture, but signed it no questions asked… I did tell Ignaigna 3 that I had gone to Italy and was at both the Florence and Verona concerts. I think he said, “yeah?” At least I think he looked at me with questioning eyes? Then I had to tell him that I had to go 4,400 miles to hear them sing Per Te Ci Saro and that I/we were very sad they didn’t sing it in the United States. I felt so bad, I really did, because of his reaction – “yes,” he said, “we, know…” Then, I just turned around and said, ok, now what, and they said “look here” and took our picture. I then put my arm around Igna’s waist and said to him that Alessandra was beautiful and I hoped they were happy together. He said thank you with a little smile. I wanted him to feel a little better after I made him sad… I started to walk away and realized that I was missing the cap from my pen, so turned around and Piero had it. I took the cap, looked into beautiful eyes and said “grazie!” I then went down the red carpet to gather my bag…  Marie put my picture that Chris took up on the site, so you can see that. (the other professional pictures have not been posted yet)gian and piero

 

Yes, that was it – no hugs – at all, unless you count my arm around Ignazio! I hang my Flight Crew head in shame! Others were more successful than I – getting hugs and selfies, even, with Gianluca! Well, I guess I have to keep doing this until I get it right! Next time, I’m going to write everything down so I don’t forget it.

I WANT A DO-OVER!!!

 

Then it was back in the dining area for some dessert and coffee and the raffle prize giveaway. We also sang Happy Birthday to Mary to celebrate her 87th birthday! Some lucky lady won a HUGE signed poster of the guys. That same gracious lady, gave it to Mary, for her birthday! Mary was tickled – but how was she going to get it home to Minnesota!? I heard today she had it shipped UPS.

 

It was really roasting in there and suddenly the air seemed to kick in, I felt a cooler breeze every so often. Finally, 9:30p and the show was already starting. They gave us a lecture, yet again, on cameras, videoing (we could not), when we could take pictures, etc. That was a bummer! Ok, we got to go into the studio. The guys were sitting behind the desk, all prim and proper. They really HAD matured since last year. But they were also pretty tired. I knew, first hand, how exhausted they must feel, as Lorna and I were on the exact same flight they were from Rome to Detroit. I remember, about the 2nd day home, it really hit me about 8 or 9p and I wanted to just collapse. They all had coffee in front of them! Everyone always says, “oh, they are young…” but when jet lag hits, you can’t help it! Another lecture on when you could take pictures – only when he said we could, so many of the pictures you see are almost identical, except for the possible angle. Or for those that snuck pictures, somehow, when security wasn’t looking! I see there were a few of those pictures out on Facebook… I may have snuck a few also, but my new camera made a lot of noise and they threatened (and already did) take someone’s camera away if they took pictures when they weren’t supposed to! I wasn’t taking any chances. There were only about 3 or 4 times we could take pictures during the whole 1.5 hours of taping. Very disappointing. all 3And to top it off, the guys did not MOVE from their chairs behind that desk until the very end. I was so looking forward to that this year, since Chris and I were stuck on the phones last year.

 

They had a different gal this year doing the interviewing – oh good, we thought. Maybe she won’t screw up their names! What were we thinking? Agggghhh! She introduces Il Volo – “here we are with GianlucO, Piero, and Ig – naz – io!” Ugh, you should have heard the audience groan! I’m still surprised you did not hear it on the taping! She screwed up their names a few more times, we kept trying to tell those in charge to stop butchering their names. At one point, one of the security persons asked the audience, how many think she is messing up their names? Just about everyone raised their hands – I’m thinking now, those on the end didn’t because maybe they didn’t hear him? I raised BOTH my hands!! Finally, please, someone tell her!! Shortly after that, they started doing these promos for different cities. They went into their old routine of “I’m Gianluca, I’m Piero, and I’m Ignazio, and we are Il Volo!” Ah, finally, after about 10 times of doing this, we figured she’d get it right!? Like, why didn’t they do that in the first place?? Well, after that, I think she was too afraid to say any of their names, but did, finally, get Gianluca’s name right! I think she even screwed up Piero, but I’m not sure how. Such an embarrassment for PBS. I think the guys thought it was funny. Once or twice, even Ignazio said “GianlucO” with great emphasis on the “O” part. Lol! Good ol’ Igna – I hope she got the hint!

 

Ok, they did a few retakes and a few more promos. Finally, they were coming out from behind the barrier of the desk and coming toward us. Gianluca made a few donors happy, as I saw him with the headphones on. Ignazio must have really wanted to get out of there and he was coming down first. Ok, maybe I can get my membership card reinstated here, maybe…. I was being bold, not my usual style, and stood out in the aisleway, waiting for him to get near me. ignaI called out to him and then he stood still, and took my hand and shook it. Ok, no hug, but his soft, cool hands, were nice. He held his one hand over mine, as I shook his other one. So sweet. I told him, “if you see t-shirts, they are from me…” Ok, he said, and he walked away, out the door… Then Gianluca finally got near. Lorna had her moment cut short, so security promised her a few extra minutes with the guys. Gianluca came by and he purposely stopped him so she could take a picture with him. We finally convinced her to stand up, and she did. I tried to get his attention afterward, but it was a no go. Sadly, I was not able to tell him we went to Montepagano. And he walked out. Ok, Piero was last and the ladies up front were keeping him close. He was finally walking toward me and I took my big chance…I reached out to him and the guard was just about to push me away when he heard me say “I’ve never had a hug from Piero!” Ah, my saving grace, he backed off and I got a small hug from the deep, tenor, himself. Even though it lasted just a few seconds, he was sweet. He kept walking down the aisle, getting hugs from all the ladies on the ends. And then, they were gone! That was it, that was our “mingling with the audience” we were promised, by PBS!

 

Needless to say, we were quite disappointed. They really sat up there like bumps on a log, pretty much the entire night. No cutting up like last year. Maybe Barbara had warned them this time? Every so often the guys were really watching their performance. I opted to sit in the back row so I could stand up and take pictures without bothering anyone and of course, everyone else stood up in front of me! I got a few shots, but nothing great. Others were able to take better pictures that I’ve seen on FaceBook. I think the coffee may have finally taken effect near the end of the program and once in a while, Ignazio would sing a little phrase here and there from Mamma, or some other song. I’m sure it was just to stay awake! Like, that’s how boring it was!

 

One cute little tidbit… a few days before the show, a select few were emailed and asked to give some questions to ask the guys. Wow, ok, that was cool. Chris was one of the select few and she forwarded the email to me. I submitted 5 questions. They said there was no guarantee they would use them. Well, lo and behold, they actually used 2 of my questions! One, directly aimed at Gianluca… ”Being the only baritone of the group, how was it different, or was it any different to prepare for the concert for the 3 Tenors?” Well, I was tickled when I heard that – didn’t realize it until I was watching it the next night, as we couldn’t hear a thing in the audience. He gave a really strange answer and did not even really answer it. He said he sang this song by so-and-so and he was a tenor (I guess?), so in literally so many words, I guess he said he didn’t really have to prepare any differently? The other question I asked was, “if you could tell the fans anything, what would you tell them?” That was even the more oddest answer (I know that’s not good English, but Gianluca’s answer was bizarre!) Something about wanting to bring opera to young people? I really have to go watch it again.

 

I was happy to hear Ignazio say he was interested in studying more operahim being such the “pop” guy and all? And, I’m saving the best for last, this was not on the program….THEY ARE COMING BACK! In MARCH, to Detroit!

 

Yes, this hand will reach for her credit card, once again! Do you think I can get it right next time? Let’s wait and see!

p.s. well, as many of you know, I did get to do a “do-over” when they came back in March, and it was perfect.

 

A PRESTO, IL VOLO! Ciao!

 

 

 

Jana & Lorna, the Adventure Continues, July 6-8, 2016 – A Walk Through “L’Amore Si Muove!”

Ok, grab your second cup of coffee and settle in to read the last part of our trip, it’s really long!  Enjoy!  (please forgive any typos, grammar, etc. I am exhausted!)  Dani, if you read this – please add anything I may have forgotten!)

Yes, as we neared the mountainous city of Montepagano, the skies were growing more menacing and then splat! splat! splat!!  We had nowhere to go but up, and up, the narrow path they called a road.  Those that have been there, know…. 🙂  On came the wiper blades and up the harrowing hill we went.  Round and round she goes…. Lorna, bravely traversing the road, put the SUV in gear and safely navigated us up the rainy 20160706_160735road.  The rain came down harder and harder and it was difficult to see at times.  To one side of us there was the bit of road, to the other, a 50 foot drop!  There really was no shoulder to go on.  Over too far and it was ciao, ciao, ciao!  The scariest part was when another car was coming from the other direction and they thought they were the only car on the road.  There was scarcely enough room for another car to pass.  We finally made it up the hill, holding our breath with each curve.  At one point, we finally reached some level ground and a bit of a clearing.  The rain was coming down even harder, so Lorna pulled off for about five or ten minutes until the rain finally let up a bit.  We looked around, and not sure how we did it, but we actually passed Montepagano!  Like, there was more than one town on this little mountain?  So, we saw a sign that literally said “Montepagano” with an arrow pointing to where we had already come.  Lucky for us, the rain had almost stopped and was now just a light sprinkle.  We made our way back down the treacherous path and followed the signs to Montepagano.

The streets were actually pretty deserted of people, but there were several cars parked.  It was a Wednesday, so maybe people were at work and it was also raining.  The rain had pretty much come to a stop, as the ancient cobblestones glistened with the dampness.  We were not sure where to go from there, but we followed Dani, with phones/cameras in hand.  We marveled at the beautiful buildings and architecture, of how it has withstood the time and the weather.  We passed the famous clock tower on 20160706_160723the way and ended up in the center of town.  As we got closer to the little café, we noticed a huge banner across with Gian and some words from L’amore Si Muove, although it really wasn’t registering with me yet.  We kind of recognized some of the words, but it still wasn’t clicking.  Dani told us that this was the place Gianluca’s 20160706_154419-1 - Copynonno owned at one time.  There were a few gentlemen outside at a table, even though it was still pretty wet.  Since it was still slightly sprinkling, we decided to go in.  It was not very big, but they sold espressos, I think some gelato and we saw a sign for Nuttella crepes!!  Surely, in honor of their most famous resident, Gianluca!!   So, of course, we had to try some Nuttella crepes and espresso.  I think Dani just had some espresso and we enjoyed our crepes.  I looked out the small window and saw a sign that said San Spirito.  Hmmm….

We finished our crepes and went outside.  Where to next?  We asked Dani if she could find where Gianluca or the Ginobles lived?  So, she just looked them up on her phone in 20160706_160529the Italian White Pages.  Well, of course – where else would they be?  She found the address was on San Spirito.  We wondered where that was.  Wait, that was the sign I saw looking through the window at the café!  I felt like we were in a mystery and had to solve the clues.

We went down and over a few streets, and sure enough, we found it.  We kept walking down to where his address was, but it had a different name on it.  Maybe for us fans, they had different names, so they wouldn’t be bothered!  So, we kept walking, and around another corner, Dani pointed out where nonno lived.  Even though the skies were 20160706_162335cloudy, it was kind of nice and still very beautiful.  As we walked, Dani was pointing out the famous landmarks and then she said, “you know, this is where they filmed part of the video for L’amore Si Muove!”  Of course!!  Now things were looking familiar and THAT’s why they had that big banner with the words from the song on it!  Well, after we realized that Dani brought the video up on her phone and we traipsed around, trying to find all the places we could, in the video.

We found the domed church, and made it up the hill to the famous bench.  We walked along around the edge of the town, facing the sea, wondering which window Leonora took her lovely sunrise and evening pictures from.  I think I took more pictures in Montepagano than anywhere else besides the Florence concert.  It was so beautiful.  We certainly know why Gianluca loves it so!  Up and down we went, over the cobblestone 20160706_171404paths.  It was amazing that people can actually get cars down there.  One or two actually passed us.  It didn’t seem much wider than a few sidewalks put together.  We remembered the one photo in the video where Ignazio is leaning against the wall of a building and the tower and lamppost are looming in the distance.  We tried and tried to find just the right spot and tried to get a photo of me imitating him on the wall.  After 20160706_172518 - Copyalmost half an hour, it seemed, we decided it was nearly impossible to find the right spot, even after we tried to do a screenshot and enlarge the picture.  I finally decided the video may have been edited over later because we could never seem to get the right angle.  We even tried a few different streets!

It was starting to get late and we had been there for several hours by then, so we thought we should be getting back home.  As we rounded the few more blocks and got back to the main part of the little town, Dani pointed out to us a taxi.  Out of the taxi, came Ercole and Alessio!  No, we did not take pictures as not to appear to be too nosy…  Ercole got out and went over to a big, black Volvo SUV, got in and drove away.  We decided they were just coming back from dropping Gianluca at the airport.  That was the day they were on their way to Mexico, to make up the concert that had gotten cancelled previously due to the hurricanes back in April or May?  Ok, that was exciting to see them  – so unexpected.  No, we didn’t run into the family, or nonno, or 20160706_171703anyone else – we weren’t quite as lucky as Jeannette or Jane and Marie, but it was still fun.  It was this magical little adventure in this incredible small town, almost like a fairy tale, that no one had touched in hundreds of years.

We decided to make our way back to our car, we were pretty exhausted by then.  And what to our wondering eyes did appear?  O sole mio!  Yes, as we were leaving, the sun decided to come out!  I snapped a few more pictures under sunny skies and Lorna decided she wanted a picture under the “welcome to Montepagano” sign.  So we both took our pictures under the signs.  We waved arrivederci as we drove on out of the city. I guess we were actually pretty lucky it 20160706_173549was cloudy most of the time we were there, as it was starting to warm up pretty quickly in the short time the sun was out.

The ride down did not seem as scary in the sunshine, although the road was still pretty narrow.  It seems we took the back way down.  We got down to the main road and turned right.  Our Montepagano adventure was over.  We made our way back through the several round-abouts – they didn’t seem so bad in Italy…. I hate the ones here!  We passed a mall on the way and we asked Dani if we could go there.  We wanted to pick up a few things.  Inside the mall was a store like a Target or Walmart that had just about everything from food to clothes.  We picked up a few things and I 20160706_173753got a few boxes of biscotti made in Abruzzo and we got some really cheap Moscato – a whole 3 euros!  We dropped off Dani and then we realized we forgot to give her her CDs.

I wanted to go by the sea again, but we never made it.  We texted Dani that we were coming back.  Not many of you may know this, but Dani’s family has an olive oil factory, called Corneli.  How awesome is that?  We kept trying to ask her to buy some olive oil to take back with us, but she never let us!  However, when we went back to give her the CDs, she came out with two very special bottles of lemon infused olive oil!!  OMG! We were so surprised and tickled!  I admit, I had never had lemon olive oil before.  I could not wait to go home and try it on my salad!  We thanked her and hugged goodbye.

We made it back to our hotel.  We were pretty tired and we had to get up fairly early again, as we had to have the car back to Rome by 10:00am.  Lorna wasn’t really hungry, so our dinner consisted of Moscato, biscotti, and M&Ms that I had brought – they 20160706_181559-1 - Copywere the pretzel ones that I love!  I gave a bag of them to Dani, as well!  🙂  The Moscato was pretty good, too!

Again, we got up early and this time I was up before the sunrise to get ready and leave.  We had packed the night before and we were going to take showers in the morning.  However, sleep won out and we decided to skip the shower.  We went downstairs to pay20160707_060912 the bill.  Unfortunately, Italians do not believe in eating breakfast early, so once again, we missed breakfast!  The only hotels we managed to have breakfast in was the first one!

Part Two – All Roads Lead to Rome (or so they say….)

We had to get some gas and Dani had pointed out to us a self-serve place for us to go in the morning.  Ok, we got there shortly after 7a and it was pretty deserted.  We found the pump and even the somewhat English directions.  Ok, how hard could this be?  After several attempts, we were ready to give up.  We got as far as putting in our card, after we figured out it only took MasterCard, but couldn’t figure out where to put how many gallons or money that we wanted.

I spotted a guy a few pumps over and I told Lorna to move to a different one and I was going to go over and ask him.  Now this was brave – lol!  He looked to be middle-aged, and hopefully a nice guy.  I went over to him and asked him, in English, very slowly, if he spoke English.   He said, “no!”  I said, “little bit?”  He said, si.  He was pumping his gas and I was all excited that he understood some English.  I looked at the pump, looked at him, 20160707_080517and gestured with my hands a “how to” expression and said, “come?”  I guess I was being a bit anxious and he almost shouts, “aspettero!”  Huh, what?  Oh, “wait!”  Ok.  🙂  Ah, we can thank Il Volo for their song “Aspettero!” – I knew what he meant!  I shut up and waited until he was done.  When he was finished, he walked over to us and showed us how to pump the gas.  We thanked him politely and we were soon on our way again – about 30 minutes later!!  So much for stopping for breakfast anywhere.  We did take a bit of a snack type of cake from the hotel to eat, as that was all they had sitting out so early when we left.  But not even any coffee!

We left Silvi and Montepagano and tearfully said goodbye…this was it, our final leg of our tour of Italy.  All we had left was Rome and then, home from there.  It was a beautiful and sunny day.  A gorgeous ride on the highway.  Lorna and I were amazed at how little traffic there really seemed to be.  But we quickly found out that all the traffic was in Rome!  Lol!

We made our way down the lonesome road, passing the beautiful Apenine mountains and low-hanging clouds, amid the blue sunny skies.  The traffic picked up a bit as we neared Rome.  We didn’t seem to get much gas at that gas station, so we stopped at a roadside little pit stop.  That, I have to say was the coolest thing ever!  Wish we had those20160705_141159 at home.  You literally just pulled off to the side of the road, they filled your tank and you were on your merry way!  Which is what we did – almost!  (ok, this was over a year ago, so we can laugh about it now.  I was not even going to put this in there, but it makes for an interesting ending to our adventure!)

As many of you know and I had mentioned, Roma traffic is crazy!  There are two lanes, but three lanes of traffic!  We were kind of on a boulevard street and trying to get back into traffic.  It was awful… we went a little ways and we were still on the right side of the road.  As Lorna was inching nearer the street, the closer and closer the edge of the back of the truck came to our vehicle!  Of course, it was on my side – I’ve been in accidents before and knew the awful anxiety and anticipation of knowing at any second your vehicle was going to collide with something else!  “You’re going to hit the truck, 20160705_143151you’re going to hit the truck!”   I screamed, or I thought I did?  Sure enough, rr-iii-pp, screech, crack!  Oh no!  First thing I said, “you got the insurance, right”  “Yep,” she said.  Ok, whew!   🙂   I was afraid to get out of the car.  I got out and looked.  What we collided with was the – not sure how to describe this, but the truck was a medium-sized delivery type truck with the elevator type mechanism that would go up and down and we hit like the side bracket of it.  It tore a slit into the front quarter panel of the SUV just like it was opening up a zipper.  Looked pretty bad, but car was still drivable, thank goodness!

Quickly, two screaming Italian men came out after hearing the noise.   We could not understand them, but we got the meaning!  lol!  We waved the car rental papers and said we were Americans.  There was, of course, no damage to their truck, so thankfully, they just shook their heads and waved us on.  Ok, we were a bit stressed out by then.  We had nearly made it back without a scratch and now this!  Ok, Lorna had the insurance, so we should be ok.  We were just a few miles away from the parking garage.  It was just about 10:00am by now.  We should be ok.

We managed to somehow find the parking garage – thanks again to Google maps. I still want to send them a note one day and tell them they saved our behinds many times 20160707_080632 - Copywhile in Italy!!  Anyhow – we were in the final stretch.  Up the levels we went – almost as harrowing as the road up to Montepagano, but at least it wasn’t raining.  However, these were hairpin turns getting level to level.  We had just made it up to the fifth level and had just made it around the final turn – almost!  What happened next you ask?  Well….how about – SCREECH and CRUNCH!  You are thinking, “No….!”  Oh, YES!!  Lorna was driving very slowly and carefully, but it was just that final turn she misjudged a bit.  Luckily, or unluckily, the guys that were from our rental place saw it happen!  Lorna tried to back up, which started the scraping sound again.  On my side again, also!!

Quickly, the guys run over to her and yell “stop, stop!!  We will take it from here!”  Oh boy – so, I stayed in the car, while the guy jumped in and expertly backed out and maneuvered the car around the corner to safety.  He parked and I got out, and went to meet Lorna and gather the bags.  I was truly afraid to look.  It looked positively awful.  The zipper rip in the front quarter panel was nothing compared to the almost completely scraped side of the vehicle.  As I think about it now, I was lucky I could get out of the door.  I took one look at the car, and it must have been out of sheer nerves and stress, but I burst out laughing!  This was no laughing matter, but I could not control my obvious hysteria.

I was losing track of time by then, but nearly an hour later, it seemed, we were finally out of there and walking back to the train station.  We were starved and I remembered a McDonald’s was near there.  It was shortly after noon by then and McDonald’s was packed!  We managed to find 2 stools open in the bar-like area.  I left Lorna with the bags and went to get in line for lunch.  We had booked the tour to see the Basilica and were supposed to be by the steps of them by about 1:30p/1:45p.  It was nearly 1p by then.  We tried to get Uber to take us to our hotel, unfortunately this time, the driver spoke no English and we never connected.  Lorna asked where the hotel was and I had no idea.  We looked it up and realized we were within walking distance.  Ok, good thing for us!  So, we walked the few blocks.

When we got there, we encountered the only screw-up I had through the whole trip!  Somehow I had booked the previous night for the hotel!  Oh no, we were so tired and exhausted by this point.  “Do you have a room?”  Luckily, they did.  Awesome!  She said it’s on the 6th floor and oh so pretty, but the elevator only goes to the 5th floor, so we would have to take our luggage up the stairs.  “No, no more stairs.  You have to find us something else.”  I think she found us the smallest room they had, but it was on the 2nd floor, so we took it.  This was the tiniest room ever.  As I look at it now, I don’t think it was much bigger than my current bedroom!  It barely fit a double bed and dresser.  The bathroom was around the corner and not much bigger than a closet.  We both flopped on the bed in sheer exhaustion!  It had to be the worst and lumpiest bed ever!  I looked at the clock, about 1:15p, and I looked at her.  The tour was pre-paid, but I said, “I’m ok with skipping the Basilica, if you are.”  She agreed and we collapsed on the bed for a long nap!

As we lay on the bed, I remember calling Marie, almost in tears and said, “I want to come home!”  We had been through Rome twice and never saw any of it!  And not because we had a bad trip, it was incredible, but that last day just did us in.  After about a 2 -3 hour nap, we woke up and decided we should at least go and find dinner somewhere.  After20160707_190416 walking up and down our street where the hotel was, we decided it probably wasn’t the greatest of neighborhoods, so we ended up eating at this almost, only restaurant, across the street from our hotel.  Lorna had a pizza and I had the special which was 3 courses and dessert.  We each had a glass of wine.  I had pasta, and then chicken and roasted potatoes.  It was pretty good.

We went back to our room and got ready for bed.  I think I took my shower that night.  As we got ready for bed, we realized we both left some of our bathroom items in Silvi!  I also left my one and only sweater!  We both decided it must mean we have to go back one day to get them.  🙂

The bathroom – as you can tell from pictures, I’m not a small person.  Lorna is about half my size!  However, the tiny corner shower stall was so small, I literally had to go in sideways to get in and then I had to squeeze this body in.  Ok, the pasta, pizza, and gelato, must have caught up with me!  But Lorna agreed, it was a pretty tight fit, even for her.

We checked out and the hotel called us a cab to the airport.  We safely got to the airport and looked around at the passing scenery as much as we could, as that was all we would see of Rome…

After we checked in, we had breakfast.  We then stopped in an Armani store – they were having a sale.  Ha, ha!   We managed to find a sale corner and Lorna bought me a 20160708_085145souvenir t-shirt that said Armani on, similar to one Ignazio wore.  She bought one for herself as well.  It was the biggest one they had and it “almost” fit.  Let’s just say I won’t be wearing it in public for a really long time!

It was time to board….we happily thought of the guys, every time they said “il volo” and smiled.  Arrivederci, Roma!  It was a long flight and thankfully, uneventful.  We arrived on time and made it easily through customs and found our bags in the baggage area, just the other side of customs.  We could have had the guys in our luggage and they never would have known.  They just asked what we brought back and I said souvenirs.  Ok, would have been 3 very large souvenirs, but definitely souvenirs, wouldn’t you say?  🙂

Ah, home, at last!  Ginny picked us up from the airport and then dropped Lorna off.  She came by my place a little while later, but I felt bad because I think I fell asleep!  We were pretty tired.

We came back on Saturday, so I had one day to recover before going back to work on Monday.

Personally Speaking~Do You Remember When…

 

Gina sent in this amazing video from Piero from yesteryear!   Not only does the song caress the heart, but it shows such creativity on his part.  I remember when this came out.  We were all just blown away.

Gina, this got me thinking that many of our readers may not have been following the guys back then, so I am including some other priceless videos from the archives.  I remember spending hours on Youtube looking for any and all videos of theirs back in the day.  As much as I love seeing all of their new songs, I also love taking a step back to relive some very special moments in time.

This next video is before Il Volo sang, Maria, as a group.  Gianluca sang Maria as a solo and  he owned that song!   Before the song, Ignazio and Piero are bantering back and forth with how to pronounce the word, “world.”

 

 

And here we have their precious little friend, Mia.  Ignazio’s mother became friends with this family through a social media site, and you will see why.  The video her mother made of her singing and reacting to watching Il Volo on TV is priceless.  The genuine love and affection they show for this little girl is captivating.  The song is divine.

The next song, This Time, is an all time favorite as well.

 

More fun on the stage in Westbury, PA, before Ignazio sings Memory.  He has always been known for instigating the impromptu  comedy sketches with Gianluca being the straight guy, back then.  Gianluca has come full circle with his comfort level on stage.  But, there were times where he would look at them acting up, walk away shaking his head in humorous disbelief.   

 

I love  remembering how Ignazio had trouble standing still when songs were being sung.  The music pulses through him like blood through your veins.  He has good moves all the way!

 

 

 

 

I wonder if any of the people sitting in that room listening to them that day have continued to follow their stunning careers?  I sure hope so.  

 

And the rest…is history…

 

 

Thank you, Gina, for the great idea to look back at yesterday.

Credit to all owners of videos.

 

~Jane~

 

 

 

~Gianluca Ginoble~ by Serena

GIANLUCA GINOBLE

The music his passion, has accompanied since his childhood truly handsome, talented baritone, Gianluca of Il Volo.  He has always had the chance, through his father Ercole, attentive interest of good artists, to listen to great Italian songwriters such as Fabrizio de Andrè, and  Francesco De Gregori.  Check out his performance with our three loved ones at 2015:Una Avventura Straordinaria Concert, live at the Arena of Verona.

His grandfather, Ernesto, was a huge Claudio Villa supporter.  That says a lot about Gianluca and his stunning commitment to music.  He is well aware of the importance of giving a fresh eternal life to any kind of music, which willing or not, it was created to last forever.

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One of his idols is, as far as the more classical musical human heritage we are experiencing, Andrea Bocelli.  Watch Il Volo perform Granada, at the Zanetti and Friends, last year in Milan.

Gianluca’s love for music, together with that of Ignazio and Piero, brought a group of great producers to put these guys together as Il Volo.   That is also the reason why these young men with such voices are worldwide extremely appreciated for their, indeed, pure talent.

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For me and my friends, the Grande Amore tour, back in summer 2015, was a chance to really get to understand what this great baritone from Montepagano and his mates were about, artistically and personally.  To be honest, my support for them was born before the Sanremo contest, but it grew stronger as I met great fans like me.  Many criticized  Il Volo after their victory.  I didn’t  care and I still don’t mind.  They are talking nonsense.  I won’t say to other people they should ever become a Ilvolover.  My message is: don’t go telling lies you heard or read about them, as these guys are true and honest. Il Volo music makes my days.  Listening to them is something huge, Italia sets me free.  No other artists have given me such emotions before.  My friends and I had several chances to meet the three of them.   We have traveled to be at the GIGS.  Every time this all happened, they were all so precious. The best times we had with them have no pics.  

Some things cannot be fully translated into words, but I keep the most like they were tattooed on my heart.

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 I cannot really explain how exciting it was to have them live in Torino for the first time in a gig back in January 2016.  How sweet and caring they were.  Torino was also the city they  started with their Italian tour, Notte Magica.  It was an unbelievable night.  Gianluca was so perfect that night.  Il Volo sang their hearts out completely.  I followed them on their European tour last year and I’m still on the road.

Gianluca is an extremely sensitive guy.  He’s shy.  When he sings he gives you the feeling how much devoted he is to music.  He caresses every word, he bows to the seven notes.  As a baritone, he has a beautiful deep, warm voice.  His eyes speak themselves, so full of joy and the listeners cannot avoid being amazed by his talent.  It just overflows.

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Gianluca is stunning when performing En Aranjuez ( con tu amor).  And what about singing his other idol, Elvis Presley, Can’t Help Falling in Love?  This love hymn makes me fall so, just like he shows every time he’s about to give it to the audience.  I get perfectly speechless and breathless.  Despite Il Volo fame throughout the planet, Gianluca is still so humble, as the kid born in that romantic small village in Abruzzo.  The one that is always so anxious and proud to come back home after days of promotion and tours.  He cannot wait to spend some time with his family and trusted friends.  He is truly fantastic, a prince.

Gianluca has never forgotten about his land and whenever he can, he tells how he adores Italia.  I’m totally proud of him, because when it comes to approach him, he’s always so dedicated, thankful and madly special towards the fans, the people he believes care for Il Volo in their soul.  He understands who does believe in them, in the person and in the artist.  I want to thank Gianluca for being unique in all his ways.   Serena.

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This article translated by Laura, previously published on Torino Aspetta Il Volo E Poi, and printed with their permission.  Photos have been added to original article.

 

Credit to all owners of photos and videos.

 

~~Jane~~

 

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” July 4, 1776! (2017)

 

First, let’s wish Signora Eleonora Barone, a very happy birthday!!  🙂

Now, a short lesson in American history…

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

(from US History.org)


Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.[7]

(from Wikipedia) 

Ok, I admit, American history was probably my most hated and boring of classes I ever had to take in high school.  It was not helped by Sr. Angela Marie, a well-meaning, 4 ft,, soft-spoken, 80 year-old, little Felician nun.  I barely passed with a grade of C.  I can’t say I remember much of that entire year of American history, except I was so glad when it was over!  I don’t ever recall having to read the declaration of independence, but I do remember Whitney invented the first steamboat, or was that Robert Fulton?  (yes, I think Whitney did the cotton gin!) Ah, I probably slept through most of it.
However, as we grow older, we learn to appreciate the things we often hated most, like rules, and how important some of those things were; like understanding American history!  (did you know that in an interview many years ago, Ignazio said he loved history – so smart at such a young age!)   I can’t say I recall ever having heard the first paragraph of the declaration of independence, although as a class field trip in 1976, we went to see the movie 1776!  It was our 200 year birthday of independence for the United States.  I recall getting these HUGE chocolate candy bars, wrapped in red, white, and blue and I think Betsy Ross was on there somewhere.  I also remember thinking the chocolate was not that great, not even Hershey grade.  Ok I was about 11 – I was discerning, even back then…
Ah, “the pursuit of happiness…”  Yes, I must tie this into the guys….  This declaration of independence gave us our freedom to be happy.  And to follow our guys, is our greatest freedom, joy, and happiness!  We know the guys love America and America loves the guys – at least our little part of it!

So, on this one special day of the year for the United States, let’s all join, from every nation, country, and continent, and stand tall, proud, and brave, and united together, in pursuing our happiness and greatest passion – Il Volo!

Wishing everyone a safe, and happy, Fourth of July!  Wherever you may be.  Last year, Lorna and I were in Verona at their “last” concert from the Grande Amore tour.  Talk about fireworks!  Best 4th of July I ever had!!  🙂

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Since everyone seemed to love it on the last post, I thought I’d post it again!  Here they are, our beloved Il Volo, singing our cherished national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner!  From 2013, at Dodger Stadium! (did you know the star-spangled banner refers to the American flag?)


 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!  🙂

Jana

Notte Magica ~ Vienna, Austria 6-28-2017

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Beautiful, romantic Vienna.  A perfect setting for another night of Notte Magica!

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View from Gianluca’s hotel room.

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This appears to have been taken while getting ready for the concert.

No matter how many countless times they sing Nessun Dorma, it can  still lift your heart and soul to a higher place. 

 

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A medley of songs mixed with a little Ignazio humor.

It looks like things got REALLY fun at the Meet and Greet!

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Those Italians just love the blondes!! 🙂

 

And so it ends…

Another standing ovation,

The crowd chanting for more (I am guessing),

More handshakes, selfies and another pat on the head of a small child,

Another night to remember forever for the folks sitting in that Vienna Theater!!

 

Bulgaria, they are on their way!  

 

Credit to all owners of videos and folders.

 

~~Jane~~