Tag Archives: 2014

Maria Leps ~ From Philadelphia to Sicily

Maria at the gate.  2 hours - 90 degrees - what a fan!
Maria at the gate.  2 hours!  90 degrees!  what a fan!

Together with my daughter I attended my first Il Volo concert on June 26 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, PA. I was in the isle seat and directly behind me is the ‘cat-walk’ where our marvelous guys sang. We were able to shake their hands several times as they sang behind us.

Looking at that handsome Ignazio!
Looking at that handsome Ignazio!

I had this shirt made at a shop but I am wearing the black official Il Volo shirt. He was so close! It was the thrill of my life. I am so proud of them as I am from Sicily. The shirt I had made has their picture, the names of the 3 towns they come from and ‘Baci di Catania’ on it (my home town).

Gianluca replied to my daughter, Luisa, as he sang on the catwalk. She told him ‘you are magnificent‘ and he replied ‘ thank you‘ and shook her hand. He was being mobbed at the edge of the catwalk by female fans and he almost fell on my lap! I would have gladly caught him! Part of this is on another video of our boys. She is now an avid Il Volo fan, too. Piero passed right behind us and we got to shake his hand, too! You can see this video of us with our adorable and talented guys:


I have all their records and know each song. ALSO, because of them, in May 2015, I am returning to Sicily  for the first time in 45 years to visit my family there and they promised to take me to Naro and Marsala. I am from Catania so it is very close to Naro. I plan to have pizza at Nina Boschetto’s Pizzeria, Pizzeria Dei Desideri. I would love to also go to Montepagano which is near my cousins, but it all depends on my brother and sister-in-law whom I am traveling with. All my young nieces and nephews adore Il Volo and went to Taormina to see their concert. I have a childhood friend there, a retired doctor, who said he knows Ignazio and Piero from when they were children!!! Am I lucky, or what!

Please keep up your wonderful site! I check it every day.

Love to all,
Maria Leps


I’m too jealous to even talk to you!

Marie’s Excellent Adventure ~ In Four Parts

Part One ~ Sterling Heights or A Game of Tug-of-war

So it begins!
So it begins!

4 concerts – 3 of them in 3 days! I followed Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio more than 2,000 car miles in two weeks! I don’t know about The Boys, but this Il Volo Fan is still tired.

I have already shared my Vienna experience with you, but here’s one more picture Leelee recently sent me.


You can see that one of your board members is an idiot! You can tell that Gianluca is looking at me and smiling. Just look at that glorious smile Ignazio is aiming straight at me! I missed it all because I was looking at the tennis shoes. Why?

DSCN0225 - cropped marie

Oh well! On to the Sterling Heights, Michigan, Freedom Hill Amphitheater. The Guys were so handsome in their formal black suits with Ignazio sporting a tie.

a - aa DSCN0237 - cropped marie
I am not going to repeat what you have heard here a hundred times. I can only tell you what you already know… The concert was awesome! There are no better voices in the world. There are no young men more handsome anywhere!

He's Kinda Handsome!
He’s Kinda Handsome, so is his pal in back!

Up to now I have behaved myself. Haven’t thrown myself on the stage Haven’t screamed, “I Love You” during any vocal arrangement. I was reserved and polite all through the Vienna Concert and throughout this one. But come on folks. You know me. When it came to the Meet & Greet I tried to take My Boy home!

OH Yeah!

For those of you who are shaking your heads and rolling your eyes, I really didn’t do that! The picture was set up. I told them you would all expect me to try to drag Ignazio away. Of course, they went for it. Little did they know – If I could have dragged him away he would be here helping me write a whole different story!


Next Elgin – one of the most amazing and humbling days of my life.

My First Il Volo Concert ~ Allene Shipman

             It finally arrived.

The day of my very First Concert – June 21st, Milwaukee.

Jane, Mary B, and her daughter Anne, and I had flown to Milwaukee from Minneapolis together on Friday to begin a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Saturday dawned very, very foggy. But who cared about the weather?! It could have been snowing and blowing – a regular blizzard – But I wouldn’t have cared one bit. We all met for breakfast in the “breakfast nook” of the hotel, but that’s another story. We spent what time was left getting ready for our get-together with other Flight Crew members at 5:00 PM at the Calderone Club – an authentic Italian restaurant, which we thought very appropriate. I now could put faces to some of the names – Marie, Michele and Dorothy. A great meal was enjoyed by all, and I soaked up all the Il Volo talk that was going on. And then it was time to go to the Theater.

Mary B., Anne , Jane and I walked the loooong (to me) three blocks. Jane had Mary B. on one arm and me on the other. It would have been quite a sight if we had fallen in a heap. But we got there all in one piece. We got our M&G wrist bands and headed for our seats. The lights dimmed, and this is where things became one heavenly and happy experience for me.

It is hard to explain the emotional impact these three young Italian men, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, had on me as the show began. Tears filled my eyes and I thought my heart would burst from my chest with the love I felt for them. I never could have believed, if I didn’t hear it with my own ears, how much those glorious voices could move me to tears. Sooo much better in person than on a CD. Piero’s voice is magnificent, Ignazio’s voice is as stunning as he is, and Gianluca’s was, well in the days of Sinatra, I would have swooned as he sang! The show was 2-1/2 hrs. long, not nearly long enough. I could have listened to them for 2-1/2 hours more. But wait, we still had the M&G.

While standing in line, we went over to talk to Barbara and Mrs. Ginoble. I told Mrs. Ginoble “thank you for sharing Gianluca with us”. Then it was our turn to meet the guys. I was as giddy as a teenager. I gave Gianluca a big hug, and told him he was better that Sinatra. I got my arms around Piero, gave him a big hug, and wished him a Happy Birthday, to which he said “thank you so much”. Oh my, that wonderful voice! But then I got hustled along right past Ignazio. No fair! I didn’t get to smell his cologne like Jane did! But she brought it back to our room on her shirt. Alas, the smell was gone the next morning.

And so that was the end of the weekend I had looked forward to for days and days. I went home to Rochester, Jane went home to Duluth, Mary to Stillwater, and Anne to somewhere in northern Minnesota. I am already planning to get to as many concert as I can on their 2015 Tour.

I almost forgot that I also talked to Laura and Suzy. I had met them before at the Mall of America.

God bless you and keep you safe Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.



That’s ok, I don’t mind one less woman smelling HIM! Nice 1st concert experience!
Great to meet you and talk Il Volo.
See you in the 2015 ticket line!

A Note From Mary B.

Just a note to accompany the pictures of Piero and the dog. I saw the dog in a shop and thought it perfect for Piero’s birthday. He sings “Happy Birthday” and then gives directions for blowing out the candle on the cupcake he is holding. It doesn’t go out at first, and he says, “try again.” I didn’t know how Piero would react to that, in fact to the whole thing. But I was pleasantly surprised. As I was coming up for the Meet and Greet I kind of snuck up behind Gian and held the dog up to Piero’s ear. When he heard it singing “happy birthday” he looked awestruck and reached out and took it.

c - concert Anne Thode - presents

You can see that Ignazio is awestruck, too. I love the look on Igny’s face.

Then Piero followed the instructions to blow out the candle, and as the picture shows, he puckered up and was giving it a good try.

c - Anne Thode - Birthday surprise

Love it!! And love the look on Gian’s face as he watches.

Now here is where I fell short of following your advice and let the moment slip away. The “picture taking girl” was rushing us along, and by that time I was so tired I was barely coherent. Luckily, Anne, who had slipped in through a side door when others were going out, managed to get these pictures. Bless her! The dog did show up in several places (Twitter and Facebook) in the picture from Milwaukee of Piero’s bed with the cards etc. from the fans. So even though I wasn’t assertive and focused like I had vowed that I would be, at least the pictures are proof that I gave it to him, and he seemed to like it and have fun with it. And the boys’ expressions are priceless. The rest of the M& G went way too fast, leaving us wondering where it went as we were rushed out. Par for the course, I guess, but hope that next time we get a venue with more consideration for the fans.
So that’s the story…hope you enjoy it.

Mary Bohling


I saw the dog that day. Too cute! So great to spend some time with you. I know you are not only blessed with good health, but with a wonderfully attentive and loving daughter in Anne. What a pleasure to meet you both, twice!

With IL VOLO, Angels All Around ~ by Jeanine DuBois

How do you express the magnificence of IL VOLO,

the treasures of Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca?

…Painfully Beautiful*? stunning? incredible? amazing?

For me, IL VOLO, Our Guys, are truly Angels All Around…

…the guys ~ angels of kindness, love, sweet humor, authenticity

…their fans ~ angels of love, friendship, anticipation, excitement

…IL VOLO’s entourage, their angels ~

   whispering in our ears, sparkling in our eyes, cooing in our hearts

…IL VOLO’s music ~ how can a single note be so rich, vibrant, soaring?

how does their harmony blend like birds swooping in unison?

perhaps every molecule of air bursts into song with them!

Squisitamente belissimo!**

The IL VOLO effect? ~

discovering our wings, we are transported, uplifted, soaring in ecstasy!

2014 Saratoga, the Mountain Winery, Connie’s and my road trip, my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary was rich with angels in all shapes, all forms, all moments. So this is my story, not an official Flight Crew blog. I’m that person who loves Einstein’s quote,”There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” So, as you read this, expect a miracle… or two.


I realize now that the angels were on board before our trip ever started.

If you’re curious for details, my expanded story, with angel winks, found money, Carnegie Hall, and more is on my Reflections Page,


Fans-become-friends, thanks to our angelic blog!


(left to right: Jeanine, Elaine, Pirate Connie)

Connie was a fantastic travel buddy. Easy-going, interesting, expressive as needed, and good ole’ pirate humor! Together we soared with the tunes and supported each other’s heartfelt experiences of The Guys.

Elaine was a treasure to get to know. Tour-guide par excellence in San Francisco, exchanging IL VOLO concert experiences, and sharing her spunky, fun true self.

~ While waiting for our menus on the patio at Florentine Trattoria, I mistook two ladies for our dinner company. Turns out they were headed to see IL VOLO, too, so Mary Ellen and Carol joined us. Mary Ellen seems potential  Flight Crew material, and her friend Carol now understands that there are thousands of us just as fanatical about the IL VOLO mystique as Mary Ellen!  😉

~ Once in The Mountain Winery parking lot, we swapped stories with several IL VOLOvers, including Sharon and Patty.

~ Delighted to meet up with Vicki, Lauren, Gerri and her friend, we shared hugs, photos, and IL VOLO appreciation. Hoping for more in the future!

~ The biggest surprise was meeting Agnes and Marisse from Guatemala! What sweethearts, and talk about enthusiasm… traveling to another continent for 3 days of concerts!

Thanks, Elaine, for posting all the great photos!

My parents and sister and her husband loved the concert! IL VOLO’s sweet, fun, cute hearts extra-animated my sister. So now she knows… it’s not “just” that they sing more incredibly than anyone we know!  😉

~ The next day, at my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary celebration, I hooked my iPhone to their TV and brought an IL VOLO tribute into their living room with “L’amore e’ …amare l’amore” [Love Is… Love Love] by and with Toto Cutugno. (The video is in my expanded story.) Mom and Dad so enjoyed this among many loving touches!

And the concert… Holy Moly!

Oh my gosh! The closest I’ve ever been is the dress circle (first row balcony), and those two concerts were heavenly! But this… this was our view of the stage… third row aisle with no one in front of us!


…Ignazio motioning just an inch more volume to his mic.

…Piero smiling with pleasure at the crowd.

…Noticing Gianluca’s gentle hands.


…The excitement in the young lady Gian sang to.

…A moment of Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio each looking into my eyes and me into theirs.

…Seeing Gianluca’s eyes particularly sparkly at the end of the concert.

…As the concert was ending, going up to the stage and clasping Gianluca’s hand.


And still, whether I’m in the most distant seat from the stage,

at home in front of my computer,

or happily singing along with an IL VOLO tune,

IL VOLO’s music uplifts my heart into new realms of joy because…


So much love, joy, harmony, fun, celebration! I think I sat on the edge of my seat the entire concert, taking in every note, every smile, every nuance. We were flying high with IL VOLO Love!

And then… our Meet & Greet!

OK, there were aspects that could have been better (it was a dark space for photos, they were rushed, I could feel the stress of the gentleman moving us along).

Yet none of that colored my brief moments with the guys.

I had made a card for each, told them amazing things:

~ How Divine Grace angels had spoken to me of the soul group “Truth Through Music”, how the angels proclaimed “music is the breath of God”, and still more treasured words about IL VOLO!

~ About healings which came through their music.

~ About the day Ignazio’s tweet inspired me to write a multimedia book, IL VOLO: The Synergy of Love.

~ About my gratitude for their commitment to Truth and goodness, standing with their Venezuelan brothers and sisters.

In turn, I looked into each of our angel’s eyes, handed him the card, and said “Promise me you’ll read this. There’s something special in there.” Each one gave me a wonderful hug ~ with Ignazio, only after he said to me “Please!” Oh my Yes, Please! I so did not mean to be rude. I just had waited so long to share these angelic insights. I had to deliver these words of wonder!

Then Gianluca gave me a gentle kiss and a hug.


The photo was snapped, and I was left in awe of such an evening!


~ Jeanine DuBois, 2014 June 6, Saratoga, The Mountain Winery

* Thanks, Myron!

** Italian for Exquisitely beautiful!