Tag Archives: Detroit Wine & Dine

Detroit – My Story (book) ~ Marie

Dreams do come true and Fairytales are real! Here is my story of an evening with those Three Italian Sweethearts.

Photo DPTV
Photo DPTV

I Didn’t get much sleep in the days prior. How could I knowing I was soon to see and possibly TOUCH those amazing faces? To even anticipate being in their presence gives me chills and insomnia.  My in-person meetings have always been sweeter than I even hope.  Not better than my embarrassingly wonderful dreams, but better than I hoped. This gathering was no exception.

On Sunday, July 5th, my sister and I drove 5 1/2 hours to Detroit. The 7 hours it took to get home through flooding storms was nothing. I would have pulled over in Toledo, Ohio and fought a dragon to have been with THEM.

After meeting Jana (what a treat to finally meet my “adopted” daughter) and seeing my friends from Minnesota, (meeting Mary 3 years in a row and 2 years for Suzy, Jane and Allene) all of whom I love dearly, we were looking forward to dinner. We were joined by 2 of Jana’s Pals, Ginny and Chris. I knew the Boys had special friends who owned Antonio’s Italian Restaurant, so we thought since the Boys were coming in early

The fibbing manager, Suzy and Mary.  Suzy is uncontrollable!
Antonio’s – The fibbing manager, Suzy and Mary. Suzy is uncontrollable! That’s her hand not Mary’s.

in the afternoon, we might meet them there. No luck. The manager, who fell in love with Ginny, told us the Boys were at the boss’s house for dinner that night. We found out a little later that the Boys were still in New York due to flight delays and didn’t get in until after 10. Don’t go back there Ginny, he lies!  Antonio’s had newspaper articles about Il Volo framed on the wall. Allene even had “Il Volo Pollo” from the menu.

Back at the hotel I was prepared for a Pre-Il Volo Night Party in mine and sister Debbie‘s room! I brought Italian flags, Cardboard cutouts of Pisa’s Leaning Tower, Gondolas, The Coliseum, and a map of Italy.  I also brought a couple bottles of Italian Moscato, Crystal (or was it plastic) wine glasses and my computer which held EVERYTHING Il Volo. Oh…and I brought speakers. I can not tell you how proud I was when someone knocked on the door and complained. I mean the youngest person in the room was 50!  I thought about tearing up the room like a rock star but I didn’t want to scare Jana since I had just met her. The Minnesota Ladies would have forgiven me.  Just like they forgave my stunts at the end of this story. No..don’t peek!   Note:  Only sweet Mary calls me an angel.

My new nightshirt - a gift from Jana
My new nightshirt – a gift from Jana
The back of my new Nightshirt - I'll let you translate it!
The back of our Nightshirt – I’ll let you translate it!

I didn’t do anything much the next morning after breakfast except run from room to room annoying everyone in nervous anticipation of THIS NIGHT! Sorry about your nap Mary, but I was going to see Ignazio and his friends later!


Yummy. Prime Rib and wine for me.

Other friends at dinner
Other friends at dinner

This, not being my first Il Volo Rodeo of extreme fans, I had either met or recognized about half of the 50 people there. Hello to all of you, especially Emilia, (wait until I tell you about Emilia!) from whom I received three hugs. My most proud moment at the dinner table was when one woman pointed my way and said, “That’s Marie Crider.” I turned around to tell Marie how unusual it was that we would have the same name, but no one was there. The other woman looked confused until the first one said, “Flight Crew”. I could see the light go on. She said, “Oh, I’ve read that.” another woman sitting next to the first one, not to be outdone, said, “I get their emails every day.” I politely thanked them all, but on the inside I was trying to decide if the Queen’s wave was the one from just the wrist. I am happy to tell you that there were several people who came up to meet me because I was a member of The Flight Crew! Never forget your Flight Crew Badge!

Michelle Gaisser, Mgr. Member Engagement, Detroit Public TV, (to whom I am forever grateful for my invitation to the event) brought James Lewis over to my table. He asked to join The Flight Crew.  Jim, if you’re reading this I’m sorry I forgot your title with DPTV (marketing?)   I was probably distracted by your good looks. Welcome!

Michell and I
Michelle and I

Everyone was having a nice time and trying to act calm until the first spotting of that Dimpled One and 50 people erupted like there were 500.

The Guys did not eat with us. Meet and Greet was next:

Me and those Guys - DPTV Photo
Me and those Guys – DPTV Photo

I watched as Jana was anointed by Ignazio. He is so sweet! I didn’t know if I wanted to pinch his cheek or genuflect. Then it was my turn!!! Being second to last I wasn’t hurried. I told them how happy and proud I was for them for becoming so successful at home. You can only guess which one makes me stutter the most, so I tend to speak to him the least. I hugged him (he hugged back!) then I kissed those dimples. I try to be fair to them both and do really good, yet equal, kisses on each dimple.  Jim Lewis had my camera and got me sneaking DSCN0662 - Mariethis extra one before the photographer took our group picture. Hey, a girls gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I had heard our Gianluca was ill and had a fever. Sure enough he had to step aside and use a tissue several times. As I was kissing cheeks I lingered on his to see if I could tell if he had a fever. (Well, my mom used to do that!)  I think he did. I also wispered a secret in his ear. He smiled. I was kinda hoping I would catch his cold. Didn’t. They all signed my Sanremo DVD insert. I can’t tell you what else was said, it’s a total blank. Did you ever see a dog rub his back in the grass in ecstasy? That’s pretty much how I felt so, no chance to remember mere words.  I was just trying not to smile like a fool. As you can see in the picture, I failed that goal. When I got to Piero I asked him to sign a picture Mary’s daughter took of he and I in 2013 when he jumped in our cab. He remembered! He told me when and where it was. He signed it, “With Love. Grande Amore, Piero”. Then he looked at me and tilted his head. Was he trying to remember me from our conversation last year? or did he just notice my really bad hair day? Then Security thought I had had enough time.  OK, but not before I get my hug!

DSC N0664 s face - marie
Emilia greeting Gianluca. Look at Ignazio’s face. How do they stay so “normal”?

Now to Emilia. I had met sweet Emilia before. They call her “cupcake” not only because she makes them, but because she is so cute and sweet! She’s around 18. She was immediately behind me at the meet and greet. Emilia went directly to Piero and said, “I wanted you to dance with me at my prom.” That Prince of Princes, that gentle man of gentlemen pulled her to him, started singing and waltzed with Emilia tucked snugly into his chest! I wish all of you could have seen her face. I wish I had taken a picture, but I just stood there reveling in the moment. She has a treasured video of that dance on FB. I hope you get to see it!

I know this is long. It will be here. You can finish later if you like. I’ll mark the spot.
⇐ HERE ⇒

We went back to the dining room for dessert. Dessert? Like Jane said in her story, the “real dessert of the evening” was yet to come!  I had chocolate covered strawberries. The Boys were in hair and makeup.  

The Studio:

DSCN0680 yes copy marie

Shortly, we were ushered into the studio. The Guys also came in. You have to know how astonished and elated I was to realize that we would be spending the next few hours in a small studio with THEM!  Oh, Joy of Joys!  First of all I have to tell you that our Anges did not act like angels all the time off the air! They played like three young brothers. They filmed some. They went live-on-air some. They spent time with us during filming breaks. They played three stooges with each other. Remember the night before last they were singing for 60,000 people at a free concert in Napoli and then spent yesterday waiting for a delayed flight that didn’t get to Detroit until after 10 pm. They were tired and probably a little slap-happy, but they had fun!!! And, OH MY GOSH! So did we! Here are just a few of their antics besides dancing and singing silly songs. Sorry that some are blurry, but they were swift in their play and hard to catch.

Such cards!
  DPTV Photo

Such Cards!

“Not doing anything, might as well flick an ear.”

Ignazio and I both saw this one coming. Piero didn’t!  Ouch!

DSCN0699 shoe  marie

How do you think Piero would react to a dirty tennis shoe? Yeah, that’s what Gianluca thought too!

DSCN0689 hit - marie

Don’t laugh Gianluca.  Piero passed it on!

I missed photo’s of some really funny moments too. Like when Ignazio stuck his little finger up Piero’s nose. Thank God he didn’t try that with Gianluca! 

More Photo’s:

DPTV photo
DPTV photo

These are our Guys.  These are our Guys with Security.  Do you see the really big guy beside Ignazio?  Nice Guy!  He and I had several long conversations.  Went something like this:  Him: “Ma’am, you can’t go in there” Me: “Yes, Sir.”  Him: Ma’am, please move on.”  Me: ” Yes, Sir.”  Him: “Ma’am, Please stop texting.  The sound is being picked-up by the microphones.”  Me: (oops) “Yes, Sir.”  Him:  “Put HIM down!”  Me: “Nope“. Only that last one is a lie.

DSCN0704 n - marieThe Pompeii Concert was on this screen to my front and right.  No one watched this.  We all knew the show happening right in front of us would never be sold on Amazon!  So, I have yet to see the actual concert!

DSCN0697 marie

Piero wandering around us.  I think he was looking at the tv monitor I just showed you.

DSCN0707 yes jana circled cropped
Jana!  Pledge Phone Volunteer Extraordinaire

DSCN0701 - marie

 Its Piero with two young happy ladies in hand just walking around.

DSCN0663 s - Marie

Whatcha doin’ Big Guy?  Checkin’ to see if Little Bro has a fever?  I won’t tell…ya big softie!

I was able to step back and have a brief conversation with Barb Vitali.  We’re women.  We talked about weight.  We spoke just a few minutes longer then we had to get to our seats and be quiet again for another taping session.  Luckily we were allowed to take pictures the whole time if we didn’t use flash.

If I had half a brain, I would stop my story here by telling you how much I enjoyed our Il Volo Gentlemen and the wonderful men and women with whom I shared the experience.  But no… Some of you may never read this site again….  

While Ignazio was wandering through the audience the people in front of me asked him to take a selfie with them.  So, he bent over directly in front of my face, not a foot away there it was!  What could I do? I poked it!  I looked at Jane and said, “Oh no! I touched his butt!”  When I looked up there he was looking down at me with one eyebrow up to his hairline!  He tried to give me a stern look.  Didn’t last long and he broke out in a gorgeous smile and said “oooo”.  Whew!  I had just traumatized myself and have no idea if he said anything else.  I only know I did not have another conversation with Big Security Guy.  Should have.  It would have kept Allene on my left and Jane on my right from trying to rip off their Flight Crew Badges while crawling under their chairs a few minutes later.  

The people in front of me did not learn their lesson.  I blame them.  So, when Piero came walking by they asked for a selfie with him too.  Only in his compliance he bent over even further than Ignazio had.  To my astonishment I saw two claw-like hands, reach up and… Oh No!…They were my hands!  Of course he jumped!  He turned around and to my great relief said, “Oh, Thank You!”.  I’ll bet you think I sat there in complete humiliation.  I didn’t.  Jane and Allene did.  I was smiling.  I am still smiling.  It was soft, yet muscular and I’m not sorry I know that.


Two Stories – One Great Night ~~Jane then Mary


                       Jane and the Guys
Jane and her Guys

The guys were on fire that night, but in a GOOD way! With their long trek to Detroit, jet lag was not seen nor heard from except around 11:00 PM when Ignazio started yawning. Even though Gianluca had a cold and was definitely not feeling 100% he pulled the night off in his usual charming style.

We arrived at the studio around 5PM and spent some time greeting and getting to know other Flight Crew members and Il VOLO lovers from other cities and states.
We first enjoyed a delicious Italian themed dinner and various wines to complement this. The next part of the evening was the Meet and Greet. Many guests brought gifts for the guys and something for them to autograph. All three were so warm and friendly as is their usual persona. Barbara was there and chatting with people as they were waiting their turn to see the stars of the night! Many photos were being snapped as guests thoroughly enjoyed their visit with the guys. One lucky young lady by the name of Emelia, is still probably walking on Cloud 9 after her dance with Piero! I’ll let someone else tell you about that special moment.

I knew we could bring one item for autographing and gifts, but had decided I wanted to spend every allotted second with them TALKING and getting HUGS. I had practiced over and over in my mind what I wanted to say so when the moment came I would be prepared! I was a little disappointed in that as soon as our table was brought into the Meet and Greet room the man running it said they were running behind and would have to hurry. I was determined to get my moment with each guy no matter what. As I stood there next in line Ignazio saw my name tag from a distance and started singing some Italian song interjecting my name, Mary Jane, with his award winning smile! I went up to Ignazio first and told him his performance at Eurovision was spectacular, to which he smiled, said thank you and gave me his warm embrace of a hug. I then told Piero his performance at Eurovision was stunning! He looked very happy with this statement, thanked me and gave me his million dollar hug. I then went to Gianluca and told him his winning soccer goal at the charity soccer game was beautiful. He looked surprised, smiled and said thank you. Of course, I got my hug from him too! My time was short, but I accomplished what I set out to do. I remember how each hug felt. I remember Ignazio and Piero were each wearing their wonderful colognes and Gianluca just smelled clean like soap. 🙂 The smile on my face and the glow in my heart remain even now, 7 days later!

The Meet and Greet was the prelude to our STUDIO EXPERIENCE! Here is where the guys REALLY PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS AND GAVE US A SHOW TO REMEMBER! We were ushered into our seats to enjoy the live broadcast. All 3 guys were right in front of us in their seats along with Laura, who would be interviewing them all evening. They all wanted to watch their own solo during the broadcast of the Pompeii concert. Each guy actually did go stand right in front of the TV monitor broadcasting the concert and watch their solo when it came on. They then proceeded to just be themselves all evening!

I think the station thought they had given us our dessert after our meal, but THIS WAS THE REAL DESSERT OF THE EVENING. Piero and Ignazio danced to Volare! Ignazio broke his chair as he sat down and handled it with his ever loving humor! Gianluca kept having the staff hand him Kleenex to help control his cold symptoms! They laughed, joked, poked and prodded each other in brotherly fashion! They came into the audience during breaks and interacted with many taking numerous selfies. Piero took two sweet little girls for a walk around the studio audience…tried to get them to do some stretch exercises with him saying after being on the plane 20 hours he needed to do this! They were so relaxed and appeared to be enjoying themselves as much as we were enjoying THEM!

There was so much going on between the volunteers taking the pledge calls, the actual concert being shown on a TV, the studio staff moving about directing people…at times I found myself looking at all of this INSTEAD OF FEASTING MY EYES ON WHAT WAS ACTUALLY RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF US...Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio!! It only took a millisecond to bring myself back into the moment and keep my eyes straight ahead on the three most handsome, talented, kind hearted, genuine young men on the planet!

We came back to our hotel and stayed up til the wee hours of the morning reliving the night…and oh, what a night it was!!
I know others will be writing their own memoir as well. It was truly A NIGHT TO REMEMBER…A FEAST FOR THE EYES!

Jane (maryjane)

A toast to The Boys - Jana, Chris,  Donna, Mary, Marie, Jane, Allene, Ginny, Marie's sister Debbie
A Toast to The Boys from Antonio’s ~ Jana, Chris, Suzy, Mary, Marie, Jane, Allene, Ginny, Marie’s sister Debbie
Allene and Suzy
Allene and Suzy
Detroit PBS.JPG Mary Ginny Jane
Mary, Ginny and Jane



Mary...in heaven!
Mary…in heaven!

 I love Minnesota (most of the year) but a week ago I was transported to heaven.  I knew it was heaven, because I saw the angels…at least three of them. (that doesn’t count Marie, although we all know that she is one) I mean the Italian angels with whom God has blessed us.  Being angels, they were able to fly from Italy to Detroit  for just twenty four hours to give us a taste of heaven…..and give us a healthy portion they did.  By the end of the evening we were positively sated with heavenly bliss.  Our beautiful angels can give more in a few hours than most can give in a lifetime.  How blessed I feel to be among the Ilvolovers that were gathered together in Detroit that night.  We may not see them again for a while, but we took away enough blissful memories to tide us over until we do.  God bless them in the travels ahead.  We will hold them in our hearts and wait with anticipation for the time when they come back to us.

~Mary Bohling

A Night to Remember – July 6, 2015

Finally DETROIT!  Let’s START with Jana. ~M


 You see, I just knew they’d come back!! Ok, maybe not for everyone, but they did come back for 50 lucky persons in Detroit!

My story…

It all started with a phone call from Marie. We found out there was going to be a meet/greet at PBS in Detroit. We somehow got on the mailing list and voila, we got 2 lucky tickets. I feel like we were the lucky winners of the golden ticket like in Willy Wonka!empty frame  post

I did not know it, but I had been planning for this night since last June after I saw them at Freedom Hill. I was thinking of what I could give them; what would I say? What would I wear; how thin would I be? As the song goes, “que sera’, sera’ – whatever will be, will be; the future’s not ours to see…que sera’, sera’!” The future may not be ours to see, but it doesn’t mean we can’t plan for it and plan, I did!

When we realized they might be coming, I had to speed up the end of my plan…I had made each of them three special rosaries (last September), each with different beads, using their “name saints” as the centers and having the “Our Father” beads – exactly 6 of them, spell out “IL VOLO!” They were beautiful. I also had little silk brocade bags made for the rosaries and had their initials on the front. When I sped up my plan, at that point, I did not know for sure they would be here, but I was glad I planned ahead – just in case!! However, with careful planning, everything literally fell into place, like the perfect jigsaw puzzle, with at LEAST a thousand pieces, or so it seemed!rosaries bags oval

First, just Marie was going to join me in Detroit. Then the ladies from MN were going to fly in, as well! It was starting to be a big party now. Our little group of 5 – 6, plus the MN girls; it was growing.

All of the planning and anticipation was growing by leaps and bounds. It was shutdown week where I work, so for the whole week before, I was off work, but so, so busy, every day. It was good, I did not have time to get nervous, but had to keep planning…I found my outfit, bought a new purse, made an appointment to have my hair done at a special place (it looked fabulous thanks to Sharon and Sal!), made arrangements to pick up the girls at the airport, wash the car, and pack. Before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon, and I was nervously awaiting for the arrival of our “editor-in-chief” – Marie, to arrive at my house with her sister!

They arrived, and we chatted for a little while until we had to pick up the MN girls. We flew off to the airport and then off to the hotel for their check-in. We chatted a bit until it was time to go to dinner. We dined at Antonio’s in Farmington Hills. We had figured, by then, that the guys were safely here and resting….

We had a lovely dinner at Antonio’s, complete with dessert! Then it was back to the hotel for some more chatting. We decided to break up the party around 10p or so. We went to Ginny’s house and shortly thereafter, I got a text from one of the other gals, that they had gone to the airport to meet the guys!! (ok, not my story, but we were so jealous, as they were the only 5 there to meet them, because their flight had kept getting delayed and they did not get in until around 10:30p or so!) Alas, it was not meant to be, but was not part of my plan to greet them at the airport, so all was still good.

I made it for my 10a haircut appointment in Birmingham. Sal, a friend of Sharon’s, did the most fabulous job on my hair! I think I talked more about my hair, then I did about the guys! He even came in special on a Monday, just for me.

It was the big day, I was starting to be a wreck and could not think clearly – this was not me, I did not get nervous!

We got to the hotel and we checked in. We had to run a few errands, then it was back to the hotel to change and get ready. We left about 4:30p. We were supposed to be there by 6:00p. Ok, so we were over an hour early, but we weren’t the first ones there!

At approximately 6:05p, they led us into our “dining” room for the evening. It was beautifully arranged, with 4 bottles of wine at each table. We had assigned seats for dinner and we later found out they were going to call us by table. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we were the LAST table!table oval

Dinner was delicious with prime rib, baked chicken, salad, veggies, and bread. We were looking at the clock. We were supposed to greet our guys from 7:00p – 7:30p. We were wondering how they were going to get 50 people through in just half an hour? It was almost 10 after 7 and they hadn’t started yet! Finally, they opened the other door and there were the guys. We could not see them, but they were there. They let the first table in. Apparently, they were letting everyone have as much time as they needed. Many were giving them gifts and we were allowed to bring one item to have them sign it. Finally, about 7:35p or so, we were allowed to get in line. When we finally got in there, they said we had to hurry, as the others took too long. That did not seem fair, but then they realized we were the last table and they backed off a bit.

At last, it was my turn! I was a bit nervous and not sure what to do. The guys were just standing up at the front with a big PBS backdrop on this bright red carpeting. There was no real direction, so I just walked up and hugged Gianluca and said he “was so sweet.” He was in the middle and Ignazio was to the right, so I hugged him next and spoke softly into his ear, that he was my favorite. He said, “Aw….” in this soft, sweet voice, with a big smile on his face. I will remember it forever!

I quickly fumbled for the rosaries in my purse. But first I gave Piero his M&Ms that I had custom made for his birthday (yes, another story yet to come). I think he really liked the M&Ms as he smiled and laughed and showed them to Gianluca! I then gave Ignazio his rosary and told him I had made it special. I gave the other two theirs…. I turned back to Ignazio, and he had taken it out of the bag and was looking at it. The next thing I knew, he was looking at me and started speaking in Italian and holding the rosary in his hand. I’m looking up at him, into his eyes and thinking “why is he speaking Italian??” I don’t know what he is saying? (Yeah, so much for my Italian lessons – lol!) All I could catch was “Ave Maria” and “gracia,” but that was about it. Unfortunately, my brain was having a hard time trying to figure out why he wasn’t speaking English and what he was saying in Italian, that I kind of got lost in the moment. I think I remember looking into his eyes and hearing his soft voice. Then, all of a sudden, he puts his hand over my head and then he starts to bless me, like he is anointing me. He touches my forehead, lightly brushes my chin, back to touching my nose with his thumb. He has a very soft thumb! He then raised his hand over my head and gently touched my head again. I just stood there, smiling, and said “grazie.” I’m still trying to figure out what he said to me, but I needed them to sign my frame.

Yes, you remember my empty picture frame that would be forever empty around my heart until I had a picture of them and me? Well, as we know, it would not be empty forever now! I brought out my frame and gave it to Ignazio to sign. I sig framegave him the back of it, as I wanted them to sign the back of it and our picture would be on the front. Ignazio takes the frame in his hands and turns it back over, seeing that it says “IL VOLO” on the front. He turns to me and with his hand, he gestures that their name is on the front and shouldn’t he sign it there? I said no, on the back, because our picture will be on the front. He kind of says, ok, and signs the back….then Piero and Gian come back and they sign it, too. Gian made sure he put a little heart on the end of his signature for me! I did feel kind of bad I didn’t hug Piero, but I was a bit nervous and wanted to hurry, even though they weren’t really rushing us…it felt like I was up there a long time. Somewhere in there, they took our picture and then it was over! Over a year in the making and over in less than 5 minutes!me guys frame

As I walked back to the side, I kept thinking about what he said. It finally hit me that he was reciting the “Hail Mary” or “Ave Maria” prayer in Italian!! At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it was? The next day, I looked it up on the Internet and found the words and audio on a You Tube video, and from what I could remember him saying, I think it was pretty close.

For those of you not familiar with the Catholic practice of saying the rosary, in the Roman Catholic faith, the Rosary is one of the most beautiful, powerful, and sacred prayers. The Rosary is a devotion to God through a devotion to the Virgin Mary. There are other prayers that are said with it, but you say 53 Hail Mary’s!

I’m not really sure if Piero and Gian liked their rosaries, but I hoped they did. I have to say, that I really truly believe that Ignazio liked his!

I’d also like to thank everyone that were able to get pictures and videos of me up there with the guys! It’s funny, you just don’t remember most of what happens in that five minutes.   Like, I don’t really remember putting my arm around Gianluca’s shoulder? And why DIDN’T I have my arm around Ignazio?? But it was nice to know he had his hand on my shoulder!

Yes, I saw their smiles and I felt their touch –

The long wait and anticipation was over…my dream had become a reality and the frame around my heart was no longer empty! It was filled with the joy, the smiles, the memory, and the tenderness, of Ignazio’s touch – it was happiness!

For now, my heart is full, until the next time…