Tag Archives: Un’avventura Straordinaria

Soccer-2 Piero-0

Today we will take a look at the guys around the ages of ten and eleven. Yes, the music was always there but, there were other things in their lives that had great meaning. You might call them passions! Gianluca and Ignazio had a passion for soccer. But Piero had no passions! None that I ever heard of. For Piero it was always about studying, not school studies, but classical music studies. Perhaps because he had asthma, he never took an interest in sports. The closest he comes to passion is his love for Chemistry and Math. And if a friend could be a passion, then he certainly had a friend who fit the bill!
So, let’s follow the guys on their afternoon adventures.
A Family Passion for Soccer!
Between the age of eleven and thirteen, Gianluca enjoyed playing soccer! What was it Gianluca loved about soccer? You might say for Gianluca the passion was inherited! Let’s listen to what he has to say about his passion for Soccer….
Football has always been a great passion of mine. This too, like music, is a family passion.

Gianluca celebrating on the soccer field

My father is a big fan of Pescara, as is my grandfather. They were also big fans of Gianluca Vialli, no matter which team he played on because he was a myth for my father. And because Vialli also had a name that appealed to both my father and mother, when I was born, they named me Gianluca. Let’s say that name aside, my father gave me a piece of football culture.
I am a big fan of Roma football, before Il Volo, more so. I watched all the games, I did not miss one, and every time Totti beat a penalty, I covered my head with my arms and, if I heard the scream from the television, I screamed from home. But now there are work commitments and that prevents me from following my favorite team. Even now, despite the commitments, I continue to play football as soon as I can.

Gianluca with Francesco Totti, captain of the Roma football team

When I go back to Montepagano I always try to organize a game with old friends with whom I trained in the youth teams of Roseto.
How did I play soccer? I was good, come on, I did not like losing, I wanted to score goals by force, I never passed the ball, and when I had the ball, I scored. Let’s say that I was a bit ‘instinctive’ even on the football field.
Once when I was playing in Pescara there was a score of 4 to 4. I had already scored two goals, but the draw was not enough for me, I wanted the win. Only the field was difficult, it had rained, so there was a lot of mud. What happened? I pull, huge slide and I fill myself with mud, from head to toe. What do I do? I start shouting, ‘I got dirty!’ In all this, it must be said that the game was true, even if we were very young. There was the championship, with the ranking and everything else, it’s not that you could take and do what was going on in your head. The referee shouts, ‘Get up, what are you playing ball.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m leaving, I’m all dirty!’ He shouts, ‘get up and go to the locker room.’ Not for nothing, they don’t call me the ‘little Cassano’ (famous Italian soccer player) for nothing. Cassano was so good and, he was so restless!

Gianluca playing soccer in a tournament

Another time we were at the Borghesiana in Rome, at a national tournament. The Roseto was also in series C2 and even in the very young there were good coaches, competent, good, that when they told you one thing, that was that, because they knew what they were talking about. In that game at the Borghesiana, I do not even remember, against who we were, I did not score goals, the coach takes me away from the game. At the beginning I came back on the bench nice quiet, but after a moment they did everything to restrain me. ‘I want to go in! I want to score!’ I was shouting. I kicked the coach. Now obviously, I would not do it again, even if football is still my passion.
This is one of many stories Gianluca told about playing soccer when he was a child. Let’s think about this for a moment. If Gianluca didn’t become a singer, would he have become a soccer player? He was, real, good!
A Passion that gets you in Trouble!
On July 24, 2004, at the age of ten, Ignazio moved to Marsala. Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say about life in Sicily….
In the beginning I did not accept Sicilian life. It was difficult for me to set myself up at school because the programs were, very, different from the school where I had trained. The consequence? I was seen by everyone as  ‘the polentone’ of the situation, it was the Bolognese accent….
(A “polentone” is a somewhat derogatory term that is given to the citizens of northern Italy.)
I did not take it (the move) very well. At a lunch at my paternal grandmother’s house, my mother was so hurt by my words that she started to cry: ‘I recommend you, if I die you must take me to Bologna.
Fortunately, Ignazio met new friends close to his home and this changed his mind.
Let’s start from the assumption, if there is still any need for it, that being lively every now and then can cause some damage. What damage is that? To answer this question, let’s go back to Bologna with Ignazio.….
My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football. It had been less so after I started taking singing lessons. I had less free time and then no free time and I realized that singing was more important than all the rest. But in general, soccer was really a big passion for me. From an early age I had a passion for football, also because my sister played football when we lived in Bologna and then she continued, even in Marsala. She played volleyball first, and I also inherited that passion, then she moved her passion to soccer.

Collage of Ignazio with the soccer team

At school I was bored, I was learning but I was bored. But I always enjoyed playing soccer. I came home, had my lunch and did my homework faster than light, because even homework bored me. As fast as I could, I went down to the playground to play football with my friends. It happened in Bologna and, it happened in Marsala, ‘nu puzzu’ (the saying refers to the well which smells) it was there that I went after school, in time to eat something, and then everyone ran behind the house to the well.
Let’s say that there were some basic rules to be followed in order to stay away from home all afternoon. One of these was that I always had to tell mom where I was, if I walked away, I called her with the intercom and warned her that I was going away, and if I did not go away, I would call her with the intercom and warn her, ‘Mom, I’m down here!’
After five minutes: ‘Mom, I’m down here!’
Another five minutes: ‘Mom I’m down here!’
Because I worried that she was worried, and I wanted to let her know that I was ……. down there.

Left to right: Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca in uniform with the soccer team

Near the end of July 2004, we had already packed everything and, we were ready for the move to Marsala. I went to get an ice cream with some friends, near home, really, just a few steps away. Upon returning, I saw some guys in the building next to ours playing football. I could go home and do nothing but, it was the last days I was in town? And the game was in the courtyard next to mine, it was practically like it was mine. So, I stop. I did not think to call mom with the intercom, and I played soccer, all afternoon, without even a ‘Mom, I’m down here!’ And mom started looking for me, all over Molinella. She rode around the city and did not find me. Then she called my father, who was at the supermarket shopping: ‘Come I cannot find Ignazio.’ My father arrives, my mom throws the bike in a corner, runs in the car, then, out of the corner of her eye she sees my shorts.
‘Ignaziooooo !!!!’
‘Hey, mom ….’
‘Woeful!!!!’
At one point, my mother from anger also spoke Chinese. If it had not been that we had already packed everything for the move, I certainly would have to iron two beautiful chairs full of clothes for punishment. Instead, as a punishment, no more backyard and no pizza for a month. What then, being without pizza for a month, was worse than two chairs of clothes to iron, because I always ate pizza. And pasta, too. Two other passions of mine, together with soccer and music. I know, I know, you could see from my form. In the canteen, at school, I liked to eat toasted bread! And I always asked for an ‘encore of pasta.’ Mamma told the ladies who worked in the canteen: ‘Do not give him too much soup as he is chubby, just a little bit of pasta and if you do not give it to him, even better.’ One day, one of them replied: ‘But when he comes with that little face and tells me, please another little …. here, lady, how can I say no’ I was a born actor. But in all, the one that gave me the most satisfaction with pasta was Nina. I ate some huge dishes. Because mom and dad had to work at night, I ate with Nina and, she cooked pasta. ‘Nun è che ci ni calava settanta grammi!’ (It was not that she cooked two and a half ounces!) She cooked almost 9 ounces for two people. We ate, really, full dishes. And then, Nina would call mom at work and ask her for recipes: ‘How do you make ragout like grandmother does? How do you make crepes?’ And she started cooking for the whole family.
The moral of the story, in addition to my passion for soccer and volleyball, Nina gave me a passion for cooking.
Meanwhile….
In Marsala, Ignazio, Vito and Vincenzo, and sometimes Ivan, would meet every day at the well and decide what to do. They would build huts, play the game of the week, go for a bike ride, in short, everything and more, and this is also where they met to go to school football that was just two kilometers from their homes. And sometimes, in the middle of a challenge or under a hut, under construction, you could hear shouting “Ignazio!” and everything stopped….
We stopped breathing a second and descended silent. Mom wanted me to go home and do my homework. She wanted, but I did not always agree.

Ignazio on the soccer field

A Passion for Chemistry and Math? And, my personal favorite, the Story of Denise!
We know if Piero had a passion, it would be for music but, in this story, we find out he had no great passion for school but, he did have a passion, so to speak, for chemistry and math!
Piero tells us that he had good grades in school because of his secret weapon Denise….
For Denise I should make a monument.

Piero with his classmate, Denise, dressed in formal attire

Denise was Piero’s classmate for twelve years. The good grades were thanks to her. In the afternoon Piero would pick her up in his electric car, an E50, and they would study together. She repeated the lesson and he learned by what she was saying….
I did not like reading books, what could I do? The songs have always remained in my head right away, I listen to a song and after two, three times at most, I know all the words, but the lessons no, these do not come into my head even with the hammering. You imagine that once, out of despair, to memorize a history lesson, I gave it a reason, that is, I put it to music. But when I could not do this – that is, most of the time – I sat next to Denise and I listened to her repeat the lesson. Or, in classwork, she wrote and did it, zac! She put the paper in the middle of the desk and, I copied. The professors probably knew but they never caught me and so they always gave me that half vote less than she, even if the tasks were the same. But, who cared, I was very happy.
I only liked two school subjects. All of you are thinking physical education. No. Physical education I did not like, I did not want to put on the tracksuit because I was fat and, I felt clumsy with the tracksuit. Today everything is different.
Piero lost fifty-three pounds and he likes to go to the gym. He also helped Ignazio to get involved with exercising when he was on his diet….

Left to right: Gianluca, PIero and Ignazio dressed in blue soccer uniforms

At school, I did not like gymnastics instead I loved chemistry. I had good marks which I earned by myself. No Denise. And I excelled in Math, in fact, I am so good, that I am the one of the three that runs with a bag full of all of our accounts.
As for the other school subjects, I was always ordered, I was studying only the necessary, I did what I could. It is not that I did not study because of bad will, it was that I had other projects and the professors knew and understood it. I was not a tramp that ran from morning to night with the motorbike, I was one who was at home studying piano, solfeggio, I had many commitments, I always had something to do.
I was known in the country, I never smoked a cigarette, never used drugs of any kind, never went to the disco, I never did stupid. In short, never.
If you ask Piero’s father, he will surely tell you about the wheelies with the motorbike. It was the only thing that he did not do right. His friends told Mr. Barone that Piero did wheelies and he got angry….
When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the city, voom, I did a wheelie with the motorbike. Just that. But even in those cases I was very responsible. Do you know what I was doing when I was driving the motorbike? My father gave me sheets of newspaper, I put them on my chest, under my shirt and I went around so the wind did not enter my chest, understood? Full helmet, strictly integral.
If you’re wondering, yes, I was a little weighed in those years but, I was so controlled because, I had a thousand allergies that put my respiratory tract “in danger.” I never went to school trips, I could not go to the disco, I could not do certain things that all my peers did. But now, when I return home I go to the disco, we are never less than twenty, twenty-five people, and Dad is calm because I’m even more responsible than before and because in the group there are also people older than me, even forty years and married.
I like being with people much older than me because, even if I’m only twenty years old, I have to manage my life in a very serious way and at a certain point I had to ‘grow by force.’ It’s strange if I think about it, because that little boy Piero, who was attentive to everything he did, so as not to ruin his voice, and not to get some asthma attack, would never have imagined becoming a singer. He had other plans.
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca on the soccer field being interviewed. Piero is blowing a kiss.
So, I started this story with Gianluca’s passion for Soccer. Let’s end with the soccer game that the guys played in for charity. The one time when the guys shared a Passion,
The Passion for Helping Others.
I will let Gianluca tell us about this event in his own words….

You cannot imagine the happiness of playing in the Partita del Cuore,(Match of the Heart) a Telethon for Charity on June 2, 2015 at Juventus Stadium. The stadium, in fact, made Ignazio happy more than anyone, because he is a huge Juventino (a big fan of Juventus). I was more excited about having been called up for the first time in the National singers and even more for being able to score. The match was against the team of Champions for research, all great sports champions and big names in the show, from Alex Del Piero to Pavel Nedved, from Jorge Lorenzo to Liam Gallagher of Oasis. What a dream it was! The stadium was full of people cheering crazy. My team was losing, when I came in, we were 3 to 4 and not being able to do anything, apart from shouting directions to my team-mates on the pitch, it made me feel even more strained. It’s like, I know how to play football, you see the others, think about what you would do for them and tell them. No, you scream it, otherwise they will not hear you. Ignazio and I shrieked like crazy to Piero, and then Piero and I shrieked like crazy to Ignazio, but ‘my legs are trembling’, I had to run, enter the pitch, I wanted to score. The coach made me enter in the 83rd minute. We were, as I said, under a goal, but I do not like losing football. So, I took the ball and I scored. What magic! The stadium was screaming, the guys ran to hug me, it was almost like winning the Sanremo Festival again.”
Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca hug on the soccer field after a goal was made.
Now I will give you my take on the game! Certainly, we have to be proud of Gianluca for scoring a goal but, did you expect that he wouldn’t? And Ignazio made the sportscasters work for their money. They never expected him to be so good. This goes back to what I’ve said many times, Italy you should pay more attention to these guys! Now, before I go on about Piero, who I think was the hero of the game, I would like to tell you something about the man Piero went up against Alessandro Del Piero.

Piero playing against Alessandro Del Piero on the soccer field

Alex Del Piero is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and as one of the best Italian players of all times.  In 1993 he joined Juventus, where he played for 19 seasons (11 as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (290) and appearances (705).
It’s been said that “Alessandro Del Piero was the symbol of the club for many years.” “He always comes to the training field with a smile for everyone, a comforting word for everyone. This is his greatness: humbleness… he’s a golden person.” A lot like our guys!
Upon retirement, Del Piero refused the board’s offer to retire the No. 10 shirt in his honor, saying: “I’ve really had so much that I would never want it to be retired, this way, every child can dream one day of wearing it.”
Earlier this year, Del Piero joined ESPN. Del Piero commented, “I am super excited about joining the ESPN FC roster. I’ve watched how fast the USA fan base for soccer has grown over the past five years, the emergence of terrific young American players and the ever-growing popularity of the game among fans.”
In addition to his role with ESPN, Del Piero will continue as a pundit with Sky Sports Italia. Del Piero is also a highly successful entrepreneur. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he opened a world class Italian restaurant named No. 10, representing his jersey number as well as owning a professional development soccer team, named LA10 FC and is a co-founder of EDGE Americas Sports.
So back to Piero! So here our Piero decides he is going to take on Del Piero. He played so well that when he went up against Del Piero he surprised everyone with his moves.  Especially the guys! You could tell Del Piero was enjoying the game as much as the guys! He was hysterical laughing when Piero took him on! I don’t think he expected it!  You need to know that Del Piero has a wonderful sense of humor. He can be very funny.
Piero and teammate against Alessandro Del Piero on the soccer field
End result….by his actions in the game, Piero became, in my opinion, the hero of the game, and so the final score is ….
Soccer – 3
Piero you made us and the guys very proud by your performance!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Quotes are excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia, various TV interviews and news media

 

Credit to owners of all photos and video.

In the Beginning There was Music

In my story today I am taking you back to the very beginning! I want to tell you a little something about the guys in their early years. I will be using excerpt from the book the guys wrote and various interviews they did about the book. This is just a small piece of each man’s story.
We begin by journeying back to Naro, Bologna and Montepagano where it all began, to meet, our guys as little children.

Young IL VOLO

The stories are very sweet and sometimes very sensitive. I found myself in tears reading the beautiful accounts of their special lives. In one of the stories, I had to stop reading and take a breath because it was like I was reading my own story.  I had experienced the same thing in my life and I understood where he was coming from and I felt his pain in my heart with every word he spoke! I’ve been there!
In some way I have a connection to each of these guys. In Gianluca’s case we are connected by country, my maternal grandparents where from Abruzzi but the beach we visited when we were in Abruzzi was Pescara. My connection with Piero is his family. He came from the same kind of family I did. Dinners with the entire family and summers in the countryside. As for Ignazio I have an emotional attachment to him. Ignazio sings with passion and, I write with passion. Many people have said when I write about Ignazio I write with the same passion as he has when he sings. I think this is because we are both very sensitive and we are alike in many ways. We have many of the same traits!
Let me begin by saying each one of the guys is unique in how he presents his story. Piero and Gianluca dictated their stories but, Ignazio chose to write his story. He has a writing technique very similar to mine. When he writes he speaks directly to the reader! He comes in and out of the story speaking to the reader and asking questions. He is an excellent writer.
Piero is a great storyteller! In his stories he recalls every detail. He makes you feel like you’re a part of his story. When the story is over you know the event as it happened and there is nothing more for you to know. He’s told it all! He is very serious and emotional when he speaks about his childhood and his family.
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic.
So, without further ado, let’s begin with….
Ignazio’s Story
All of what is said here was said by Ignazio in his story. I did not change the thoughts or feelings of Ignazio or any of the guys in any of their stories. All the Italics are their own words. You might say I’m relating the story as seen through my eyes. Ignazio as the narrator gives you the facts and I follow him by giving you information that is important to the story.
This is a very, sensitive and sincere story!
“If a life is a story and, if every story needs someone to tell it, here I am to tell you mine, all of it from the beginning.” ~ Ignazio Boschetto
My story is not a fictional story even if it seems to be one of those dreams that you never want to wake up from. My story is sincere. It is the story of my life just as I experienced it before Il Volo and inside Il Volo.
My flight (every reference is purely coincidental) starts with a Christmas Letter.
It seems Ignazio’s mother, Caterina, and his father, Vito, were thinking about expanding their family. It is Christmas time 1993. Ignazio’s sister Antonia, who everyone calls Nina, is at school and the children are told to write a letter to Santa and the Baby Jesus. What Nina writes is a miracle and the beginning of one of the most beautiful and sincere relationships between a brother and sister. Nina, 7 years old, writes:
Dear Santa and Baby Jesus,
I do not want any presents for Christmas. Give my gifts to poor children. I want a baby brother for Christmas.
Nina
Ignazio continues, Said and done!
Shortly after New Year’s Caterina discovers she is pregnant. When Nina is told she wants to confirm that her wish has come true. Nina asks her mother if she can join her for her ultrasound. During the checkup, Nina asks the doctor, “May I know what it is?”
“What do you want, honey?” the doctor asks.
“I want a little brother.”
“Then come, I’ll show you the string bean.”
Nina’s first wish is granted but her second wish, not exactly! Nina wants her brother to be born on October 1st, her birthday. It seems Ignazio had another idea.
My name is Ignazio Boschetto. I was born on October 4th, 1994 in Bologna, Italy.
Ignazio as a baby wearing a crucifix
No, I didn’t make it for Nina’s birthday. I was wrong. What can I tell you? When they brought me home, I was better than any doll to Nina. Everyone was happy but soon, there are some worries. During the first visit, the doctor found that I had a strange kidney malfunction. After several checkups, they found I was born with a single kidney, but the one kidney I had was larger than normal and it works as if it were two kidneys.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was born with the squint of Venus, but I was fine, a Bolognese, brand new. The truth is, I could have been born Sicilian – Sienese. How would you see me with a Tuscan accent?
Ignazio continues his story always keeping in mind that his life is possible because of the sacrifices of his parents.
Is it the same if the images that I will never forget are … the memories of my parents? It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents.
A young Ignazio holding two trophy cups
In 1990, Ignazio’s parents made the decision to leave Marsala. They left with the hope of a better life for their family. As Ignazio says, “The family they had only begun to create.”   Within a few years they managed to achieve economic stability and were able move into a house. Ignazio says, “The house was very small, but it was my first house, the one in which I was born.”
Of all the houses I lived in, one particular address remains in my mind: Via Marconi 94 in Molinella. It was a big and very beautiful house. We moved there just before I started elementary school. I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation. But it was official I was not the most mischievous in class that would be my friend Nicholas. I was second.
A teenage Ignazio and his Dad, Vito, looking at a cell phone
Now I would not want you to get the wrong idea of me as a child. A saint I was not, mind you, but thinking about it now if I was mischievous at school, maybe there was a reason.
In 1998, when Ignazio was four years old his mom was diagnosed with facial cancer. For a child of Ignazio’s age, it was hard to understand what was happening.
Mom did something she always did with us, for as long as I can remember, she explained the situation to us, speaking openly. This is a great merit that I must acknowledge about my family, but perhaps a little more to mom, because the fact of speaking clearly with us children and telling us the truth about things that affected our family and life in general taught us to face up to early adult conversations.
Now, I’m going to step out of the story because there are no words that I can say that will express the emotion and the sensitivity of Ignazio words.
I do not even have to tell you that since my mother’s conversation, my life has changed. I was small, but I could not afford to think like the other children of my age. As for my sister the situation was even more complicated because since 1998, the year of our mother’s first hospitalization, until 2003, the year when all the bad story is over, my mother has become Nina. For the first two years of elementary school, I have not often seen mom, a little because I went to school, a little because she had to return frequently to the hospital and stay there for long periods. Dad worked and my sister, despite her twelve years, had to be a housewife. She has become my biggest reference point. We had to grow both of us very quickly, without thinking about toys and different entertainment, and not so to speak, but really. The truth is that we were not interested in anything that usually affects two children of that age, because the only thing we wanted was to have mom at home.
It is difficult to say what was the worst moment because her absence was always felt. For sure, however, I was particularly impressed by a quarrel with my sister. I was four and she was twelve and I was playing with a toy, she was fed up because I made noise, she took the toy and, we had a fight. After responding badly to her, I immediately repented. For me Nina was very important, really like a mother. In the end I did not sleep for a week. But I never told her, at least until now.
Ignazio with his arm around his sister, NIna
After five surgeries and one hundred and fifty points in the face, mom has returned home. Too bad they did not leave me much time to enjoy her. I wanted to sit her on the sofa and, I wanted all the kisses, hugs and everything I haven’t had in those years. Mom is mine and woe to those who touch her! And instead, a few years earlier, mom had started working in a pizzeria and, not even the time to leave the hospital, she rightly started working again. What could I do?
Ignazio with his arms around his sister, Nina, and Mom, Caterina
Let’s move on to Montepagano!
Gianluca’s story
With Gianluca, everything is about passion! Actually, four passions! Family, Country, Music, Soccer! Not necessarily in that order! He takes his passion for Abruzzo around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too!
My name is Gianluca Ginoble. I was born on February 11th, 1995 at the Atri hospital.
Gianlua as a baby with his tongue sticking out
“I am from the town of Montepagano, Abruzzo. To be precise, I grew up in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.” ~ Gianluca Ginoble
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio, I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.
Dad, Ercole and mom, Eleanora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years. They tell me, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who were sitting around in the square.
A young Gianluca holding his baby brother, Ernie
This was Gianluca’s first audience but, of course he doesn’t remember it.
Because Eleanora worked, Gianluca went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him,” Gianluca said, “He’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you,” was the teacher’s answer.”
I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.
Are you wondering why I suddenly sang ‘Time to Say Goodbye?’ The answer is simple: because it made me feel good. Usually, I would sing at home or in situations where I felt protected as if I were at home. I did not care to make myself heard by others. It also happened that at school the teacher knew my particular voice and she would make me sing in the classroom. “Gianluca, let us hear your voice, guys, let’s listen to Gianluca sing.” Do you know how I reacted? I sang, of course, because it was the teacher who asked, but first I went to hide behind the blackboard and put myself face to the wall. I was ashamed to die. I still remember that feeling of being hidden, while I sang, without seeing anyone. Also, because I was already singing with this voice that tended to the baritone, it was really special. I understood that it was a beautiful thing, which everyone liked, but I was still ashamed. Dad says I also did it at home to turn my face to the wall while I was singing. What could I do? I was very shy and a little insecure.
But now, the shyness is over. Gianluca considered this a defect when he was a child but now, he has overcome the shyness. What hasn’t changed is the constant need for confirmation. On social networks, you see his selfies and people think he is vain, but in reality, he needs constant fan approval. He needs to know that they support him. Gianluca has been this way since he was a child. He always needed reassurances. If he only knew how much his fans love him, he would need no reassurances!
The Ginoble Family: Ercole, Gianluca, Ernie and Eleonora
Time to move on to Naro.
Let’s join Piero in the courtyard of the town square of Naro.
The heat of the day has passed, the time of rest is over and it’s time for people to come out into the square. On the bench nearby are old men. Piero is playing soccer with his friends. They are playing with his SUPER TELE (a plastic football). The ball flies off in the direction of the old men and they shout, “Slow with the ball or we will cut it.” The old men frighten Piero with their threat.
My name is Piero Barone. I was born on June 24th, 1993 in the Sicilian city of Naro.
A very young Piero with his young brother, Francesco (Francesco and Piero Barone)
What can I tell you about Naro? For me, it is the most beautiful city in the world! There are dozens of baroque churches and above the city the Chiaramonte castle. Below the castle is the beautiful Valle del Paradiso with its green pastures and the green sea that separates Naro from the real sea… and there’s the Spring Festival Narese!
I would gather with my friends in the afternoon and usually we played until ten in the evening but there was always the fear that the old men would pierce the ball.
Five or six years have passed since the old men scared me. The old men are still on the bench but now when they see me, they come to meet me, to greet me. Before, they scared me, and now they hug me and have that look of being proud and moved. It’s too strong for me! Yet, I still can’t explain why I become ‘weak inside’ when I see them.
“The truth is, I’m still that kid with his SUPER TELE.”  ~ Piero Barone
For Piero life is all about Naro and the family and his fondest memories are of his childhood and his family….
Francesco and Piero standing behind their baby sister, Mariagrazia, who is sitting in a high chair
I think it is an effort to remember when we were young. We were young the day before yesterday. In fact, all three of us, feel that time has run too fast. Yesterday we were children, and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on. It’s the most beautiful job in the world, what we dreamed and desired, but the truth is that none of us really imagined what would happen.
I remember in detail the years from one to fourteen…. I recall for a few months, during the summer, when I was nine years old, I went to work in my father’s body shop but because I had bad allergies and asthma I was not able to deal with the paints and powders so, the decision was made that I would go to work in my uncle Angelo’s (my mother’s brother) mechanic shop which was just in front of my father’s shop. I clearly recall, at half past ten, on time, my uncle gave me two euros and I went to buy a sandwich at the supermarket. The sandwich was ham and provolone. ‘How good was that sandwich!’
What I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I’m not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am, very, happy. It’s to have the life I have and have a dream come true: living with music was all I wanted.
When I was a child, I visited my father’s body shop. The shop was, very, big and was full of cars and lots of noise. This was my “first stage.” I was not yet four years old, and I was starting to sing. My father lifted me up and placed me on the hood of a car that was jacked up and I immediately began to sing. The people in front of the shop looked out. Slowly one after another, they came out. I remember them, they stood there listening to me, their heads popping out of the door and, I sang and, it was the most natural thing in the world for me!
But what remains in Piero’s heart is what he calls the “campaign” of his grandparents.
Piero with his grandfather, Pietro
How do I explain this campaign? I think “campaign” and I think “family” a couple that cannot be divided.
Piero compares this campaign to his mother, Elenora, and his father, Gaetano. He sees their marriage as an example of love that he hopes to one day share with someone. Piero says,
I want someone with whom I can carry on that love that is so great even in times of difficulty.
And part of that love, Piero explains, comes from the closeness of his family.
I am proud to say mine is a real Sicilian family, one of those that on Sundays reunites at the grand house, the grandparents’ house. Together we are mom and dad with me and my brother and my sister, my grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle, my great-grandmother, my grandmother’s sister, her husband and their three children, who are the same age as us and for me they are like another brother and two other sisters. And there were great lunches from the first to the sweets, things so good that you cannot even imagine them. And the saga continues, when summer arrives and, everyone moves to the countryside.
Piero’s fondly remembers a family tradition…
The Barone Family: Mariagrazia, Gaetano, Eleonora, Piero and Francesco
I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning when we lit the wood burning oven. I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, which is bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week. The week passed and the next Saturday we started over again. The bread was beautiful, warm and fragrant. We also made the “impanate”, which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things and, it was visible (I was really fat).
We have now met the guys at the very beginning of their lives. What have we learned from each boy? We learned they come from very simple, very humble families. Hard working families. Not unlike the other children they grew up with. Their days were spent playing, being mischievous and singing on impulse. The one thing everyone comes back to in their story is their music. Piero tells us living with music was all he wanted. Ignazio tells us between the mischief, there was always the passion for music. And Gianluca says he sang because it made him feel good.
It seems for these young men not much has changed over the years. In the Beginning There was Music and not much has changed over the years except that now they share it with us!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Quotes are excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia, various TV interviews and news media.

 

Credit to owners of all photos.

 

Conquering America

Six years after the guys were put together on Ti Lascio una Canzone, they wrote a book, Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra Storia, (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our History) and what an extraordinary adventure it was.
In their many interviews, they talked about the book and their lives in the beginning of their career and we begin to see how they interact with one another to form a powerful team. From a very young age they were very intelligent and, they were always courteous. They always had the right answer at the right time! This is a big achievement for such young boys who were thrown together into an adults’ world without any way of knowing what to expect. This says a lot about their integrity. In this story we meet three amazing young men who achieved in their teenage years what most adults could not achieve in a lifetime!
Reading through the stories, I can see how the boys begin to bond with one another. We all have our good days and our bad days but, at the end of the day they have what’s most important, “each other.”

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage

What we also see in their story is how they begin to bond with the American people. From their first performance on TV on American Idol, they took America by storm. Every TV Show wanted them as guests. After the show they hit the top 10 on the “Billboard” charts. They were on the ride of their lives and, they didn’t even know it! So, let’s join Piero now as he tells us what it was like for him after six years with the guys.
Piero begins…
“But can you think about how far we’ve come? We did not even know each other and now we have been working together for six years, we toast together, we cry together. By now Gianluca and Ignazio, but let’s not let them know, they are a part of me, I do not know how I could do without them.
I’ll make you understand one thing: when I’m on stage singing my solo, as soon as I finish, I cannot wait for the other two to come because I feel their moral, psychological and even physical support. If I feel bad, I know that there are two of them that can help me, we can help each other, and this is fundamental for me, to feel that we support each other, that we are always together.”
Ignazio picks up the story…
“It was the beginning of 2010, our first time overseas. Destination Miami! What charm America! Everything was so different from Italy: the cars were different, the streets, the houses. I felt like I was in another world.
Immediately after Miami we went to Los Angeles. My first word? ‘Wow!’ Which was also what I said when I entered my room in one of the best hotels in the city, the InterContinental of Century City.

Left to right: A young Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca

We were only three kids accompanied by our parents. We still did not know each other well. At the beginning I immediately started to connect with Piero. Perhaps because he is Sicilian like me and maybe because we always found the opportunity to make jokes and have fun. We especially enjoyed ourselves when we tried to make ourselves understood by people, since we spoke few words of English.
But what were we doing in Los Angeles? We stayed there a week during which we were lucky enough to be part of the ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ with eighty of the most famous music stars in the world including Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Santana and many others. After 25 years we all gathered together for ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ to collect funds for the earthquake victims of January 12th, 2010.

Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero in front of the We Are The World

It was the first week of February 2010, Quincy Jones had invited us, the myth Quincy Jones, the one who worked with Ray Charles, one of the artists who made history through international music. In short, that was our first truly, great, exciting experience: who could ever imagine that one day I could find myself among those people in such a context.
After the week and back to Italy. The difference between Italy and the United States we saw immediately: they were more advanced, more ahead!”
Piero recalls their meeting with Quincy Jones…
“I remember meeting with Quincy Jones when he came to ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti:’ an eighty-year-old crazy character in Converse.
That time we just showed up, but three years later he came to one of our concerts and we had the chance to talk. Okay, you imagine being with Quincy Jones, the Quincy Jones who worked with Count Basie, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Jackson. Here, what are you talking about? Music?
We were fifteen to sixteen when we found ourselves in this American dream. We had signed a contract with a record company that includes famous artists like Beyoncé and many others. We were invited by the record company to the party. We turned and saw, again, Quincy Jones; we turn around and we saw Rihanna; we turned and shook hands with Lady Gaga. We talked with them, some singers who were idols for us and for our peers.
I never forget the meeting with Puff Daddy, he shook my hand and told me: ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ You see, now that I’m telling you, I’m shivering because I never said it, but Puff Daddy says ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ Then I sent a message to my friends in Naro, ‘Today I was with Beyoncé, today I met Puff Daddy.’ And they did not even believe it. They only believed a little bit if we sent the photos. But they did not really understand what was happening in our lives.

IL VOLO with stars during the "We Are the World" event

In fact, we only began to understand that something was changing when our first record came out.”
So, the guys have met all the big names and performed with them in We Are the World, but reality has not yet set in. Let’s hear what Ignazio has to say about this….
“It was already May 2010 and the Il Volo album was about to come out all over the world. Maybe I was too small and naive but I did not feel the anxiety of the job, unlike today. The first major television show we appeared in, in America, was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show. There, yes that….…”
Piero interrupts….
“American Idol? I remember the first fitting we did with the clothes, the dress rehearsal, in short. We found ourselves in the dressing rooms with all these clothes, we did not know where to look, glasses, bracelets, we touched everything, the stylists all around you. We still have those clothes. I personally will never throw them away.”
Gianluca interrupts Piero….
“Then they say I am the vain one! Yes, I remember the clothes, the stylists, it was the first time, a crazy feeling. But most of all I remember the face of Jennifer Lopez when Steven Tyler gave five to Ignazio, live with thirty million viewers. Oh not, Igna?”
Ignazio recalls that crazy moment….
“I had a crazy fright in front of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson and millions of Americans watching us from home. We sang ‘O Sole Mio,’ live and, while singing, I do not know how it came to me: I casually approached and gave five to Steven Tyler in the studio and took a delirium, all standing!

And a few days later we realized that people at home were ecstatic: The week after the broadcast we were listed in the top 10 of “Billboard” the most important internationally recognized music reviewer. A goal that only a few Italian artists have achieved. Not bad for boys of only sixteen. After that great success, all the American television networks wanted us on their show. And slowly also in many other countries in the world.
In a few months I found myself having traveled the world, from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to Oceania. From 2010 to 2013 we traveled like crazy, without ever stopping. In three years, I have not been home for five months. So much so that the rest of my family were upset. Sometimes I traveled with my mother, sometimes with my father, and I never saw my sister. The first discussions had begun for those who were to accompany me, not because they wanted to travel the world, but because my mother did not want to stay away from her son, who until a few months before had an almost normal life, apart from the thousand daily whims.

Left to right: A young Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca

The release of the album, the pre-sales of the American, Latin American and European tour, were good but not Italy because the Italian promoters were not very enthusiastic about our work. We were very sorry but, we conspired with the fact that Michele, our manager, had lived the exact same thing with Andrea Bocelli and said: ‘Wait, boys, one day they will notice.’
So, the concerts are approaching around the world, but who had ever done one? I had only an experience on June 24th, 2009, on returning home from Ti Lascio Una Canzone I had a concert in Marsala, fifteen thousand people were waiting for me in the square, I will not tell you the fear I had, so much that I sang the wrong words to the first song! But now I was not alone for a single evening but, there were many concerts to divide spaces, remember movements and various choreographies. Luckily there was Luca Tommasini, a dancer and choreographer who was part of Madonna’s dance group, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. Prince, Whitney Houston, just to name a few. He was a great help and we had fun around the Americas and Europe.
The concerts were fine, many were sold out. We started on that first tour in 2010 in spaces from one thousand five hundred to two thousand seats to the maximum until arriving in 2013 from five thousand to ten thousand places. The girls shouting at all the concerts, the hotels, the airports always full of fans, we walked with bodyguards.
The record was going well, and many people in the show were noticing us. One day Michele calls us: ‘Barbra Streisand’s manager called me.’”
Piero, who was in charge of recording all the dates and events and signing contracts, recalls…
“We were in Atlantic City, in my suite, and who comes in our American partner, Michael’s right-hand man, with a contract.
‘What is that?’ I ask him.
‘The contract to sign with Barbara.’
I knew that there was a project with her, but being on tour, I could not keep in touch every day with Torpedine, so I did not know that the thing had come to past. And it was a really big thing: Barbra Streisand wanted us on tour with her, not as an opening, but as an integral part of the show.
The tour, which was called Back to Brooklyn, was the first that Streisand made between the United States and Canada since 1994. It opened on, October 4th, 2012, in Philadelphia and closed on November 11th in Los Angeles, passing through New York, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, La Vegas, Chicago. Can you imagine what it meant? And we sing with her!

IL VOLO singing with Barbara Streisand

So, I signed the contract, but the most anticipated thing was the meeting with her. Because Barbra is a diva, all speak of Barbra with so much desire. And to find yourself face to face with a person who has made history of international music, known all over the world, who is seventy years old and still has twenty thousand people every single evening, is incredible!
And the meeting was surreal because it is absurd to find yourself talking to her about your hair, where you go to cut your hair and trivial things, it does not seem possible!
The fact is, however, that I am not one who dreams so much, I do not live above the clouds. I may not seem modest, but yes, I did a duet with Barbra Streisand, but when I finished the show, I called Torpedine and I said, ‘What are we doing tomorrow?’ ”
Ignazio continues….
“How much do you run, Piero! I’m still at Michele’s first call and you’ve already finished the tour?
When our manager gave us confirmation of our participation in the tour after a few days of negotiation, we did not know what to say or what to do. Personally, I knew of Barbara Streisand, but I wanted to know more, so I watched Funny Girl, the first film she shot and with which she won the Oscar for the best actress in 1969. After watching that musical-film I was fascinated and excited a thousand times more to be part of the tour of the artist who had made me dream only through a screen. I did not even want to imagine what it would feel like the day I would find myself on the same stage as her.
The first concert with her was in Philadelphia on October 4th, 2012, the day of my birthday, so you can imagine what a birthday I would have. It was nice and exciting to hear her singing close to me.

Left to right: Gianluca, Barbara Streisand, Piero and Ignazio

When I arrived at the sound check, before the concert, I do not know what happened but, I started thinking about everything we had done in the years before, how much gratitude the boys and I had for Michele who had never left us since the first day. We were sharing the stage with one of the greatest living legends.
They are difficult emotions to explain!”
Gianluca throughout the book and his interviews is led by his passions and emotions, much as he is in his everyday life where family, music, country and soccer, are his greatest passions.  Here Gianluca picks up on Ignazio’s emotions and continues the story….
“In my case, if possible, it is even more difficult because the thrill of singing with Barbra Streisand has added to the excitement of singing in front of my grandfather. Imagine the Barclays Center in New York, a huge sports arena full, bursting of people. The capacity is around fifteen thousand places, but that evening was so full of people it seemed to me to be twenty-five thousand. The darkness all around and then the lights suddenly, the audience roar, the music, the concert.
And what did I see in all this? I saw only my grandfather in the middle of the Barclays Center who greeted me by hand. It was the best image of that tour, for me, a kind of film, yes, in a film it would have been really good!
I did not believe it, the more I looked at it and the less I believed it. It was weird, my grandfather at one of my concerts with Barbra Streisand in New York. I have always seen him in the square in the village, it seemed a mirage to see him there.
He made me like this with his hand (a wave) and he was crying. And I was just looking at him, singing ‘Smile’ and watching only him.

Worse was when I just moved my gaze and I saw my father sitting next to him. And he cried too.
That time on stage I could not let myself go, but then I ‘recovered’ during our first European tour, the year after.
My grandfather worked in Switzerland for many years, in fact my father was born there in the sixties, so he could not wait to go back to northern Europe. So, what did he do? He came to Frankfurt with my mother on the plane.
We land, we go out of the baggage area, I turn the corner and open a door. There is a video that is made of me, I have a face. Behind that door was my grandfather waiting for me. Yes, I started crying. And so, for me, the grandfather is the grandfather, woe to those who touch him. And it is love, not affection.
However, of the tour with Streisand, I also recollect the amazement that took us every night after the concert. Why? Because she received crazy visits in the dressing room! In Los Angeles, just to give you an idea, they came to greet her – and we met them! – Sting and Tom Hanks.
What a fantastic tour it was!”
Can you imagine these three young guys living this adventure? I get chills listening to them talk about it. They are so innocent they don’t even know how to react at times.
Piero is so humbled by coming face to face with a person who has made history in international music.
Ignazio is speechless he can’t even express his emotions!
And Gianluca is so astonished by the event at the Barclay theater he can only focus on what is closest to his heart, his family, and the fact that he is sharing this experience with them.
You know what I love most about this story? The fact that they are so in awe of the entertainers around them. Kind of like we are in awe when we are in their company! That is emotional for me! What these people did to them, the emotions they felt, is so like our emotions for them, our feeling that we walk with great people. Our wonderful guys!
In the story they speak like they want to reach out and touch the people around them but, they can’t even wrap their heads around what’s going on! Who could imagine that these three young boys who stepped off the stage of Ti Lascio una Canzone would travel around the world, join renowned singers and, immediately become a part of an industry which, in reality, is so hard to break into? Yes, it was La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) that led them to America.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing on stage   Left to right: Closeup of Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca singing on stage   Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing on stage

Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio sings on stage  Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage  

They were in the first steps of their career and, they were already Conquering America! What an amazing achievement!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Quotes are excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia, various TV interviews and news media.
The photos from the 2013 RCMH concert were courtesy of Judy Thurman’s personal collection.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

 

Journey to Stardom

Over the past week I have been thinking about where it all began for the guys. As you know, I have written excerpts from their story but, I thought it might be nice for some of the new fans to hear about where it all began for the guys. Three different stories but all with the same ending! This is the story of how they were discovered and of course their journey to Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Piero: The Beginning of the Journey

Young PIero in blue sweater

Most of you know that Piero was discovered by his grandfather. In the garden of his grandparents’ house there is a mulberry tree and hanging on that tree is an old-fashioned swing. Piero was swinging on that swing when his grandfather heard him sing for the first time! He was about four years old at the time. The following day Pietro had a recording made of Piero singing “Un Amore Così Grande.”
The evening of the recording would be the beginning of Piero’s journey to stardom. As always, Piero’s entire family ate dinner together. The family consisted of his great grandmother, all the aunts, uncles and cousins who were like sisters and brothers to him. After dinner all the kids played soccer while the adults went outside to chat and enjoy the cool of the evening on the terrace. But this evening would be a little different because just one day earlier, Piero’s grandfather Pietro discovered that Piero had an amazing voice.
They had just finished dinner when *Pietro called his wife. “Rina, get the recorder.” Rina brought in the recorder and placed it in front of Pietro. The recorder was already prepared with the cassette that had the recording of Piero’s voice. Pietro turns to Piero’s dad and says, “Listen to this voice, Gaetano.” He pushes play and starts the recording of “Un Amore Così Grande.” Gaetano is amazed like he has just heard a good thing, and he says, “It’s beautiful, who is it daddy?” (He calls his father-in-law daddy.) Pietro says, “Piero.” Silence. Gaetano has a questioning looking on his face “How did Piero?” Pietro says, “So?”
On that night Piero’s life changed! His father did everything he could think of to start him on a musical journey. He wanted Piero to start the festivals but, he was too young. He needed to “put in a base” because the voice alone was not enough. Gaetano asked himself: “What must Piero start to do?” And the answer was: “Piero must start playing the piano”.
Piero began to study piano at the age of eight but, economically the family could not afford the costs of the lessons. So, Piero’s grandfather paid for everything, and not just from the material point of view. Stefano Tesè was Piero’s first piano teacher. The mother of Piero’s teacher lived on the floor below in his grandfather’s house and the master came to see his mother every Monday. Pietro made an agreement with Mr. Tesè to give Piero lessons every Monday at six o’clock.

Young Piero playing piano

Piero says, “The road was very short to my grandfather’s house, I could even go there alone, but here was the problem, to get there I had to face a dog that was going around in that neighborhood, that dog would approach and bark furiously. And I had a fear of dogs. Squeezed under my grandfather’s arm, he who being blind needed to be guided, I felt protected as behind a shield: when the dog approached, Pietro shouted: “Passa arrassu!” (fast pass), go away, and the dog went away.”
Piero confesses there was another problem, “Every Monday at six in the afternoon was a nightmare for me, because I did not like going to the piano lesson. Or rather, I liked it only when the lessons were good, when I could play, but at the beginning I was bored a lot with the hammers, solfeggios and all the things that you rightly have to learn to play the piano. Maestro Tesè was a tough guy and, I was always worried that he would scold me. After a while I started to understand how the piano worked and the lessons started to please me.”
The advice everyone gave Piero was that he should join the choir that met in the church of Santo Spirito in Agrigento. Originally Gaetano objected to this saying they would “break my sons voice,” but, eventually he came to the reality that this was the right thing to do. And so it was that Piero joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento.

And so it was that Piero started his classical musical education that would end at Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
Of the three, Piero is the only one who said, “…. if there is one thing I want to do in life, it is singing, living for and with music.”
The original story I wrote about Piero’s beginnings I called **The Mulberry Tree because Piero was swinging on a swing which hung from a mulberry tree in his grandfather garden. Around the time of this event, I was at home in New York busy writing a screenplay. The name screenplay was “The Mulberry Tree!”
Ignazio: The Beginning of the Journey

Young Ignazio at the Satiro d’Oro Festival

In this story, Ignazio leaves his friends and his school in Bologna and starts all over again in Marsala. He fought this move every step of the way but this move would bring him to the start of his journey to stardom! All the What if’s, come into play! What if the family didn’t return to Marsala? What if Caterina didn’t open the pizzeria? What if that customer didn’t hear Ignazio sing? What if Ignazio decided not to take singing lessons? Ignazio’s story begins shortly after his arrival in Marsala
In 2004 there was a great change for Ignazio’s family. Ignazio’s mom had regained her health and finally the family was financially stable so, they returned to Marsala.
Ignazio’s story of the building of the pizzeria was so inspiring that I called my original story, “A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side.”
During the first year they were back in Marsala, Ignazio’s mom had gone back and forth every day to the center of Marsala to be able to secure her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own. In order to open the pizzeria, she needed to do certain things. First thing: she had to get the permits and all the bureaucratic things that she needed to do. Second thing: she used the ovens of friends and made pizzas. Ignazio said: “I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas so, when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough. It is different to make pizza in Bologna than making it in Marsala, take the word of a son and brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature and the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.”
While Caterina was preparing permits and trying different kinds of pizza, it was left for the men to build the pizzeria. With the savings Vito accumulated over the years he began the work on the pizzeria. He was now working in a company that built wooden structures and being an experienced bricklayer, the dream could be realized, and the pizzeria could be built in front of the house.

Teenage Ignazio

Ignazio said: “For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there were a few days of school vacation, I went to work with him.”
Ignazio continues; “You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker. Of course, if there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within me. It was a passion for electronics and music. I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with those instruments: karaoke.”
Finally, in 2005 the pizzeria was completed and, Caterina opened the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months Caterina already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when Ignazio was singing at home, even the customers heard him. One day a gentleman said to Caterina, ‘You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.”
Ignazio said: “Like everything else, we talked it over within my family and everyone was enthusiastic about it. It was decided, I would go and see what these singing lessona were like.
I remember it as if it were yesterday! I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited, in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher.
Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless.
Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs do I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how. You know, Liliana, I said, I like to sing Giorgia’s songs.”

Lilliana said: “Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song.” She asked, “And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?” “Gocce Di Memoria (Drops of Memory),” I said. “I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too.”
Ignazio thought a little bit and then he said he sometimes sang Con Te Partirò by Andrea Bocelli. He started singing and, when he finished Liliana told him: “Ignazio, this is your musical direction”.
From that first lesson Ignazio began to study songs like “Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,” “Un Amore Così Grande” and all those that came to mind, and he liked it. The songs approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic.
Ignazio was very comfortable with Lilliana and they understood each other immediately because she was a sociable person, simple, as are all of Ignazio’s family.
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that Ignazio take part in a competition organized in Paolini. Ignazio wasn’t completely convinced that he wanted to go on a stage. Until that moment he had only thought about singing, but he never seriously thought that all his singing one day could bring him into the spotlight. In short, he was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged him to participate, and so in the end he decided to do it.
Ignazio said: “I was about to get on the stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with Bocelli’s “Con te partirò” (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started, I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.… I came in third.”
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions for Ignazio.
After two and a half years, three that he was studying with Liliana, one day Lilliana told him that for the genre that he was going to sing another teacher was better suited to give lyrical singing lessons. So, Ignazio was convinced and started to follow another singing teacher, Roberta Caly.
So now his life became complicated. He went to Lilliana for singing lessons and interpretation. He went to Roberta for lyric singing. And he took a diction course from Lilliana and Roberta. He also went to a diction course with Lilliana and a diction course with Roberta but taught by other teachers in the school. And he also attended a jazz workshop.
Ignazio went to class every day except Sunday when he went to see Nina’s soccer matches. Nina was now playing in Serie B.
Between the school, the singing lessons, the piano lessons and diction Ignazio was always busy, so much so that he was forced to leave the school of soccer.

Young Ignazio in blue sweater

Ignazio could not do everything because of the economic conditions of his family. At this time Ignazio found another thing to do: an extracurricular musical laboratory. Ignazio was so busy but, he did not want to give up that workshop, it was about setting up musicals. Ignazio said, “It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.”
In 2007, Ignazio stopped studying with Roberta. He met Giovanna Collica, a very good soprano, who gave lessons in Siracusa. Even though Giovanna was in Siracusa, which was a long journey from Ignazio’s home, she was too important to give up.  She was a very good soprano, she had even sung a duet with Luciano Pavarotti.
Ignazio concludes, “It took a lot of money to cover the travel expenses, the lessons and the registration for competitions that in many cases were not free. So, it was at a certain point, mom and dad found themselves not having enough money to send me forward. They were more hurt than me. Having always worked and being accustomed to face sacrifices for the family, they did not want to surrender to this obstacle but at the same time they did not know what to do. In the end, it was necessary to make a decision. The decision was to ask a person dear to us for a loan that, as soon as mom and dad had settled a little, would be returned.
This person has helped us with great generosity, so as, to allow me to continue to pursue this dream.” Next stop Ti Lascio una Canzone!
Gianluca: The Beginning of the Journey

Young Gianluca smiling

So, finally, we come to Gianluca. I must tell you Gianluca’s journey to stardom was different from Ignazio and Piero. The end result was the same but, the beginnings were different.  Gianluca says: “Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, big sacrifices, of their families. I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
Mom and dad tell me, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who were sitting around in the square.”
This was the beginning of Gianluca’s journey to stardom.
Gianluca says, when he sings, he “doesn’t forget instinct.” What does that mean? Gianluca has never studied singing. He learned to ‘use’ his voice only thanks to his musical ear. He listens to the music and, it transmits everything he knows. And, for this, he is especially thankful to the Little Choir of Roses.
When Gianluca was about eight or nine, all those who knew him gave him the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo. They sang the songs of the “Zecchino D’oro” or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the situation, was Gianluca’s dad, Ercole.
The choir was nice because they studied the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because they did not study the notes and how to do them, rather they studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what their ear heard.

Gianluca said: “If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio at Ti Lascio Una Canzone, it seems to me like yesterday.
Ignazio’s story shows that things come and you do not have to force them to arrive. It is not different from mine. Maybe, a little bit different because, apart from the Little Choir of Roses and those modest performances with my father’s theater company, I’ve never done anything else, no competitions, no festivals. I did not want to do them, I never thought about it.”
Gianluca participated in the Festival of the Adriatic, in 2006, and he won it. In 2007 he participated in Ascoli Piceno, for young talents. He sang at weddings, that’s it. He recalls, “I sang Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ and they paid me. My first money earned with music. And for fun, in 2007 I recorded a CD in a studio in Roseto degli Abruzzi, it was called “Start from Here.” It was a study by Vincenzo Irelli, a very good musician.” Verilli heard Gianluca sing, probably in one of the Little Rose Choir’s performances, and he said to Mr. Ginoble, “Bring him to me.” Gianluca recalls, “We spent a couple of weeks recording the CD and then we gave it to all the relatives. If I think about it today, it makes me smile. Never, never would I have thought that it would not be the only one, that I could make music my life. I tell you I only sang because it made me feel good, I was happy.”
Then what happened? In his story, Gianluca said: ‘I do not know exactly, what happened, because everything happened very quickly. If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio, it seems like yesterday. Instead, six years have passed. To tell you the truth, seven years passed from the casting sessions because it was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.

Young Gianluca singing at the Ti Lascio Una Canzone show

Who is Licia Giunco. She’s an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for life, a great international ice-skating gala. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe to participate. The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was Gianluca’s performances with the choir. “We have a great talent here in Roseto,” Mrs. Guinco told Mr. Ginoble. “I would like to bring him to RAI (Italian TV Station).” Gianluca says, “My father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined that I would participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.”
“Let’s try,” Mr. Ginoble replied, “It would be a great opportunity.” “Dad thought it was just a different experience something that could make me have fun. Mrs. Giunco made available her contacts, we talked to Franco Fasano, whom Licia knew, and he would take us to audition with Roberto Cenci for the broadcast of RAI. Maybe this is what I liked, the idea that it was only a life experience to do, an experience that would allow me to sing for a while. My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least. They left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.
At the studio, when they called my name, I entered the recording room. Roberto Cenci was there. It was the first time I saw him. The impact was big because he has a very tough character and, he did not convey much sympathy at the first meeting. But the essential thing is that I start to sing: I wanted to be a little alone to think, you know. I had chosen ‘The Voice of Silence.’ I remember it perfectly. I was thirteen, the first audition was in November 2008 and, I already had this deep, baritone voice.”
And so, we have arrived at “Ti Lascio una Canzone.”

Left to right: Gianluca, Antonella Clerici, PIero and Ignazio on the Ti Lascio Una Canzone show

These were the guys’ beginnings, but the real beginning was when they stepped on the stage and sang “O Sole Mio,” and began their real Journey to Stardom.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero sitting on the edge of a stage singing

Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*All quotes are excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia.
**You can read my original stories “The Mulberry Tree,” “A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side,” and “And Then There Were Three,” on my Facebook page.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

The Reviews, the Comments and the Voices!

Let me say writing about the concert the last two weeks has really been exciting! But “Where do I go from here?” So many amazing things happened!  I keep going over it in my mind. I guess it’s time to move on but first I want you to listen to what the press had to say about the concert!
The Reviews!
Andrea Spinelli from Quotidiano.net.
The idea of opening the concert with “The Ecstasy of Gold” directed by Andrea Morricone, while evoking Clint’s ice eyes …. turned out to be the most powerful opening of the gates of the Arena and brought it back to the center of the music.
Faces a little tense! Tense nerves, “our legs tremble, it is the highest and most important moment of our career” but in the voice of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble resounded all the determination of the event. A bit like in the “thrill” of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” but without steaming Colts. Many emotions, which the American PBS network will bring back at some time to the audience overseas, to pave the way for the World Tour kicking off on March 18th from Radio City Music Hall. By then, the album, “Il Volo – a Tribute to Ennio Morricone,” scheduled for autumn, will also be in stores.
Another review from Quotidiano.net
In the Concert event “Il Volo- Tributo a Ennio Morricone” at the Arena the three young tenors made the heart of Italy vibrate with their first live on Rai 1…. Immediately the first standing ovation with “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot, but many others followed in a crescendo of emotions.
In the lineup there were many famous songs by maestro Morricone, or arranged by him, but also many classic songs of Italian and international popular music, from “Volare” to “My Way” to “Se Telefondo” to arrive at the successes that made Il Volo known all over the world.
The three also performed alone, each with their own vocal skills and peculiarities, from Gianluca’s pop with “Your Song,” to Piero’s lyrical skills with “No Puede Ser,” to the vocal power of Ignazio with “Listen.” Il Volo wanted to dedicate the concert to all those who did not make it in this year of pandemic, in particular Vito the father of Ignazio who recently passed away. For the audience, a surprise a single unreleased by the trio “I colori dell’amore,” written by Maestro Andrea Morricone.
“These have been difficult months. For a long time, we wanted to do a live broadcast but, we did not feel ready,” said the three. “Tonight, we realized a dream! I say never give up to kids and always chase your dreams.”
So that is the final word on the concert! It’s hard to move on but we must! But you never know, I may come back to it later.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on the arena stage

The Comments!
I must say I received thousands of comments from the fan clubs around the world! The consensus was unanimous, “the most amazing event. The guys’ best concert ever!” I agree 100%!
Today, I want to respond to some comments, two, in particular, that come to me time and again.
Many of you have made comments or written to me and said I should write a book about the guys. I will but, not right now, I’m already writing a book and I can only work on one book at a time. But the idea of this brings me back to the guys’ book Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra storia(An Extraordinary Adventure, our story). A great book! I know you’re going to say it’s in Italian and you don’t understand it. Many people have asked me why I don’t translate the book. Simple, it’s not my book to translate. If it were, I would certainly translate it because it is a book everyone should read. It’s not just about their extraordinary voices it’s also about their extraordinary lives. Their beginnings! Their great values! Their amazing families who made great sacrifices for them. This is not just their story it is the story of their families who had to change their lifestyles in order that their children could go around the world and bring joy to millions of people! Extraordinary yes but, not just their adventure, it’s also their family’s adventure!
And what an adventure it was! From their performance at Ti Lascio una Canzone, where they shared the stage with some of the greatest names in the Italian music industry to that moment when they sang together for the first time “O Sole Mio” and changed their lives forever!
From the Italian shores to the American stage these young men have revolutionized the music industry! They reached into the past and brought forward music that was long gone. Italian Classics! True Neapolitan classics! Amazing Arias! They presented to the American people an old but new way of listening to great music! They captured the hearts of all generation. Teenagers, parents, grandparents!
They came to America and found themselves performing with some of the greatest entertainers in the world! Entertainers who were in awe of these three teenage boys. Just amazing!

A young Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio

As many of you know, I wrote excerpts from the book. I took the original book which consisted mostly of dialogues and short stories between the guys and changed it to a narrative so you could truly appreciate their stories. (If you go to my Facebook page, you can read many of these stories.)
In the story, I acted as the narrator leading you from one story to another, always allowing the guys to tell the story in their own words. After a while, the guys took over (as characters usually do in a story) and carried me along on their journey. A very exciting journey!
What did I find out about the guys in this book? 
I found out that Piero is an excellent storyteller. When he tells you a story, he includes every little detail so when the story is over you know everything there is to know about that story.
I found out that Ignazio is an excellent writer. (As is evident in his song writing!) He is the only one who wrote his story. Ignazio is very articulate. His words just flew off the pages. Because of this, his story was the easiest to edit.
As for Gianluca I was surprised to find out he was such a romantic. Everything that is important to him is a passion. He invests himself in what he loves and believes in: Family, Music, Country and Soccer!
I have read the book about 10 times. Going back and forth from Italian to English to be sure that the facts I had were correct. I have edited other books but this one was truly an exciting adventure for me because the characters meant something to me.
Let me give you some final thoughts I had about this book. This story truly was as the title suggested “an extraordinary adventure” about three young boys, child prodigies, who travelled the same path but started in different places: Naro, Bologna and Montepagano. I often think how it is possible that three amazing boys, with three extraordinary voices, that complement one another, wound up in the same place, at the same time, in history. My only answer is divine intervention. God had a plan and what a plan it was! He gave us three voices that would stay with us for a long time and certainly for me till the end of my days.

Serious looks close up from Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio

Another comment that caused a lot of back and forth, between the fans, within the column this week was something that I have dealt with in my stories but, it seems some of you have not read, are new to the group and don’t known about or just need some explanation for.
The question was “Why does Gianluca start every song?” He doesn’t, but in essence he does start most songs. One woman thought Gianluca sings first because he won Ti Lascio una Canzone. They all won Ti Lascio una Canzone! In order to say one won over another, they would have to have the same voices. Well, we know there are three different voices ~ a baritone, a tenor and a spinto tenor. Yes, they did come in first, second and third but, they all won because the end result was the biggest prize of all ~ becoming Il Volo.
Now for why Gianluca sings first, I need to go back to my story from April 6, 2020 “To Talk About Our Guys – IL Volo” which was the first article Flight Crew published by me.  I have written about this on numerous occasions but, it needs to be said again especially for those new to the group. (You can read this full story “To Talk About Our Guys – IL Volo” on www.ilvoloflightcrw.com)
Like most of you, I spend a good deal of my day listening to these three amazing guys sing and, at one point, I said maybe I should do a review of what’s been going on in their lives for the last 10 years.
Let me start by saying these three young men are extraordinary! They are remarkable, exceptional, persons. And, they have revolutionized the music industry. Let’s take a look at each one.
The Voices
Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice! I don’t who coined the phrase but, that is right on. Let’s use our senses to understand what that means. Take a piece of velvet and hold it in your hand. Now take your other hand and gently pass your hand across the velvet. What do you feel? You feel a smooth even surface that is crisp with no breaks in it. The sensation is so good that you automatically go back and do it again. And every time it’s the same. It’s pleasing!
Now take Gianluca’s voice, let the notes pass into your ears, what do you hear? A crisp, smooth, even voice with no breaks in it. The note barely passes into your ear and, you are going back for the next note. It’s always pleasing!

Gianluca is a lyrical baritone. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range. Most baritones are limited in range. Gianluca’s voice is huge. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice.
A baritone voice is very romantic, very pleasing to listen to and is always inviting. Most songs are written for baritones. Gianluca starts, almost, every song. Why? In order for a song to be received well you must draw your audience into it. Gianluca’s voice draws you in in a romantic way and you hang on to every note. He can mesmerize you with a song but, when he sings, ”She’s Always a Woman”, he takes your breath away. The highs, the lows, the emotion, the expression. His voice expands like nothing I ever heard before. He has total command of the song. You walk away with your senses lifted to another level.
Let’s talk about Ignazio, who I call the bridge. He is a lyrical tenor. He, like Gianluca, is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the tenor range. And God knows he can, easily, hit that high C. Waiting for it and knowing it’s going to happen is so exciting!
A lyrical tenor has a warm graceful voice which is bright and strong but not heavy and it can be heard over an orchestra. Ignazio’s voice is smooth, clean and clear, with an acute extension. His voice has the ability to increase the baritone voice of Gianluca while softening the spinto tenor voice of Piero.

In the aria Una Furtiva Lagrimafrom L’elisir D’amore, Ignazio grabs you and draws you into the song. He makes you feel the innocence of Nemorino’s love for Adina. In his dedication to Pino Daniele, you hear an interpretation that is emotional and a delivery that is so amazing that you get the sense that Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.

And finally, Piero. Piero is a spinto (meaning pushed) tenor. A spinto tenor has the brightness and height of a lyric tenor, but with a heavier vocal weight enabling the voice to be “pushed” to dramatic climaxes with less strain than his lighter-voice counterparts. His voice is warm, graceful, bright, and can be heard over an orchestra. Piero has a powerful voice that easily reaches the higher notes. Every note that comes out of his mouth reaches us with such intensity and remains with us for a long time. It’s the voice that reaches out to you and demands your attention. Think of him singing the beautiful aria, “E lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s, Tosca. From the first note Piero pierces your soul! His passion comes through in his music. Arias are very dramatic and Piero brings all the drama of the aria into his performance. Always a showstopper!
Now let’s put the voices together.
Gianluca starts most songs because he is a baritone and most songs are written for baritones. As I mentioned he draws you into the song. Gianluca will sing (in most cases) to Ignazio and Ignazio to Piero. This is how the three voices become one. Select one of their songs. Now close your eyes and listen to them sing. What can you say about this song? You can say, that is Gianluca or Ignazio or Piero singing. In the progression of the song, you hear the voices blend to form a symphony for your ears. Their voices are very distinct.
I use the word symphony for their voices because they are like a symphony orchestra. They blend. So, think about an orchestra. You have violins, flutes, cellos, piano, any number of instruments. But what makes it an orchestra in particular a symphony orchestra? It’s how it all comes together. If you just had violins or flutes or any one instrument regardless of how many there are, they wouldn’t work alone. They need to come together for the orchestra to perform the symphony.
They are a symphony because their voices blend together just as the instruments in an orchestra blend together to form a symphony!
Most groups sing and you hear just a song but with Il Volo you are surrounded by voices. And the individuality of their voices entices you and it stays with you.
Think of what Piero says when he introduces one of the solos, “After we were together a while, we realized we had three different voices.” He wasn’t saying that they suddenly found out they had different voices, he was saying we are three voices and one soul but we need to show you those voices individually.
Add to this what Ignazio had to say about recording a song, “….a take is the recording of the single phrase that each of us sings when we record a song. We continue to redo it until we get the best version.”
So, in fact, those takes are specifically for each voice ~ Baritone, Tenor, Spinto Tenor.
And so, we come full circle with the voices, how they are put together and how they are recorded.
We leave you with thoughts of the Reviews, the Comments, the AMAZING Voices!
In closing, I would like to wish Piero a very Happy Birthday!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.