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Italian Cultural Night at Boston Children’s Museum

Article written and submitted by Maria Carmen Triola of the Italian Consulate in Boston.

The Boston Children’s Museum hosted its first Italian Culture Night on Friday, March 9, 2012.

Child wearing a mask at Italian Culture Night at Children's Museum.

It was a blast, thanks to the Consulate General of Italy, the Southern Italian Folk Ensamble Newpoli, a guitar player and entertainer, and a long list of volunteers from the C.A.S.I.T., PIB and COMITES who organized and helped out and to the people who came out to participate.

It was a beautiful, festive evening, with participants of all ages and backgrounds: 401 children and 258 adults. Everyone had the chance to enjoy a taste of Italian culture with the spectacular backdrop of Boston’s skyline at dusk.

The event’s purpose was to give all friends of Italy a special cultural event with music, art, dance and fun for the entire family.

During “Carnevale,” the weeks before the beginning of Lent, Italians throw parties and hold festivals to consume rich food and drinks before the forty days of sacrifices leading to Holy week and Easter. Masks give people a sense of joy and have been worn at these festivals since the 1100s. Children at the Museum had the opportunity to craft their own elaborate “Carnevale” face mask.

Mosaic-making at Italian Culture Night.

Mosaics, meanwhile, were made inside the Art Studio. Mosaics are colorful bits of tile arranged in elaborate patterns to create spectacular designs. They have been a piece of Italian culture since the Roman Empire. Today, mosaics can be found everywhere from the sides of temples and churches to park benches, flowerpots – even right there at the museum! Children made their own mosaics using a wide range of materials.

Another important part of the evening was made up of music, dance and tarantella lessons. “Tarantella” refers both to the most famous type of traditional Italian music and the frantic dancing that goes with it.

From left: Angela Rossi, Roberto Cassan, Fabio Pirozzolo, Stefano Salimbeni, Carmen Marsico

Professional Italian folk dancers and players Carmen Marsico, Angela Rossi, Roberto Cassan and Fabio Pirozzolo stirred and electrified the entire audience, with this fast paced, fun music, to the point of making many of the guests actively participate in the rhythm-keeping and, most of all, the dancing.

Guitar player Stefano Salimbeni led singalongs for the youngest children and their parents and also taught the students from the North End–based Pirandello Italian Language School to perform the Italian anthem and the evergreen songs “Volare” by Domenico Modugno and “Marina” by Gianni Morandi.

Learning traditional Italian music and dance.

It was time for children – as well as grownups – to celebrate “Carnevale,” even if a little delayed, to learn about masks from the twenty regions of Italy, and then make their own – with different fabrics, feathers and assorted decorations.

Everyone had a chance to see examples of traditional mosaics, (Ravenna, Pompei, Piazza Armerina in Sicily), and then give a shot at making their own artwork.

From left: Marina Lomoro, volunteer, Maria Carmen Triola, Teacher of Italian appointed by MAE Consulate General of Italy–Boston, and Mauro Puppin, Educational Director for the Consulate.

Finally, it was a chance to learn how to dance the basic steps of Pizzica (a style of tarantella from the Apulia region) and familiarize with traditional instruments such as “tamburello” (Italian traditional tambourine) and “fisarmonica” (accordion).

Time flew by in a kaleidoscope of music, art and dance. The evening ended with the Newpoli band, Stefano and all the volunteers joined in a spontaneous musical tribute to Lucio Dalla – one of the most famous and loved Italian singer-songwriters, who had very recently passed away.

The event has been sponsored by the Consulate General of Italy, C.A.S.I.T., PIB and Comites.

More pictures of the evening’s event:

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One comment

  1. Maria Carmen Triola

    Grazie a tutti !
    E’ stato un evento che ha coinvolto e divertito famiglie e bambini di tutte le età ,amici dell’Italia e amici da tutto il mondo ,in un nuovo melting pot dal sapore scoppiettante !
    Vi aspetto al prossimo evento …magari a Natale !