The Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee, Inc (IHCM), St. John’s University and Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall were proud to salute Leonardo Da Vinci last week in honor of Italian Heritage and Culture Month.
Every year, the committee chooses one particular person in Italian history to honor with an entire evening of signing, dancing and awards and of course, desserts, cocktails and the unveiling of the annual poster made for the honoree. The celebration of Da Vinci’s work as a true renaissance man was reason enough for the IHCM to honor him.
Before the festivity began, the Committee handed out severalCitations of Honor awards to numerous Queens’ residence for their contributions to their community and awards to two students that are members of Italian Culture and Honor Societies within St. John’s University.
The Committee celebrated Da Vinci with a musical tribute by inviting a group from the region of Campania, Italy named “Corali Polifoniche Citta di Erocolano e Somma Vesuviana.” Their music, complemented with choreography, soloist and a storyteller, brought light to the two-hour celebration, despite the language barrier caused by the Neapolitan dialect spoken by the group.
Hosted by Uff Joseph Sciame, St. John’s Vice President for Community Relations and an honorary chairperson of the IHCM Committee, was chosen out of the over 500-member group to hold the sight for the Committee’s thirtieth year celebration.
The IHCM Committee, which began in 1976 as a group of educators and Italian-Americans that were interested in sharing their culture, has grown vastly to what it has become today especially, since New York City resides more people with Italian descent than outside of Italy itself.
As it was ending, the audience became overzealous to socialize with their colleagues and friends that most began walking out during Domenico Cozzolina’s fifteen-minute speech closing the Corali’s performance with thanks.
Dr. Patrick Infantino, St. John’s University class of 1970 said,”although I barely understood what he said all evening, it was alovely musical performance.”
Whether you can or cannot understand Naples dialect or even Italian as a language, spending an evening celebrating Leonardo Da Vinci with the IHCM Committee was nothing short of interesting.