by Mary Shimandle
On December 3, 2011, 300 people gathered for an exquisite Italian buffet provided by Piccolo Sogno Restaurant and enjoyed the sonic splendor of an old-fashioned Christmas concert, resonating throughout the acoustical jewel that is the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii Church on the West Side of Chicago.
Welcomed back for the 11th annual Mary and Christmas was the incomparable William Ferris Chorale, under the direction of Maestro Paul French, in a program of familiar and glorious Christmas favorites.
Family and friends delighted in an event of music that celebrated the Italian cultural heritage (Choruses from Gian Carlo Menotti’s timeless opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and two beloved themes of Ennio Morricone: the touching “Nella Fantasia” and his incomparable “Cinema Paradiso”); our patroness, Mary the Mother of Our Lord (“Salve Regina” of Antonio Vivaldi); choral and instrumental holiday classics (“White Christmas”, “Grown Up Christmas List”, the rousing “Gloucestershire Wassail”, the “Hallelujah Chorus”); and so much more.
Joining the Chorale was soprano Carol Lo Verde, baritones Anthony Rago and the Rev. Richard N. Fragomeni, rector of The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, and an instrumental ensemble of strings, trumpet, keyboards and percussion. Closing the evening was a festive champagne and dessert reception.
The evening promised and delivered an excellent meal and an exuberant, thrilling program of music making.
For more information, visit www.ourladyofpompeii.org or “Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine” on Facebook.