Sunday June 12, UCEMI Toronto presented a wonderful concert in honour of Blessed John Paul II’s beatification. There were well over five hundred people who attended this special musical tribute at St. Peter’s Church in Woodbridge.
Fr. Thomas Rosica from Salt and Television, hosted the event, and shared some of his private experiences with John Paul II during World Youth Day In Toronto. One of them was the fact that when John Paul II came to Toronto, special preparations had been made for him to embark and disembark from the plane, but he insisted on walking every step on his own.
The special guest, for the occasion, was Michiko Hayashi who came from Italy and is an opera singer with La Fenice Theatre in Venice. She sang selections from her latest CD called. “Sognando Lui”, (Dreaming of him). Giovannina Menin wrote the music and the lyrics as a tribute to John Paul II. In her words, John Paul II was a great Pope and “a man who knew how to share the light of his faith to warm the spirits of people.”
The afternoon began with George Marcello from Step by Step, the Organ Transplant Association. He entered the church with a torch blessed by John Paul II to bring an awareness of the need for organ and tissues donation.
In his introductory remarks, Giovanni Riccitelli, President of UCEMI Toronto, welcomed everyone to the concert to celebrate the beatification of John Paul II, a man of profound faith who inspired millions of people. He also noted that the event was part of Italian Heritage Month, the first such celebration in Ontario.
The concert began with touching performances from soprano Michiko Hayashi. She sang, “Sognando Lui”, “Solo Gocce” and “Parlando Con Te” (Dreaming of Him, Only Drops and Talking to You). There were two touching songs by two young singers. Alesandra Trimmeliti who sang, “Shout to the Lord” and Michael Nasato who sang , “Agnus Dei”. There were a number of selections sung by the Coro San Marco directed by Daniele Colla. Also, Bruno Trimmeliti, who is a member of the Coro San Marco joined Alesandra as they sang a stirring father-daughter duet of “The Lord’s prayer.”
Giampietro Posocco accompanied by the choir and soprano Hayashi played the trumpet to his own composition of Ave Maria”. The pianist for the event was Deyi Ye who was born in Shanghai, China. The final song was “Va Pensiero” by Giuseppe Verdi from the opera Nabucco. This is a well-known composition among Italians and is derived from Psalm 137. Most Italians consider it their second national anthem. In English, it is known as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.
From the concluding ovation, it was obvious to everyone there that the event was a total success. It was the perfect way to remember and celebrate the Great and Blessed John Paul II. Musically, even if only for a few moments, we know that those present were truly able to soar to heavenly heights.Also: link to an article in Italian at ITALIANI.CA