February 26, 2017

Music and Voices Concert Series at Most Precious Blood Church in NYC’s Historic Little Italy

John T. La Barbera and Nando Citarella with San Gennaro
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Since the closing of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy and the shortening of church hours (doors now close at 6pm), my visits to the Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood in NYC’s historic Little Italy has been considerably reduced. So when I had the opportunity to attend the church’s monthly “Music & Voices” concert series Thursday evening, I jumped at the opportunity. 
As always, our pal Bill Russo was a gracious host
Master of Ceremonies and organizer Bill Russo warmly welcomed guests and kicked off the festivities with a brief, but interesting, talk about the history of the church and neighborhood.  
(L-R) Michelle DellaFave, Aviva Jaye, Katherine Appello and Kim Kalesti
Multi talented Music Director Kim Kalesti was joined by vocalists Katherine Appello, Aviva Jaye and Michelle DellaFave. The ensemble sang “I’m just gonna to share my love with you" and "It wasn’t nobody's fault.”
Musician-singer-actor-folklorist-teacher Nando Citarella
As luck would have it, the incomparable Nando Citarella was visiting from Italy with his family and joined headliners John T. La Barbera and Jennifer Stigliani-Bowen onstage for the highly anticipated show. 
Internationally renowned guitar virtuoso John T. La Barbera
John and Jennifer began their set with a fantastic rendition of the ancient Greek “Seikilos Epitaph,” or “Song of Seikilos.” Dating from the first century, it is the oldest known complete musical composition.
Vocalist Jennifer Stigliani-Bowen also played the zither and castanets
The trio performed several traditional folk songs from southern Italy, including the lively “Tamapizzicà” and, my favorite, “A San Michè.”
Nando and John
The musicians’ passion and skill–combined with Most Precious Blood’s fine acoustics and intimacy–made for one magnificent show. I feel blessed to have been there. 
After the show, performers and organizers took a well-deserved bow
Afterward, musicians and guests mingled and enjoyed some lite fare in the rectory. Production costs were generously paid for by event sponsor Umberto's Clam House.
Singer-songwriter Allison Scola joins friends Nando, Bill, John and Jennifer
Also see:
• Most Precious Blood Church: An Appreciation