Verdi Club marks 200th anniversary of birth of namesake


Gala Evening of Music1By Ron Giofu


Giuseppe Verdi is well remembered by the club named in his honour in Amherstburg.

The Verdi Club held its “Gala Evening of Music” Friday night with 325 people in attendance to enjoy a gourmet dinner and a performance of “La traviata” by the Friends of the Opera of Michigan. The gala marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Italian composer.

Verdi Club president Aurelio Tontodonati said the evening may have been one of the more important nights in the 55-year history of the Verdi Club.

“If it’s not one of the biggest, it’s close to it,” said Tontodonati. “It’s a big cultural event for the club.”

Tontodonati added the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth is a big event across the globe.

“This is recognized all over the world,” he said.

Tontodonati added Verdi was a man “who did so much for the unity of Italy” and was “a truly great man for whom our club was named for in 1958.”

The gala featured a committee of 29 people with other volunteers helping since planning started roughly six months ago. Co-chairs Remo Mancini, Roseann Danese and Connie Simone were pleased with how the event turned out.

“Things are going well. People are enthusiastic,” said Simone, when interviewed during the gala.

Danese called the food “really exceptional” and both she and Simone had high praise for Joshua and Lauren Vitella, a brother and sister duo who played the violin.

Danese added she underestimated how important the anniversary of Verdi’ birth was worldwide, noting festivals and events are being held in Europe and across the world including New York City.

“It’s incredible how this great composer is being recognized throughout the world,” she said.

With the town formally adopting a “Via Verdi” district along the Texas Road area, those who helped originate the idea and have it developed were recognized. The gala was also a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and they received $1,750.

Mancini said the work of the volunteers was tremendous as they were a group that were up to the task and had a lot of good ambitions. He called the gala “a really auspicious occasion” and noted Pelee Island Winery prepared a special vintage for the occasion.

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