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Checking in this month with Lou Capp of Ray’s Birthday Bar, City Rhythm Orchestra, and Frank Giordano of Philly POPs


The City Rhythm Orchestra visits Capri in 2015.

Barbara Ann Zippi

Sharing news on Italian Americans locally and around the world kicks off this month with cheers to Villanova NCAA 2016 Basketball Champions who brought national and international attention to coach Jay Wright’s success and in doing so, two local Italian Americans played prominently in the news. It was great to see Wright include 1985 Championship Coach Rollie Massimino. Ryan Arcidiacono was awarded the Most Outstanding Player award for his assist on the game-winning basket to Kris Jenkins as time expired.

On the local scene, how exciting to meet Passyunk Avenue legend Lou Capp, owner of Ray’s Birthday Bar, when he visited the set of “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” for an interview.

Opening in 1938, Anthony “Ray” Capozzoli, opened the “saloon” and dedicated his life to greeting everyone who stepped though the door with “Happy Birthday!” Son Lou now carries on the tradition over 75 years later. Still living on site and receiving local and international acclaim as a “dive bar,” Lou first thought it was a “putdown.” Not anymore! With a segment produced for “Anthony Bourdain’s Layover,” a Philadelphia Magazine story praising “dive bars” and Capp’s occasional appearances playing saxophone with Lou’s Rage Band, Ray’s Birthday Bar should be a stop on your list. And, be on the lookout for his testimonial promotional TV spot for Temple Lung Center. A COPD survivor, he thanks them for keeping him enjoying life.

From Norristown to South Philly and now Bucks County, Rev. Monsignor John C. Marine of St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Holland, Pa., since 2005, the parish founded in 1965 by Cardinal John Krol to serve the Catholics in Northampton Township and beyond, now includes a parish of almost 3,200 households and 11,000 registered parishioners. With Ciao Bella being blessed to share Padre Pio stories with the Calandras of The National Center for Padre Pio and miracle blessed, Paul Walsh and Frank Tenaglia, we’re proud to help the monsignor promote their first-ever Padre Pio Festival on June 25-26 on the grounds of St. Bede the Venerable.

Interviews with Pete Spina and Steve Ritrovato of City Rhythm Orchestra take us all around the world as they follow their passion and love of music all around Italy. This fall they are touring and performing in Calabria, Siracusa and Palermo. According to our production associate Rae Grossi’s personal experience, both solo and couple travelers are treated as la famiglia. Check them out at www.cityrhythm.com.

Look out, America. Springtime weather and “practice makes perfect’’ go together with bocce. Did you know bocce is now the most popular game in the world after soccer? Local courts at Penn Oaks Golf Club and traditional courts in view of the Boardwalk in Wildwood have been around, and Delaware County Bocce teams from Marple, Newtown and Upper Darby now star at Pennsylvania Special Olympics. Looks like bocce is here to stay. Let’s watch it grow together. Send us your bocce stories or pictures of your bocce league.

Bravo to the folks at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Eddystone, Pa. Despite all the restructuring going on today, this church is living Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy and reaching out. Posting a weekly ad in the Delaware County Daily Times, not for donations, but to let you know you can watch live Mass on your TV, computer, IPad and IPhone. What a progressive and creative way to spread God’s message of love and salvation to everyone in today’s face-paced, time-strapped world.

Cheers to Philadelphia Inquirer and philly.com staff writer Diane Mastrull for highlighting the Rostelli family’s 40-year business saga. “What began as a butcher shop in Deptford in 1976, founded by an 18-year-old who needed to quickly find a means to support his wife and a child on the way, is now an international conglomerate of 825 employees and more than $500 million in annual revenue.” Started by the New Jersey brothers, who reaching adulthood without ever having been on an airplane, their business has conquered an international market. Keeping family values and grooming their leadership, the Rostellis are now in a global expansion adding new footprints in the Middle East and Asia.

From the trucking business to show business, Frank Giordano of Atlantic Trailer Leasing Corp., a transportation and storage equipment company that has been in the Giordano family since 1949, is now president and CEO of The Philly POPS. With the family business in good hands under the leadership of his son, Giordano has applied his business acumen to the Philly Pops and is intimately involved in its being one of America’s foremost popular music orchestras.

Frank Giordano and his (future) wife Dottie on their first date.

Frank Giordano and his (future) wife Dottie on their first date.

With roots in Abruzzo and Sicily, his career took hold through the family business before he graduated from high school and married Dottie, the only woman he ever dated. Their first date: the impressive Latin Casino to see the Supremes.

Frank Giordano shows his ceremonial robes.

Frank Giordano shows his ceremonial robes.

With numerous awards, chairmanships and memberships, it’s Giordano’s interest in his Italian American heritage and culture he is embracing and preserving for the next generation. He shares his interests and honors as he stops by the set of “Ciao Bella” for a two-part special on his many involvements which include his groundbreaking election as the second Italian American president of the Union League founded in 1862. Frank also is chairman of Il Convivio Inc., the Italian Language Initiative and a member of the Philadelphia Business Council for the Consulate General of Italy. Frank received the prestigious Order of the Merit of the Italian Republic by the Ambassador of Italy.

Until next month with more news on Italians and Italian Americans both locally and around the world, Ciao Bella!

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