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This month we rock with Charlie Gracie and Bobby Rydell, and catch up with fashionista Angel Milou in the studio


By Barbara Ann Zippi
Ciao Bella Living Italian Style

Anthony Brazunas

Anthony Brazunas

South Philadelphia rock and roll legends get a Ciao Bella shoutout. Charlie Gracie celebrates his 80th birthday surrounded by Philly’s music community at the Clef Club with an array of musical tributes including Dee Dee Sharp and Gracie himself. Graham Nash and Sir Paul McCartney send greetings from “across the pond,” giving credit admiring Gracie’s music and guitar skills since their youth.

Backed by Pete Spina’s City Rhythm Orchestra, almost 1,000 Bobby Rydell fans turned out at Neumann University’s Mirenda Center for Rockin’ with the Troops. Produced by Linda Mattia Holdin, executive director of Delaware County Historical Society, it was a USO-style show to honor all veterans and their service. Special honors went to Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly, Rosemont College Vice President Dennis Murphy and Neumann University’s John Walker. It’s always special when you get shoutouts from Sid Mark on his radio program, “Sunday with Sinatra,” and hearing him mention Pete Spina’s performance at the concert was special. Meeting Anthony Brazunas, a graduate of St. James in Chester, backstage after the concert, saying he’s a fan of Ciao Bella Living Italian Style, added to the excitement, admitting he’s Italian by marriage, and that counts! Rydell, drafted during Vietnam at the height of his career, served his time entertaining the troops in Vietnam in active combat zones.

Charlie Rutan, master musician and bagpipe expert on Scottish, French, Irish and especially Italian bagpipes called Zampogna, shared exciting news and talents in an upcoming episode with Michela Musolino. Musolino, a folk singer who specializes in the folk and roots music of Sicily, is active with NYC-based theater companies, performing on Broadway and in groups featuring her southern-Italian folk music and dance. She joins Rutan in the new group, I Vicini della Ruga, playing the music of Calabria and Sicily with heavy emphasis on Zampogna and frame drums. Growing up in America but with family roots in Sicily, once Michela started her journey as a performer, she was surprised and delighted to learn that her paternal grandmother played the frame drum and her great-grandmother was known for her drumming and dancing! As an artist-in-residence for three years at the Middlebury Italian Language School in Middlebury, she penned a perfor-  mance piece in which she narrated and sang Sicilian and southern Italian folk music to tell the history of the Briganti of southern Italy. Her destiny includes musical collaborations in Sicily, America and around the world.

Last month PA State Special Olympics, this month, Delaware County Senior Games continues to feature bocce in the lineup. If you’re interested in the competition at Rose Tree Park on June 13 at 10 a.m., visit DelcoSeniorGames.org or call (610) 891 4663.

Main Line Today Magazine, a sister publication, recently published an article on Today’s Risky Businesses and entrepreneur Chris Dima, founder and CEO of Walnut Street Labs in West Chester. Criteria: looking at the world differently seeing opportunities where obstacles exist. Hosting an innovation lab providing co-working space and events, his new model, assisting innovators getting new ideas to market is Dima’s next combination of media and technology.

Jonathan Peri

Jonathan Peri

From the art of fashion and design to the art of cooking, Italian women of all ages joined us this spring taping season on “Ciao Bella.” When pop artist Perry Milou told us his mom was a fan, we invited her into the studio and in walked Angel Milou, a Liz Taylor celebrity lookalike entertainer and designer. Capturing the essence of Liz Taylor has kept her busy combining her love of design and fashion.

After “linkin’ in” with Rosalba Romano, I was fascinated by her fashion career with Jones New York by way of Caccamo, Sicily. The former director of the Wayne Arts Center came from Sicily in 1966 as a young pre-teen girl envisioning life from viewing the cartoon “The Jetsons.”

From a charming and picturesque town built on a mountain top, with beautiful views of the valley and famous for its majestic medieval castle, beautiful churches and unique artisan shops to Manhattan, Hong Kong and Milan in her life, her new fashion business is a family affair. She developed a fascination with silk fabric at an early age when on her eighth birthday she received her first silk scarf in shades of amber, gold and celestial blue. It’s among one of her most cherished possessions. 

Angel Milou

Angel Milou

Eliza, married for 55 years to Francesco Constantini, came to the United States as a young married couple from Italy. A true testament to “Italian Moms Spreading Their Art to Every Table,” the name of her new cookbook, she features foods from their roots in Abruzzo. Her son Frank and daughter Nadia have transformed her grief into a new life mission and we get the benefit of authentic recipes from the Abruzzo Region of Italy complete with recipes, pictures and her life’s love story with Francesco from Italy to L’America.

And, from my beginning days in the PR Industry, knowing Sylvia Kauders has been special. An actress and PR guru, Kauders, who played so many little old Italian ladies in movies, joined us in the studio and a week later passed away at 94. Her episode, her last interview, is now available on Radnor Studio’s YouTube Channel and with her career on the big screen, she will be forever in our hearts.

Congratulations to Italian American Jonathan Peri of West Chester on his Inauguration by the Board of Trustees as the ninth president of Manor College in Jenkintown. And, shoutouts to new Italian-American Herald subscribers Gladys Hash Felice, WW II WAVE, Monsignor John Marine of St. Bede’s and my amazing aunt, Grace Acciavatti, who continues to teach me Living Italian Style every day. Join these Italian Americans and subscribe to receive your copy at home or work.

Enjoy the Italian Festival season ahead with your families. Until next month, Ciao Bella!

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