October 29, 2008
St. John’s University was the site of the Annual New York
City Italian Heritage and Culture Month celebration in the Borough
of Queens last night. The Honorable Helen Marshall, Borough
President, presided at the event, which attracted over 400 guests
and friends of the Borough of Queens.
“Mrs. Marshall is an ambassador of good will for all cultures
and ethnic groups. We are fortunate to have her at the helm in our
Borough, especially in supporting Italian Heritage and Culture
Month,” said Joseph Sciame, event coordinator, current
President/Chair of the NYC-IHCC, NY. Inc., and Vice-President for
Community Relations at St. John’s.
The evening event included an awards proclamation ceremony at
which the Borough President recognized Queens’ citizens who are
active in Italian American activities. Those honored included: John
DiTusa, Antoinette Graci, Frank Gulluscio, Jerry Ianecce. Hon.
Joseph Lisa; and Brother Stephen LaMendola, CSC.
Featured speaker for the event was Consul General of Italy,
Minister Francesco Maria Talo, representing the Republic of Italy.
In addition, Cav. Lou Carnesecca, Chair of the Italian Cultural
Center and former Hall of Fame Basektball Coach at St. John’s,
welcomed the crowd to the University and extended his greetings.
Minister Talo announced that he is very impressed with the
Borough’s Italian American community and urged the study of Italian
and the importance of the Advanced Placement in Italian.
A night filled with entertainment was highlighted by a
performance from international singer Giada Valenti, in addition to
a piano recital by Anne Tedesco (Adjunct Professor of Music at St.
John’s). Soprano Caterina Curatolo of the Federation of I-A
Organizations of Queens sang the national anthem of Italy and St.
John’s senior Cristina Fernandez sang the America anthem.
The ceremonies were followed by a Venetian hour of buffet
delights, desserts and refreshments, compliments of the various
proprietors of bakeries and catering houses of the Borough of
Queens. Strolling musicians with guitars and mandolins completed
the festivities for the evening, as students of the St. John’s
Italian Cultural Society assisted with the details of serving all
friends and guests.
Other dignitaries that had a hand in the success of the event
included: Theresa Osborne of the Borough President’s Office; Jeff
Gottlieb of the Central Queens Historical Association; Jamaica
Estates residents Paul and Fina Agnello, Sister Catherine
Mezzacapo, CSJ; Community Board #9 members Mary Ann Carey and Marie
Turley; Angie Markham and Joseph DiPietro of the Federation of
Italian American Organizations of Queens County; Jack and Helen
Como of the NYC/IHCC; Frank Tisellano of the SJU Students’ Italian
Cultural Society; Vincenza Russo of the Italian American Women’s
Center; Carol Conslato of ConEdison.; Christopher Calcagni of EMS;
and Frank Riboni, formerly with STJ.
The event was underwritten through contributions of its host St.
John’s University. ConEdison and the Office of State Senator
Seraphin Maltese, as in the past, were the major sponsors for the
event. For further information regarding the Queens IHCM event at
St. John’s University, please contact (718) 990-5892.