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Department of Romance Languages and Literatures to host concert

| Friday, April 13, 2018

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures will host an Italian language concert titled “Rebelli e Rivoluzionari” Friday at 7 p.m. in Leighton Concert Hall. Tickets for the concert are free and may be reserved at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) box office or on the DPAC website.

Italian language professor Lesley Marcantonio, who produced the concert, said it began out of a meeting she had two years ago with her colleague, Italian language professor Alessia Blad.

“It started almost as a joke or a challenge — ‘What if we put on a concert of Italian music?’” Marcantonio said.

The event aims to provide an authentic Italian concert experience for its audience members, Marcantonio said.

“The point of the concert is that it’s very Italian,” she said. “Italians don’t go to concerts to listen; they go to sing. They want to sing and be moved by music as much as the singer themselves. So the idea of the concert is that people come, and they sing along.”

While the first concert was coordinated primarily by Marcantonio and Blad, Blad said since last year it has been a joint effort between the Italian Studies department and Italian language students in the intermediate course titled “Exploring Italian Culture,” which the professors and students refer to as “Language and Lyrics.”

All students in the class are required to help with the concert as part of their coursework and “take care of every aspect of the concert,” Blad said.

Sophomore Dion Thompson-Davoli, a student in Exploring Italian Culture, said he and his classmates took on a number of responsibilities to help coordinate the event.

“The class does everything from designing promotional materials, the lighting, the staging, the PowerPoints, the order of the show,” he said. “Everyone in the class has done something.”

Marcantonio said this year’s concert will focus specifically on artists whose work pioneered social change in Italy.

“The theme is ‘Rebels and Revolutionaries,’ so we wanted to focus on music as the art of freedom,” she said.

She added that the selected songs span broad ranges of both genre and time period.

“We have comic songs, we have children’s music — including a group of second graders that’s going to join us on stage — and love songs,” she said.

Several Notre Dame faculty members and two Italian language students will be performing in the concert, Blad said.

“They’re members of the academic community, but they’re also musicians,” she said. “You’d think these people are professionals.”

In addition to being an opportunity to experience culture, sophomore Madelyn Steurer, another student in the class, said she encourages members of the Notre Dame community to attend the concert for its talented musicians.

“Come see your professors perform like you’ve never seen them in the classroom,” she said. “This is their opportunity to perform and show their love for music.”

Sophomore Veronica Perez, a student who will be singing in the concert, said she hopes the audience gains a special appreciation for the songs and the artists who wrote them.

“There’s a lot of history in some of the songs we’re performing,” she said.

A short introduction, Perez said, will proceed each performance to provide historical context for the song as well as discuss its influence on Italian society.

The concert is part of the larger Romance Languages Week, Marcantonio said, which celebrates French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish languages and cultures.

She said the week was created after the initial success of the Italian concert.

“Last year we thought, ‘What if we just expand it?’” Marcantonio said.

The week began Sunday with an opening ceremony at the Grotto held in each of the four languages, Blad said.

She said other festivities included a trivia night, French aerobics class and a movie screened in each language.

“We close on Saturday with a huge soccer tournament where all the four languages play against each other,” Blad said.

The goal of the week, Blad said, is to foster appreciation for Romance languages in the Notre Dame community.

“Our aim is to expose students to other cultures and other languages,” she said. “We have amazing cultures in our departments, and we want to share them with our students.”

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