Today is Italy Day, I have just declared. My orchestra is performing an Italian salute this evening. If you were my father, you would pronounce it Eye-talian, or you would just settle for Dago. He never had much regard for the Eyetalians because of the war, and refused to allow pizza into his house. But he didn't mind spaghetti with Ragu and a nice loaf of Dago bread. I didn't know that Dago was an unkind word until I was ten or so. My mother likes to tell the story about how my sister and I went to the grocery store to pick up some pasta, sauce, and bread for dinner. I stood in the bread isle, held up a loaf of bread, and hollered to my sister who was yards away, "Hey, is this dago bread?" My sister grabbed me by the collar, ran home, and chided my parents for raising me so improperly.
Anyway, back to Italy Day. We're performing Fountains of Rome, which is a piece by Respighi written to honor four fountains in Rome. It's full of loud, obnoxious horn parts, which is always fun. We're also doing the Anvil Chorus, Figaro from the Barber of Seville, O Mio Bambino Caro (a real tear-jerker), and the Triumphal March from Aida. This last piece will feature a dozen or so high school trumpet players off to the side playing the big opening bit--Daughter #2 is one of them, so it's a bit of a family affair.
So, here's to big, loud, obnoxious horn parts, even if I am sitting in fourth and sandwiched between the chorus and the piano. Here's to the lovely, dramatic fountains of Rome. And here's to a nice piece of buttery, garlicky Dago bread.