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On January 20, 2015, at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, over 200 members of the Italian Community, families and organizations joined together to greet the new Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles Antonio Verde, as he begins his four year term of service to the community.
This was his first visit to Orange County and to the Bowers Museum, which is a premiere world class cultural and education facility for Southern California.
The Gala Reception was organized by Commendatore Frank DeSantis, president of the Italian Cultural Arts Council, volunteers of the local Italian American organizations as well as local businesses, who participated by enthusiastically donating all the food, beverages and décor to provide an impressive welcome for Consul General Antonio Verde.
“Orange County is home of an Italian community strongly tied to its traditions and roots. At the same time, this group is trying to include the young generations in its inheritance, and this represents its most important strength. Programs like the Programma AP are a crucial factor in this scenario, and we shouldn’t forget the role of Expo Milan 2015 in promoting the image of Italy worldwide,” said Consul General.
Most spectacular was the opening ceremony of a parade of Italian Regional flags, conducted by Vicky Carabini, with accompanying music by our famous Sicilian Band Leader Antonio Ciaramitaro, and the attendees clapped for their favorite region as it was announced.
“Our local community has been supportive and enthusiastic about coming here to meet the newest representative of the Italian government, which indicates a deep pride of our common heritage,” Frank DeSantis said in his welcoming comments, while attendees dined on a sumptuous Italian buffet spread.
On hand to greet and welcome Consul Verde was Peter Keller, President of the Bowers Museum and Anne Shih, Chair of the Board of Directors for the museum. In addition were members of the Italian Cultural Arts Council, which was formed in 1992 upon affiliation with the Orange County American Italian Renaissance Foundation.
Frank DeSantis extended acknowledgements to the many other Italian community organizations and leaders in attendance, including members of the Renaissance Lodge #2259 Order Sons of Italy in America; the Orange County Lawyers Association, The Anaheim OSIA Lodge, The San Juan Capistrano Sister Cities Ambassador Vicky Carabini. Also participating were members of the Orange County Italian Meet Up Group; Nadia Pettinger of Fondazione Italia and L'Italo Americano staff writer Nicola Busca.
Distinguished guests recognized were Sebastian Paul Musco, President, Gemini Industries; Vince Ferragamo, former Rams Football Great; Villa Park Mayor Diana Fascinelli; Commendatore Joseph La Banca, Past State President Grand Lodge (California) Order Sons of Italy; Chapman University Dean Charlene Baldwin; Professor Federico Pacchione, Head of Italian Studies at Chapman University, Cavaliere David Prisco, President, Renaissance Lodge OSIA, Joseph Ferrucci, Esq. and Joseph D'Antony, Esq of the Orange County Italian Lawyers.
A special guest also newly arrived to Los Angeles was Valeria Rumori, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute. She was warmly welcomed along with the Consul General, and remarked how our community and cultural Center may participate in future programs.
The food and beverage were generously donated by 17 local sponsors: Anaheim White House; Antonello Ristorante; Cerenzia Foods; Citrus City Grille; Claros Italian Markets; D'Aquino Imports; Francoli Gourmet Italian, IL Fornaio; Ingardia Brothers Produce; Heritage Foods; Italian Magic Olives and Gourmet Foods, LA Italian Kitchen; Mastroianni Enterprises Jay's Catering; Tutto Fresco, Roma D'Italia, Zov's and Joseph Ferrucci.
We owe thanks to our committee members, who assisted at the event to make it so successful: David Prisco, Kathy DeSantis, Chris DeSantis, Frank DeSantis Jr., Steven Tomeo, Michele Lowinger, John Russo, MaryJane Cambria, Mario Guardi, Angel Bernardo, Vicky Carabini, Tony Coco, Joseph Ferrucci, Guy Floridia and Pat Dito.
The Bowers Museum has become the Orange County Italian Cultural Center, which was established in 1992 by the Renaissance Foundation in conjunction with the remodeling of the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.
For more information about joining the Italian Cultural Arts Council and the Orange County American Italian Renaissance Foundation, please call Frank DeSantis at (714) 550-9155.