Since 1905, the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) founded in New York City by Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro has played a key role in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of American of Italian descent.
Among the 55 lodges throughout California, Oregon and Nevada, called the Grand Lodge of California, the chapter for the Modesto Lodge has recently appointed its new President, David Cipponeri.
Established April 20th, 1952, the Modesto Lodge held its first meeting of the year last Thursday, February 19th. During this occasion President Cipponeri presented the first of a series of new educational lectures that will showcase the highest examples of Italian culture.
The members in attendance enjoyed an informative introduction and documentary screening about the exquisite tradition of Italian Majolica ceramic production, presented by Biordi Arts Imports' manager and filmmaker Igor Bertolucci.
L'Italo-Americano interviewed the new President David Cipponeri and past members of the Modesto Lodge.
As new President, what are your goals for this year to come?
As the new President of the Modesto Lodge, #2021, I am fortunate to be able to build on the work of our immediate Past President, Donna Ferreira, and all of our past officers and members. I enter this position with great enthusiasm, and have set several goals for my term.
The foremost of these goals is to increase the number of educational and cultural activities and to make these activities a part of our regular monthly meetings. I especially want to offer our young members the opportunity to take part in these events, as an avenue to learn about and enjoy our beautiful Italian heritage.
Specifically, I will be working with our Lodge Council to host presentations and events involving Italian art, food, music, dance, and film.
Why you decided to invite Biordi Art Imports for the first meeting?
Italian ceramic art is such a fine example of Italian tradition and heritage and a magnificent statement of fine Italian workmanship. I believe Italian ceramic art captures and displays the Italian faith, passion, love and romance: all that is foundational to being Italian. I am so very honored to have had Igor Bertolucci, Film producer and Manager of Biordi Arts of San Francisco, deliver the first educational program of my Presidency. That is the reason why I am so thrilled to have a representative of Biordi Arts Imports join us this month.
What is the role played by the Order Son Of Italy, Modesto chapter, within the Italian-American Community?
(Vera Girolami, OSIA National 4th Vice President)
We are member of the Chamber of Commerce and are very involved in many community events, international festival, 4th of July parade, Columbus Day events, and our annual Black tie Benefit. Over the past 21 years we have given over $300,000 back to our community: we provided 2 defibrillators for our fire department, helped to renovate our State Theatre, gave to Hospice, The Yes Company Theatre Youth Group, the Gallo Arts Center, St Stanislaus Building Fund, Parent Resource Center, The YMCA and Casa. we honor an Italian business at our Black Tie and choose a charity who receives 50% of or profit that evening.
We donate to many other charities, Alzheimer's Association, Coolies Anemia, Cancer Society.
We belong to our parent organization, the National order Sons of Italy in America.
We have a very active youth group, in fact, one of them, Zeno Turchetti formed an Italian youth club at Enoch's High School.
Our Modesto Lodge boasts three Past State Presidents. Joseph Simile, Augustus Accurso and I was the first woman State President in the history of our Grand Lodge of California (my term was during OSIA's 100 year anniversary). I am also very involved in the National Sons of Italy. I now serve as the National 4th Vice President.
How do new generations continue the tradition of old Italian immigrants?
(Donna Ferreira, Immediate Past President, Modesto lodge)
The Enoch High school Italian club was started by Zeno Turchetti a junior member of the Modesto Lodge. With the assistance of Zeno's mother, Antonella, the Enoch HS Italian club created a traditional Italian menu. The children of the Italian club, along with their parents cooked and served the traditional menu in courses to the Modesto Lodge members, passing on the traditions of the Italian table.
Also, Dante and Gianna Cipponeri, junior members of the Modesto Lodge and two children of our Modesto Lodge President, David Cipponeri, started an Italian Club at Modesto High School.
We encourage members to visit the schools and share our Italian Heritage and traditions. For the past three years, I have visited my grandchildren's classrooms and made home made pasta with the children. The children roll out the pasta dough into sheets then take turns cranking the pasta machine to cut the pasta. I also bring a batch of cooked pasta for the children to eat so they can taste the final product. We have now introduced the tradition of pasta making to a new generation.
Will the Order Sons of Italy of Modesto establish collaboration with the other chapters in North California?
(Carolyn Lawrence-Murphy, State President, OSIA Grand Lodge of California)
Being a fraternal organization, the Grand Lodge of California operates as a family unit with the Grand Lodge and each filial lodge supporting and helping each other state-wide and locally.
Our Italian Language and Rich Culture is very important to our members. Many of our lodges donate to local schools to assist in their Italian studies programs.
They take part in local parades, have festas, join the local chambers of commerce, have guest speakers and reach out to help those in need. Several lodges hold events together to lighten the load. It is a well known fact that Italians have big hearts and that family is of utmost importance to them.