By Laura Kreider, USAG Vicenza Public AffairsDecember 24, 2013
VICENZA, Italy - It may seem unusual to talk about Christmas during the summertime, but for Gigi Goldin, a member of the local theater group in nearby Bertesinella, it's been a constant subject of conversation since August.
Goldin, along with his theater friends and community residents had a wish: to bring the Soldiers' Theatre holiday musical production, "Celebrate Christmas," to their town venue, Teatro Cà Balbi, where they had hosted the show three years ago.
"People keep asking about hosting it again," said Goldin, who has been attending Soldiers' Theatre holiday shows over the years.
So starting last August, they worked to turn their idea into a project, and coordinated with USAG Vicenza and the Soldiers' Theatre crew to make it a reality.
A series of meetings between Soldiers' Theatre director Jerry Brees and audio technician Barry Robinson with Teatro Cà Balbi representatives laid the groundwork of technical details regarding the set and audio systems, and before long "Celebrate Christmas" was ready to travel a mile down the road for a performance Dec. 15.
This year's cast of 36 had a large number of Italian performers for its two-week run on Caserma Ederle, which may have contributed to the large size of the audience attending at Teatro Cà Balbi.
"Celebrate Christmas" has been skillfully performed by our friends of Caserma Ederle," said Goldin. "They put our audience in the magic of Christmas from the first notes."
"It has been very nice being invited to the theater," said Vicenza town council member Anna Maria Cordova. "Besides a good opportunity for an intercultural exchange, the event also offered a very pleasant way to celebrate together the holiday season."
USAG Vicenza Commander, Col. Robert Menist Jr., and Deputy Garrison Commander, Chuck Walls, attended the holiday performance as well.
"What a tremendous performance by some truly talented Vicenza singers. I am glad we could share the holiday spirit with the Italian community and look forward to their next performance," said Menist.
Cast member Luigi Dalla Vecchia, who has performed in at least 10 Soldiers' Theatre productions over the years, said the audience was very pleased by the show.
"It has been very pleasant to perform off post. I think the audience really enjoyed the different holiday show style, especially those Italians who do not know the installation or do not have the opportunity to be present for the performances at Soldiers' Theatre," he said.
The show's joyous holiday atmosphere carried over to a post-performance reception at a nearby café where, while appreciating a mix of American and Italian traditional holiday sweets, cast members, theater goers, their families and friends had the chance to exchange Christmas greetings.
"The cast and crew of 'Celebrate Christmas' were thrilled to share our holiday show with the local community. The experience of sharing Christmas music and traditions with new friends was so exciting and made our holiday season special," said Brees.
"This evening has been valuable, especially for its significance of togetherness. The heartfelt spirit got round a barrier that sometimes may be caused by a different language," Goldin said.
For Goldin and the theater lovers of Bertesinella, their Christmas wish came true.