December 2009
Christmas Tour/ Christmas Special
4 reports
Who’s Comin’?! . . . Andrea’s Christmas
December 5, 2009, East Rutherford, NJ, USA
Rain, sleet, snow—the instant winter wonderland that descended on northern New Jersey in the hours just before Andrea’s Christmas concert was to begin may have been just right for the shiny bright sleigh of a right-jolly-old-elf and his eight tiny reindeer, but for those of us in our less magical vehicles, it hopelessly snarled the traffic and forced the delay of the concert by half an hour. Even at that, many were still trailing in during the concert’s first half. Nevertheless, it took no more than a few notes of the radiant warmth of our tenore’s voice to thaw our hearts and rekindle our dampened holiday spirits.
Arias We Have Heard on High
One by one, during the first half of the evening, Andrea carefully unwrapped for us gift after precious gift of an irresistible range of arias from his performances, recordings, and his own personal favorites. Each was reinforced with vivid images, projected on the screen behind him, of corresponding operatic scenes. These were lovingly selected and coordinated by Veronica’s father, Ivano Berti, from Andrea’s own stage performances as well as vintage excerpts from filmed opera performances of such luminaries as Mario del Monaco, Mario Filppeschi, and Andrea’s beloved maestro Franco Corelli.
Carmen was the first focus. After Steven Mercurio’s characteristically energetic conducting of the spirited Overture, Andrea took the stage and welcomed us with “La fleur che tu m’avais jette’.” Note by ever-sweeter note, he drew us in to the drama of this aria, until the aching yearning of that final plea, “O ma Carmen…,” flowed from his heart with melting pathos. Simultaneously, on the screen behind him, was the image of Andrea as Don Jose’ down on one knee in surrendered love at the feet of his amour. It was stirringly effective. With “La donna e’ mobile,” the character shifted. A rustle of recognition from the audience greeted the opening notes of this surefire favorite, each note of it delivered with clarion certainty by Andrea, confidently punctuated and delightfully trilled. He makes it all seem so effortless, and his audience clearly loves his cavalier presentation.
Then “Panis Angelicus” (a change from the set program) shifted the mood. Andrea unfailingly infuses this familiar hymn, heard frequently from him, with honest emotion and faith. Somehow his own deep belief in it gives him the ability to make each hearing seem like the first. He followed this with the fragile simplicity of Gounod’s “Ave Maria,” a reverent reminder from Andrea of the young girl whose story is inextricably intertwined with that first Christmas two millennia ago. Next he gave us the urgent and compelling “Di quella pira.” Andrea could sing this aria a thousand times and never lose the hold on us he creates with that final riveting high C that evokes, inevitably, a flood of appreciative applause.
Ana Maria Martinez joined Andrea for two wonderful duets. It is impossible to tire of “O soave fanciulla” from La Boheme. For my money, Ana Maria has consistently been the most winning and convincing Mimi to Andrea’s alter ego, Rodolfo. Surely this musical moment is among the most romantic in all of operadom. How much more enchanting, then, to have these two superlative partners, and not only one Andrea to interpret the role, but two. On the backdrop screen, shadowing the real-life aging-to-perfection tenore before us on the stage was video of the newly minted Rodolfo of the very first starring performance that launched Andrea’s operatic career. It was a veritable wealth of Bocellis that made us giddy, as did the astonishing sweetness and ultimate power achieved by the the climactic harmonized high notes of this superlative performance.
Then, following an emotionally moving choral rendition of  the touchingly lovely “Va pensiero,” the two returned to the stage for the forceful duet “Vicino a te” from Andrea Chenier. The duet’s forceful high notes, thrilling and intense, convey the unshakable love of Chenier and Maddalena. The effect was reinforced by the backdrop of film scenes (with Corelli) from the final trial and the streets of revolutionary France interspersed with compelling close-ups of Andrea’s and Ana’s tender embrace in the triumphant musical expression of the lovers’ defiance in the face of their imminent death. This duet is a tour de force that leaves you emotionally limp when the last note fades. Ana Maria and Andrea abandoned themselves completely to its thrall. And so did we.
Since their first tour together in 1998, Ana Maria has always been my favorite partner to Andrea. She has increasingly become an operatic force to be reckoned with, but her natural abilities were always clearly there. I love the vocabulary used to describe her voice in critical quotes from Hugh Canning and Marian Lignana Rosenberg in the program: “vocally lustrous,” “velvety mezzoish half-tints,” “gleaming top,” “smoky,” “soft-grained,” “unfussy grace,” “ravishing soft singing.” All true, and all these qualities were liberally demonstrated in her fiery solo “Les filles de Cadiz.”
Sharing this concert (their first Bocelli experience) with my niece and her husband was a revelation. Andrea was in a note-holding mood, and his sustained high notes were effortless and powerful. From aria to aria, I could watch the effect of his peerless voice transform their faces, hear their enthusiastic applause growing with each aria offered. When the infectious effervescence of the “Brindisi” from La Traviata had concluded this first “classical” part of the concert, Rich turned to me and said simply and emphatically, “I could listen to a lot more of that!!” Judging by the frequent and fervent hoots, whistles, and shouts that punctuated these classical pieces, so could most of the others in attendance—even that guy with the black T-shirt with the skull and crossbones whom I had seen wander in happily with the first wave of fans. So much for the theory that people supposedly just tolerate the wait through the classical segment for the “real,” more pop-oriented second half.
You Better Watch Out!
A concert such as this is a delicate and challenging blend of two musical worlds and traditions. The leap from the powerful operatic drama of “Di quella pira” and “Vicino a te” to a song like “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” popularized by such a diverse group of performers as Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Fred Astaire, Dolly Parton, The Smothers Brothers, Neil Diamond, Vince Gil, and Bruce Springsteen might seem like an enormous vocal chasm to bridge. But as the supremely confident Miss Piggy had pronounced about her Andrea with unflinching, no-nonsense Muppet wisdom: “He can do ANYTHING!” We knew that.
Of course, Christmas has many manifestations, from jubilant jingling bells, to choruses of angel choirs, to children’s ringing laughter and glee, to longing for times past and loved ones lost, to prayerful reverence. With David Foster’s sprightly accompaniment, both musical and verbal, Andrea shared them all with us, making each traditional carol vocally his own, despite the long history of famous and well-loved singers who have recorded them in Christmases past. All those others were forgotten in each intimate moment with his personal and distinctive presentation.
First, Steven set the festive tone with Rimsky-Korsakov’s entrancing Finale from the Snow Maiden’s Suite. Then Andrea, elegantly clad in formal winter white, sat quietly down at the matching white piano and—true to his deeply rooted faith—sang Schubert’s ardent Ave Maria in Italian—his small gift of purest beauty to bless a weary world. Perhaps there is nothing quieter than the sound of “Silent Night,” unless it is the profound peace communicated by the inherent ease and tranquility of Andrea’s voice when he sings it. His reassuring simplicity and warmth are a natural match for the essence of Christmas distilled in this timeless carol we heard next.
When Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” in 1940, I wonder if he could have imagined how many voices it would inspire or how many languages it would be shared in. Somewhere out there, I hope he can hear Andrea’s version, in both English and Italian. Our tenore has a way of just embracing you completely with his voice, heart and soul … his spell was clearly cast at the Izod Center, with extra help from the dreamy landscape of twinkling stars and wintry scenes forming the visual backdrop that added a new dimension to this carol.
By now, I’m thinking that half the population of the world has been smitten by Andrea’s  endearing rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” accompanied by the small chorus of infectiously adorable little poppets. (In the course of one day, Jack, who is on the road for a business trip, has reported hearing it at Starbucks, Radio Shack, Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and on two radio stations in Fort Worth, Texas!) Andrea and the kids are having the time of their lives, and the whole darned audience wants to sway in time with them. It’s just plain darling. I only wish he had been able to manage his melodica solo as he did in the PBS special. But I guess you can’t have everything. I had to remind myself of the privilege it was just to be sitting where I was.
Duets were again a theme at this point, and Katherine McPhee had the daunting assignment of taking the place of two luminaries who had recorded on the My Christmas CD, Natalie Cole and Reba McEntire. Thankfully, she did not have to replace the Muppets or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and she did just fine. The audience seemed to appreciate her new blonde look and country sound, and Andrea was quite comfortable with the partnership on both “The Christmas Song” and “Blue Christmas,” even doing a little dancing turn with Katherine that naturally delighted the crowd. (Andrea looked pretty pleased himself.)
It is fascinating to hear Andrea adjust the qualities of his voice with different partners, reflecting a bluesy mood or bit of country or even gospel flavor as the tune requires. For me, the highlight in this portion of the concert was the appearance of Mary J. Blige. A ripple of surprise was registered by some when her name was proudly announced by Foster, and she was enthusiastically greeted. There was an electric connection that was palpable in her collaboration with Andrea on “What Child Is This?” Both Andrea and Mary decidedly have their own brand of vocal power, both singers were emotionally charged, and together they conveyed this energy straight to the heart of the audience. It brought many in the house to their feet. 
Finally—sadly—we had come to the last two carols on the program. Presented back-to-back with hardly a pause, they brought the concert to a smashing close.  If you can’t recreate the entire heavenly host of angels singing gloriously on high, Andrea more than compensates for their absence! Honestly, with the final jubilant renditions ringing in my ears of “Angels We have Heard on High” and “Adeste Fideles” (accompanied by the New York Choral Society and rousing orchestral support of the New York City Opera Orchestra), I was thinking, “Who needs angels?” If you haven’t yet devoted careful attention to Andrea’s version of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” this is your homework. It blows me away how he carefully and lovingly highlights every individual note of that exultantly repeated chorus with the word “Gloria” and then, as an added flourish, tosses off a spectacular portamento of notes to the highest one on that last syllable of “Deo.” To me, it is a Christmas miracle!! And he does it more than once. He is so clearly in his element with this sacred music, joyous and triumphant in the giving. “Adeste Fideles,” in Andrea’s impeccable Latin, marked the grand denouement and brought the audience to a decisive standing ovation.
All performers returned for well-earned final bows, and, as sure as there is a Santa Claus, we knew there would be encores! First, there was a lovely version of “The Prayer” with McPhee. When the audience recognized the familiar notes, they once more roared approval. Of course, “The Prayer” is a precious legacy to us from David Foster. When they had finished, no one wanted to say good-bye, and the stomping, shouting, and whistling summoned Andrea back for the second encore—this one with Ana Maria. If possible, the crowd redoubled the volume of appreciation when the last familiar notes of “Con te partiro” floated out over them. It was deafening. Yet, Andrea seemed drained and waved that familiar and decisive not-to-be-contradicted good-bye high over his head as he departed with Ana Maria from the stage. Steven followed. That’s it, I thought. Two encores. But the orchestra remained seated. There was an indecisive half-second lull, then, incredibly, Steven returned triumphant with a rather reluctant Andrea in tow. I could hardly believe that the unmistakably distinctive opening notes of “Nessun Dorma” signaled one last encore. Having seen a somewhat weary Andrea just leave the stage, I thought it might be hard for him to summon himself to the final challenge of this daunting aria. But, however much it cost our tenor, he made it look, to us, unbelievably and gloriously effortless. When he had flung out to us that last exultant “Vincero,” deeply grateful, we finally let him go. 
Silent Night
We walked out into a bracing North Pole chill. The velvet black sky, surprisingly clear of the earlier storm, was ornamented with twinkling stars reflecting the lingering afterglow of Andrea’s Christmas that danced in our memory. It was hard to avoid that slight feeling of letdown, like the moment on Christmas morning when all of the presents have been opened and that weeks-long state of intense anticipation is suddenly over. Nevertheless, we knew we now had the new tradition of Andrea’s Christmas to open all over again from year to year to help make all our Christmases a joyful, snowy white.
Buon Natale, Maestro caro.
By Cami McNamee


I have just returned from another absolutely breath taking performance.... 

My fourth time, still felt like the first.

There is a feeling that exists only in the experience of being in his presence. It is the feeling of seeing him with my plain eyes and not through a television screen. It's hearing him and knowing that his voice is not coming from a stereo but flowing directly from him to me. It is a feeling that I cannot experience anywhere else. Although I am only 20 years old I have experienced a lifetime and no where in the world have I found the feeling that he gives me. In a time when this world is so desperately in need of something beautiful, in him, I believe we have found it.

As even David Foster pointed out, the weather is quite bad this evening. Funny actually, because tonight was the first snow of the season which is quite late for this part of the country. The last month has been unseasonably warm including yesterday even. Yet tonight, when Andrea came to perform, even nature came out to greet him by putting on the most beautiful show it can, the winter's first snow. And even the wind, slush, snow, and horrendous traffic couldn't keep us away. Luckily I didn't miss any of the performance but some unfortunate fans missed the entire first half of the show. Yet they still came. Knowing that they would have to brave the storm and that they may miss part of the show they still came because something in him draws us to him. There is a quality about him that I cannot describe and cannot ignore. It is what makes him the man that we all love and will do almost anything for.

I believe it goes unsaid that his performance was amazing. In his usual form, the first half of the show he sang songs from his classical repertoire and the second half from his newest album. And we were also lucky enough to see the fabled wardrobe change as he slipped out of his black tux into his all white outfit that we have all recently become so familiar with. One of my favorite moments was during Blue Christmas in which he shared a duet with Katharine Mcphee. About half way into the song during some instrumentals she snuck in a quick slow dance which brought out one of the most beautiful smiles I have over seen on his face. The chemistry between them was wonderful and brought a smile to everyones face. Unlike the veteran sopranos and superstars Andrea usually performs with, Mcphee is relatively new to the scene and she brought a real sense of newness and excitement that I think everyone enjoyed, especially Andrea. At the end of another performance he even grabbed her and picked her up for a hug! Another special moment was Andrea's performance of Ave Maria where he played the piano himself. It's incredible to see how much talent this man has inside him and how lucky we all are that he has decided to share it with us. 

Of course by the end of the night he had the crowd roaring and cheering. He finished the Christmas songs with Adeste Fidelis and we thought the night was done. But then he came back for an encore and left once more. After much cheering he came back again for his final song Con Te Partiro which he sang with soprano Ana Maria Martinez. And then he was gone. Or so we thought. We stayed cheering and whistling and clapping till our hands turned blue and he came out again. He waved and bowed and left the stage. But we stayed clapping. I clapped until I could no longer feel my hands, and my face ached from smiling. And then he came back. He sang Nessun Dorma and left us for the final time. And even now, as I sit here writing this, hours after I watched him leave the stage for the final time, I find myself left with a ridiculously huge smile on my face. And this is the feeling that I wrote about that I can find only in him and his music. If you share my sentiments you know the feeling I'm talking about. The overwhelming excitement and warmth that fills every part of your being. The feeling of total completeness and contentment.

For all of those who have this incredible experience ahead of them, I envy you. If you are anything like me, this will be a night that you will never forget and that will live vividly in your memory forever.

And to Andrea himself. I don't believe the words exist in English or Italian to say what I want to say to you. But I can say from the bottom of my heart that I love you. Thank you for everything
by Nicole, New Jersey

Andrea Bocelli ‘My Christmas Tour 2009’ by William E. White
Hello again from William E. White. The year 2009 was a very special year where I  attended many of Maestro Bocelli’s performances including the filming of  the ‘My Christmas’ DVD at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.  I know it is February 2010, but I still find myself thinking about the past year. The ‘My Christmas’ Kodak Theater event was only a few days after Maestro Bocelli’s show at Carnegie Hall in New York City. I already had plans to attend the Carnegie Hall performance when the email alert about the Kodak Theater event came thru. It was so close to the Carnegie Hall date that I almost missed it because of other commitments. But I kept thinking, “Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Kodak Theater. There is no way I will miss that”. So I put the ‘other commitments’ to the side and made arrangements to also go to the Kodak Theater. Life is too short to debate these things to much. These days, I find myself guided more and more by my heart in all my decisions rather than the less important background chatter of life. This decision turned out to be excellent. I would have to describe Maestro Bocelli’s performance at the Kodak Theater, as one of the highlights of my life. It was a combination of Christmas music ranging from fun classics to deeply spiritual songs all arranged and presented perfectly with choreography that captured the mood of every song. The millions of you who viewed the performance on Public Broadcasting or purchased the DVD will understand. Having said that, simply listening to the album is enough to realize that a master piece has been created which will be enjoyed by many future generations. The center of this master piece is Maestro Bocelli, with vocal capabilities that defy logic. At times, it feels like he is whispering to a child. Other times, the voice can be so powerful while remaining calm and soft. Andrea Bocelli, thru this album, transferred his Serenity and Humility to the audience at a very special time of the year. As if Andrea Bocelli was not enough, then add in some incredible artists like Natalie Cole, Reba McEntire, Mary J Blige, Katherine Jenkins, Delta Goodrem, Katharine Mcphee, Ana Maria Martinez, the Muppets, a superb symphony Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a great conductor like Steve Mercurio, with David Foster and true magic happens. The performance at the Kodak Theater was Hollywood at its best, followed by a ‘My Christmas’ tour that reached millions of hearts throughout the United States and the world. What an incredible Christmas gift from so much talent. I am just a simple fan out here, but would like to thank all of those involved in the creation of this album from the bottom of my heart. As Maestro Bocelli would say, “You know who you are”.
After the show at the Kodak Theater was over, I had a brief chance to thank David Foster for all of the creative energy that he brings to this world. Millions of people world wide have been touched in one way or another by his creativity thru the many artists he has discovered, the songs he has written along the way, and the productions he has organized. But when referring to Maestro Bocelli, at the Kodak Theater, David Foster would say that when he is in the presence of Andrea Bocelli, this feels as if he is with Mozart. I think the audience understood exactly what he was saying. This is how I interpreted it. There are ‘Great’ artists and then there are the ‘Greatest’ of all time. Andrea Bocelli is a member of the most elite group considered the ‘Greatest’ of all time. Very few artists worldwide, throughout an entire generation, will ever reach this height.
A few weeks after the Kodak Theater performance, the ‘My Christmas’ album was released. The show at the Kodak Theater had such an impact on me that I purchased tickets to relive some of this experience at the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Fort Lauderdale is just a three hour ride from my home in Orlando Florida. My Christmas spirit was running at an all time high in anticipation of these two performances.  The tour was structured such that the first half of each show was dedicated to an incredible range of arias. Maestro Bocelli’s first passion is the opera. He will always perform the operatic arias, even in a ‘My Christmas’ tour with ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Jingle Bells’.  I thank him for that, because it has enhanced my life experiences. As with many Andrea fans, I discovered his voice thru the duet he performed with Celine Dion (The Prayer). But as time went by, Andrea Bocelli would instill in me a deep appreciation for opera and the arias. I will always remember the ‘Opera di Carmen’ at the ‘Teatro di la Opera’ in Rome. I was so drawn into the performance that all of the stresses of life were left outside of the theater. The same thing happened again during the first half of the ‘My Christmas’ performance in Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas. The first half of the show included scenes and arias from ‘La Opera di Carmen’, ‘La Boheme’, ‘La Traviata’ and others.  Scenes from these operas were perfectly selected by Ivano Berti (Veronica Berti’s father) and projected on a very large screen to create the correct mood. The soprano for this segment of the show was Ana Maria Martinez. Ana Maria Martinez was the perfect partner for Maestro Bocelli during this segment of the concert. She is so consistent and professional. By the time the first half of the show was over, Andrea Bocelli and Ana Maria Martinez had already demonstrated the dynamic range of their voices thru some of the most beautiful arias in the world. Their voices were connected straight to the soul, where there is a burning love for the opera. It felt like they were able to reach everyone in the audience, as if they were singing just for that one special person. My feeling was that if the show in Fort Lauderdale or Las Vegas had ended at the half mark, I would have been extremely happy and completely satisfied with the performance just witnessed.  It seemed amazing that we were only midway thru the concert and about to switch gears to the ‘My Christmas’ songs, which is an opposite genre of music. I have always been amazed at how Maestro Bocelli can switch gears like this, without missing a beat. It is a testament to his vocal capabilities and his state of mind as he reaches inward, finding that special connection with each and every song. This is so critical, given that his inner feelings will be conveyed to the audience thru his voice. I have always said that there is so much more to Andrea Bocelli than the incredible voice. The qualities of the person behind the voice, is just as important as the voice. This is why, in Andrea Bocelli, we have a rare jewel and it is the reason David Foster will say that when he is in the presence of Maestro Bocelli, it feels as if he is with Mozart. I understand this feeling very well.
Moving on to the second half of the concert, Andrea Bocelli would walk out onto the stage in the white suit style used throughout the tour and sing ‘White Christmas’ to reset the mood of the audience. After this he would introduce David Foster to a cheering audience. When David came out, you could feel the energy and the Christmas spirit blossom even more. In a matter of seconds, they shifted the focus of the audience to the ‘My Christmas’ album. You could feel the excitement in the air. Both of the concerts that I attended after the Kodak Theater, followed the same itinerary, with the same beautiful effect on the audience. The artist’s that performed with Andrea Bocelli at the Kodak Theater did not participate in these two concerts. Delta Goodrem would perform the many duets with Andrea Bocelli during this segment of the concert. I had heard the name before, but was not really familiar with her. I think the same applied to the audience in general. David Foster provided a very eloquent introduction when she walked out on stage to sing Blue Christmas with Andrea Bocelli. This lady has been one of the top artists in Australia and other parts of the world for many years and is like royalty to the Australian people. She has achieved so much at a young age. She looked stunning to me, just absolutely beautiful. As soon as the orchestra began playing ‘Blue Christmas’, the audience became very quite in anticipation of hearing Delta Goodrem sing the first lyric’s of this great song.  This was a critical moment for her, where the American audience would judge her. And off she went with, “I’ll have a Blue Christmas without you, I’ll be so blue just thinking about you”. This is all it took. At the end of this initial segment of the song, the audience went from complete silence to a loud cheering roar of approval. She was superb and the audience embraced her with a lot of love. Welcome to America Delta!
The concert continued at a great pace and shifted between the fun Christmas songs that we all love from our childhood and the deeply spiritual songs. I love the way Italian and English segments of the songs were blended together, switching between one language and the other at just the right moment. Maestro Bocelli makes them both flow together as one. He connects the audience with the cultural heritage of the great country of Italy so well. We Americans love this country and Andrea Bocelli magnifies this affection even more, especially when he sang a simple Italian Christmas carol called ‘Caro Gesu Bambino’. This song originated from Saint Francis of Assisi around 1220 A. D. and is an Italian classic. This is truly what Christmas is all about. And then there is another song, ‘The Lords Prayer’. It is very difficult to single out one deeply spiritual Christmas song when you have ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’, What Child Is This’, ‘Adeste Fideles’, ‘I Believe’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘God Bless Us Everyone’, and ‘Caro Gesu Bambino’. But this is more than a song, it is the Lords prayer. I am not a person to bring up the topic of ‘faith’, but I will make an exception here. We all have a reservoir of faith that we rely on to get thru our daily lives. The problem is that, at times, the reservoir of faith can be drained quicker than it can be replenished. For example, the images of the earthquake in Haiti hit very hard. Well, this ‘My Christmas’ album helps me find that reservoir of faith, reconnect with it, and recharge it. The powerful vocal techniques Maestro Bocelli used in the finale of,  ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’, ‘Adeste Fideles’, and  ‘God Bless Us Everyone’ seem to extend forever into Heaven. It reenergizes the ‘good’ in all of us. It transfers a sense of Serenity to our souls. But when it comes to ‘The Lords Prayer’, David Foster, at the Kodak Theater, would explain the effect it had on him. He said that when Andrea Bocelli and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang this prayer in Salt Lake City for the DVD, it was the closest he had ever come to Heaven in his life. Based on my feelings and observations at the Kodak Theater, Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the audience was also deeply touched when they heard Andrea Bocelli sing ‘The Lords Prayer’. As we Americans like to say, “It just does not get any better than this.”
There are so many stories from Andrea Bocelli’s childhood that provide a glimpse into the person he would become. Those of you that have read about his life will know the next story, which stood out for me as I enjoyed the ‘My Christmas’ tour. When Andrea Bocelli was only eight years old, his family visited Lourdes, France. Millions of people of many religious backgrounds visit Lourdes in southwestern France because it is considered a sacred site, thanks to multiple apparitions of a celestial lady that called herself the ‘Immaculate Conception’. These apparitions took place in 1858 and were witnessed by a fourteen year old girl named Bernadette, who was later canonized as a saint, many years after her death. After some eighteen encounters between Bernadette and the Virgin Mary, a spring formed at the base of a grotto marking the location where the encounters took place. Eventually, a basilica was built at the site. An eight year old Andrea Bocelli would enter this grotto and make his wish to the Madonna. Out of all the things a child could of asked for, he requested Serenity. Andrea Bocelli’s mother, Edi Bocelli, truly believed that her son would be granted the Serenity he asked for that day. But Edi Bocelli went further. She also said that her son would give the Serenity to many others. She already knew this when he was only eight years old. As we all know now, she was 100 percent correct. God gave him that beautiful voice thru which he could give a moment of deep Serenity to millions of people all over the world and even transform lives for the better. Thanks to some great friends, I would have the opportunity to convey my thoughts to Andrea and Veronica Berti, who is always at his side. My first words to Maestro Bocelli always start the same, but this time I focused on Serenity by saying, “Andrea, God created this beautiful voice but then had to find that one special person to give it to. That special person is you because of your great qualities like Serenity and Humility.  Andrea, your mother was right. You are giving that Serenity to millions of people worldwide.” Maestro Bocelli, always so humble, smiled and simply said, “I try very hard.”  Providing a moment of Serenity thru his voice, is one of the many goals he has always set out to achieve.  By every measure, he has succeeded. There are millions of us out here that will testify to that.
Now it is time to say goodbye once again. The year 2009 was very special to me also because of the great people I meet along the way while attending some of Maestro Bocelli’s performances. It is fascinating to hear their stories about how this music has affected them. This year, I will be in Andrea Bocelli’s home town of Lajatico Italy for the last of the five concerts at the Teatro del Silenzio. I travel to Italy every year to enjoy the history, culture, and people of this great country. I am truly looking forward to my next visit. It will be a time to relax with some special friends and enjoy the little things of life. Thanks to Maestro Bocelli for reminding me thru music to slow down once in a while and enjoy the special moments of life.
from William E. White


My Dearest Andrea,
Though i know you have thousands of fans, I feel the need to let you know that my dream came true last saturday night as I got to see you in person at the Izod Center in New Jersey. This was a last minute road trip from the central virginia country side. So, being a cowgirl and a horse trainer, it was a tough trip through a blizzard, tunnels, bridges and who knows how many tolls???   It really was country girl going to the city!  I made it somehow, showing up in my best jeans and cowboy boots and looked more like should be at a George Straight concert but you gave me a memory that will last a lifetime! You have truely filled me with childlike happiness that wonderful evening. I love you and wish you all the joy in life that you give to others... have a wonderful holiday season and if you ever get to Richmond, I'll always have a horse ready for you to ride!

Donna C.
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