Il Cenacolo Celebrates 90 Years

Il Cenacolo Italiano di Cleveland celebrated its 90th anniversary on June 8, 2018 when 66 members and guests filled the ballroom at Judson Manor. After an hour of socializing over prosecco and appetizers, President Carmela Mitra began the formal program by introducing Mrs. Kelly Falcone-Hall, President and CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society, where the archives of the club now reside.

Mrs. Hall reviewed the mission of WRHS to preserve and make available the history of the Cleveland area. Dr. John Grabowski, Vice President for Research and Publications and Krieger Mueller Historian at Case Western Reserve, then discussed encounters between Cleveland and the Italian culture. He noted the many different perspectives on Italian culture, from opera and art to bocce and Frank Sinatra.

Il Cenacolo was founded to promote the Italian language and culture, shortly after the U.S. Congress instituted a restrictive immigration policy in the early 1920’s. Former member Dr. Gian Pietro Barricelli once said, “…the work of Il Cenacolo represents a necessary sharing in the democratic process of American civilization whereby all groups are acknowledged for that part of their heritage which acts as a fermenter of the present, a forger of the future and a defender of all people whose histories and ideas underpin the making of the collective human mind.”

Father Philip Racco, pastor of St. Bernadette in Westlake, then gave an Italian blessing for the meal which consisted of five courses: salad, gnocchi, beef tenderloin or salmon with lobster mashed potatoes and asparagus, a fruit/cheese platter, and a lemon torte. During dessert, we heard musical selections with a piano performance by member Evelyn Davis and arias and art songs by CIM tenor Jackson Richards-Jarvis, a winner of a grant from Il Cenacolo.

Mrs. Mitra then announced the awards for the Borsa di Studio, given to high school students who have excelled in learning Italian. Both students read us beautiful speeches in Italian in accepting the award. Marie Pinzone from Padua Franciscan High School will be attending John Carroll University where she plans to major in neuroscience with a minor in Italian and eventually become a pediatrician. Alan Shvartzman from Mayfield High School will be attending Ohio State University planning to major in social sciences with hopes to go into international law using his range of language acquisitions.

Finally, president-elect Beatrice Colage provided information on upcoming events: opera in the Italian Cultural Garden in July and the Cleveland Italian Film Festival in September. Ms. Colage also read selections from a proclamation issued by the City of Cleveland honoring the club on its 90th birthday and the contributions it has made to Cleveland culture and history.

Il Cenacolo is grateful to Judson Manor for providing their lovely ballroom and outstanding food and service.

Interested readers can check the club website
for more photographs and the club program for next year.