Mar 2021 Notiziario

Dante Alighieri of Denver header


First, to all who extended their thoughts, prayers and condolences at the passing of my father, Frank, grazie. It meant a great deal to me and my family. Here we are, embarking on the third month of 2021. A lot has happened in the past two months, mostly good, some not so good. But together we have moved forward in our lives and in the Dante Society. Our “new” Board was installed in January. By the way, in my last report I mistakenly stated they would be serving for the 2020-2021 term. Mi dispiace, it will actually be the 2021-2022 term. Our February cultural meeting featured an exceptional presentation from author Andrea Pakieser on the life of Leda Rafanelli. The March meeting will feature the announcement of the winners of the Donne di Merito award and a presentation by Greg Carpenter from Opera Colorado, a program not to be missed. May is quickly approaching when we would normally hold our Scholarship Luncheon. But circumstances have dictated some changes so be sure to read Pamela Marcantonio’s “save the date” article and please, save the date! Stay healthy, safe and warm. Contact me with any questions, thoughts or even complaints!  John Giardino.


MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE   It’s that time of year again.  Membership renewal cards have gone out.  We hope you will join us for another year of interesting lectures, movies and fun.  Please review the information on the card and make any corrections before mailing it back to me with your payment.  Grazie, Rhonda


Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Announces the First Annual Donne di Merito Awards

We can do it stampThe Dante Alighieri Society of Denver has long acknowledged the contributions and achievements of Italian and Italian-American women to society as a whole. It now wishes to recognize Italian and Italian-American women; Donne di Merito (women of merit), who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments that have contributed to the promotion, maintenance and preservation of the Italian culture. Candidates can be local national or international women who have significant ties to Colorado and have made enduring contributions to Colorado’s Italian heritage.  Awards may be given to historical or contemporary women.

 Award recipients will be recognized on March 12th at the Dante Society’s cultural meeting in conjunction with International Women’s Month. Because the Dante Society is not holding face-to-face meetings at this time, presentations will be done via ZOOM.

Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 5th. Kindly use the nomination form included in this Notiziario and send to:  Susan Gurule at 2424 Stuart Ct., Denver, Colorado 80211 or email her at

Deadline for nominations: Friday, March 5th – 5:00 p.m.
Presentation of awards: Friday, March 12th – 7:30 p.m.

MARCH CULTURAL MEETING:  Friday, March 12, 2021, 7:30 p.m.  Via ZOOM  

While Denver boasts that it’s a sports town, we can also boast that Denver is a cultural town. You don’t want to miss this presentation about one of Colorado’s cultural mainstays and hear from its dynamic leader.

Starting as an idea in 1980 and an initial season opening on April 4, 1983, Opera Colorado is pretty much the new kid on the block. But what an entrance it has made! Starting out in the Boettcher Concert Hall with two mainstage productions each season, the Opera later added a third mainstage presentation at the Temple Buell Theatre. In 2005, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House became the new home of Opera Colorado, where it currently resides. Opera Colorado has featured local, national and international stars including James McCracken, Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming and more.

In addition to traditional and beloved productions, Opera Colorado is flexing its creative muscle and has expanded its productions to include new works and community outreach. Those efforts have resulted in a bilingual opera La Curandera, a Spanish-language production, a Czech-language production, a moving coming-of-age story about a transgender woman, and an emotional true love story of two Holocaust survivors. Outreach efforts include touring productions throughout the state, in-school programming, school field trip opportunities, and community offerings.

Greg Carpenter is the first individual to hold the title of General and Artistic Director in the 38-year history of Opera Colorado. During his tenure at Opera Colorado, Greg has initiated a new artistic vision for the company which embraces new and rarely performed works presented in innovative ways. He has been the chief architect behind collaborations with the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado Railroad Museum, Buntport Theatre, Davis Contemporary Dance, the Mizel Arts and Cultural Center, and numerous other Denver-based cultural institutions. He also led the collaboration with conductor Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra to record the production of John Adams’ Nixon in China, which was released on Naxos in August of 2017 to significant acclaim.

Greg’s newest leadership initiatives are focused on increasing the number of productions and performances offered each year to meet the growing subscriber and single ticket audience, and to connecting with the community through culturally diverse enrichment programs.  Meeting ID: 690 439 9485 - Passcode: DAS



The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver (DAS) will present "Dante in Music” in celebration of the 700th anniversary of the death of the Supreme Poet. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is revered as the father of the Italian language. His Divine Comedy is considered the greatest literary work composed in Italian.

Guilia OlivieriThe DAS is privileged to present Giulia Olivieri, a talented piano soloist from Matera Italy, who will perform a series of songs favored by numerous Dante fans including Puccini and Ennio Morricone. Giulia graduated in 2015 with honors and special mention in Principal Piano at the Conservatory of Matera. She has received First Place in several competitions such as Young Promises (Taranto), Don Matteo Colucci (Fasano) and Music and Art (Conversano). Additionally, she has played for the Mozart International Academy of Music in Castellaneta, the Music University of Evora (Portugal), Tzar Alexey Palace and Jugerson Museum in Moscow (Russia), and the Holland College of Leuven (Belgium). Giulia’s performances and accolades are too many to mention here.

The concert will be held via ZOOM on Saturday, March 27th at 3:00 p.m.   Meeting ID: 690 439 9485



APRIL CULTURAL MEETINGFriday, April 9, 2021, 7:30 p.m.  Via ZOOM

Panel Discussion on Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church’s 125-year history featuring:

Dominic Dezzutti, Station Manager PBS12 and producer of A North Side Story.

Father Hugh Guentner, OSM, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Crystal Peccia, Pastoral Assistant and religious education director.

Fran Daly, Historian.



On Sunday, May 2, our Society is planning to meet in person for a spring luncheon and program at the Mount Vernon Canyon Club.  This will be our first opportunity to be together and enjoy good company in a lovely venue.  At this time, we hope to award our annual scholarships that day and have a musical program.  Unless health concerns prohibit the gathering, we will get together for food, fellowship and music.  The event will begin at noon with a cash bar followed by a plated lunch.  Details and registration will be in the April Notiziario but we want you to plan now to join us that day.


The Dante Alighieri Society will offer only online remote Italian language classes in the Spring 2021 session, using the Zoom platform.  The ten-week Spring session of classes will begin the week of March 22, 2021.  The schedule of Spring classes is listed below, and it is posted on the Dante Society website.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week.  Classes are taught by talented bi-lingual instructors who have significant experience teaching Italian with the Zoom platform.  A prerequisite for all classes is students' familiarity with Zoom before taking the first class.  The Dante Society hopes to resume in-person language classes at Mt Carmel parish for the summer session if prudent.  Cost is $115 for members and $145 for non-members.  New members are welcome to join the Dante Alighieri Society when they register for classes.  Please register early because classes do fill up.  For more information, please contact the Education Chair Suzanne Fasing at: 

To register for classes, visit the website:


 The registration and payment deadline for the spring session is March 15, 2021.


Beginner 1.  Mondays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning June 21, 2021 through August 23, 2021 (Brunetti).   In this class students with little or no knowledge of Italian will learn to communicate in simple everyday situations. Students will study the basic building blocks of the Italian language, including the alphabet, rules of pronunciation, basic syntax, and grammatical structures. Topics include subject pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, regular verbs in the present tense, and noun-adjective agreement.
Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.

Beginner 2.  Mondays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning June 21, 2021 through August 23, 2021 (Brunetti).  In this class students will build upon their existing knowledge while incorporating new vocabulary and grammatical structures through conversation, role plays, listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include irregular and modal verbs in the present tense, articulated prepositions, and possessive adjectives.
Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.

Beginner 3.  Wednesdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning June 23, 2021 through August 25, 2021 (Brunetti).  In this class, students will build upon their prior studies through listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include past and future verb tenses, and the required text will be covered in its entirety.  Emphasis will be placed on everyday conversational situations using grammar and vocabulary from the textbook.
Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.

Intermediate 1.  will be offered in a future session.

Intermediate 2.  Thursdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning June 24, 2021 through August 26, 2021 (Brunetti).  In this class students will build upon their prior studies through role plays, listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include past verb tenses and possessive pronouns.
Required Text:  The Italian Project 1b.


Advanced 1 and 2 will be offered in a future session.

Advanced 3. Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning June 23, 2021 through August 25, 2021 (Brunetti).  In this class students will continue to expand their vocabulary and understanding of more advanced grammatical concepts through listening activities, role play, readings, videos, conversation and written assignments.  The class will be conducted primarily in Italian and topics will include double object pronouns, relative pronouns and the gerund.
The Italian Project 2a.


Conversation 301.  Thursdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning June 24, 2021 through August 26, 2021 (Brunetti).  This class will be full immersion. Students will be able to converse, understand, and write on a variety of subjects including but not limited to art and literature. Emphasis will be on becoming linguistically flexible.
Required Text: The Italian Project 2b.

birthday cake


We wish our members a Buon Compleanno during their birthday month.

Kristi Amann                         March 9
Gianfranco Marcantonio      March 9
Tom Treloar                           March 16
Luz Rossi-Jones                     March 26
Erin Lyman                             March 29

We want to include more members in this column, so please send a quick email, with your birthday month and day, to Dante Society board member, Suzanne Fasing, at      Grazie!

GETTING TO KNOW YOU:  Tonya Clement.

  1. What region in Italy were your ancestors from?  If you do not have Italian ancestors, what is the ethnic background of your family?  Have you ever been there and what was your experience? 

 I only wish I had been born into a real Italian family with roots to trace like many of the members.   Sadly, I am a bit of a Heinz 57 mix.  My birth father, who I found later in life, is Syrian which combined with the fact that I talk with my hands and create a lot of drama, makes some people think I have some Italian in me.  Again, I only wish.  I travel to Italy often as we now own a home in Colletta di Castelbianco in Liguria.  My Italian friends are my family.

  1. When did your ancestors arrive in America, and where did they settle originally? Did they come right to Colorado?  

My grandmother on my birth father's side came through Ellis Island and initially settled in a town called EightyFour Pennsylvania.  I know very little about the grandparents on my mother's side but she is of strong German descent.  Her maiden name is Bridenthal.

  1. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what word would that be, and why?  

I think "passionate" might be the best word.  When I love something, it shows and I tend to throw everything I have at those very things be it work, friends, family, hobbies or adventures.

  1. Who was most influential to you growing up, and why?  

Most definitely my grandfather.  Despite growing up with very little, he taught me I could be or do anything I wanted. I never had any doubt.  One day at the age of four, I ran into the house crying because the neighborhood boys were shooting at me with their toy play guns.  My grandpa swept me off my feet and took me to the toy store and bought me the biggest toy gun on the shelf.  It worked.....the boys never shot at me again.  

  1. Tell us a little about you, employment, family, interests and so on. 

 I am an avid mountaineer and rock climber.  Mine is a bit of an "Everest Lasting Love Story." I met my husband while climbing Mount Everest in 2006.  He was filming our climb and I was the token female added at the last minute to ensure our main sponsor would continue to fund the project.  The goal was to place an Israeli and a Palestinian on top of the world.  That climb changed my life forever.  Today we enjoy trips to the Dolomites or to the rocky crags of Sardinia or the Italian Riviera.  We have no children so our kids became our Keeshond dogs.  I run a small engineering design firm that makes audio/video recording solutions used by police, military and Federal customers when conducting custodial interviews with persons of interest.  My hope is to one day present my solution to the Polizia italiana, in italian of course!

  1. How would you most like to be remembered? 

As someone who made a positive difference in everyone's life who she touched.

  1. What attracted you about joining the Dante Alighieri Society? 

I need to surround myself with people who love Italy as much as I do.  My friends and family are simply tired of hearing me talk about Italy and tired of listening to me do my Duolingo classes.  I intend to work my way through all of the language classes offered through the Society and I look forward to meeting everyone and soaking up all of the culture that is shared. 

stamps for international womens month


Women from around the globe will join together on this date to celebrate their progress and, more importantly, inspire and motivate all people to find and implement solutions to the world’s most critical problems. In unison, they will call for worldwide peace and, motivated by their desire for a better world, will work to significantly improve their homes, communities and nations. The global theme for 2021 is “Women in Leadership:  Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”. Women often wear purple on this day as it is considered the color of loyalty, self-respect and bipartisanship.  They carry and display bouquets of Mimosa, a yellow flower known to symbolize strength, sensibility and sensitivity.


The Dante Alighieri Society is taking a proactive and optimistic approach to Italian Heritage Month. The board is hopeful that we will be able to hold face-to-face events in October and is beginning to think about activities to be held. Toward that end, the board is seeking volunteers to serve on the Italian Heritage Month Committee (IHMC). Activities that are being considered are a gelato social, a night at the opera, a cooking class, a workshop on Dante Alighieri, an art exhibit (fundraiser), a wine tasting, Italian bingo and much more. Although the organization can’t hold all of these activities; we are fortunate that there are five Fridays and five Saturdays in October 2021, so it opens up more dates in which our members and guests can enjoy the celebration. If you are interested in serving on the IHMC please call Susan Gurule at 720-484-1014 or email her at



My idea of a newsletter is to include information about news from Italy and around the world relating to Italian culture and not only our Society’s events.  It is becoming more difficult to reproduce articles and photos from other publications without a written consent from the source.  Therefore, I encourage members to send original articles, stories, book reviews, humorous anecdotes, and recipes to be included in future Notiziarios.  Email to  Grazie, Gianfranco Marcantonio

2021 Calendar





June 11- Night at the movies

Annual picnic – July 25


Answer to Indovinello (riddle):  La neve (snow)



Summer Session begin June 21

Nomination Form - Donne di Merito (Women of Merit)

Nominee’s Full Name: ___________________________________________________________________

Nominee is:     ____ Contemporary   _____ Historical

Birth Place (City, State, Country):___________________________________________________________

Nominee’s Home Contact Information (for contemporary nominees):

Name: ________________________________________________________________________________

Home Address: ____________________________ _________________________________________

City: ________________________    State: _______________    Zip: ________________________

Home Phone: ________________________      Cell Phone: _____________________________________

Home email address: ____________________________________________________________________


Nominee’s Background Information (1000 words or less):

* Provide a one or two sentences summary about the nominee.

* Describe the Nominee’s significant ties to Colorado.


Criteria Questions:

    1. Describe how the nominee has made significant and enduring contributions to her field(s) of endeavor. For historical nominees, please provide her dates of birth and death.
    2. Describe the specific ways in which the nominee and her accomplishments have contributed to the promotion and maintenance of the Italian culture.
    3. What other information about the nominee would you like the Selection Committee to know or consider?
    4. Do not attach another bio, resume or article as a substitute.


    Please note: All nominees are judged on the specified criteria. Nominator names are not provided to the Selection Committee. Letters of recommendation are not accepted. Nominees are selected on merit, not endorsement.

    Please mail a completed copy of this nomination form to:

    Susan Gurule, Dante Alighieri Society of Denver 2424 Stuart Ct., Denver, Colorado 80211 or e-mail  (phone 720-484-1014)



Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Website: