Tag Archives: Clubs

2014 Honor and Hope Gala/2

The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization is proud to be able to support a wounded veteran each year at its Honor and Hope Gala. This year, CIACO donate $10,000 to retired Army Captain Raymond A. Fleig and his family. In July 2007, Captain Raymond A. Fleig U.S. Army (Retired) was a Platoon Leader in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. While he was on a Forward Operating Base (FOB Hammer) they received incoming mortar rounds. After the initial barrage, his Platoon Sergeant, the next in the chain of command, and he went to check accountability of the 63 …

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2014 President Dr. Joseph Favia

Dr. Joseph Favia was recently installed as president of the Arcolian Dental Arts Society. A 1993 graduate of Loyola University School of Dentistry, where he served as Student Congress president, Dr. Favia has pursued advanced education from some of dentistry’s best institutions, including the Peter Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Education and the Pankey Institute. He currently teaches implant surgical procedures internationally to general dentists for Henry Schein’s Camlog Implant system. In 1997, Dr. Favia founded the Windy City Classic Celebrity Golf Tourney, which has raised more than $1 million toward cancer research in memory of Jim Valvano and Walter …

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2014-15 President Richard Belmonte

Richard Belmonte was recently installed as president of the Calabresi in America Organization. A veteran of the U.S. Army who served overseas in Korea after the war, Belmonte was a career firefighter, starting with the Westchester Fire Department in 1978 and working his way up from lieutenant in 1982 and captain in 1989 to chief in 2006, a position he held until his retirement in 2011. Belmonte joined CIAO in 2000, “to enjoy the camaraderie and celebrate the shared heritage.” He has held leadership positions since 2002, serving on the advisory board and board of directors and holding the positions …

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Festival Center

Casa Italia’s Festival Center was transformed into an elegant banquet hall on June 30 for the wedding reception of Renee Sarno and Joe Gagliardo. Janet Sarno, a wedding planner and the mother of the bride, was the magician behind the transformation, bringing in a crew that labored for three days to install the lighting, decorations, table dressings and dance floor that transformed down-to-earth venue into a wedding wonderland. “I’ve planned many weddings, mostly in downtown venues that were all fabulous. For my daughter’s wedding, I wanted something equally beautiful and elegant but I also wanted to bring back the spirit …

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2012 Sixth Annual Fall Festival

by Joanne Spata Even the record-breaking low temperatures on Oct. 6 and 7 couldn’t cool the spirit of Casa Italia’s sixth annual Fall Festival. People flocked to Stone Park to share in the celebration, as the grapes were crushed and the aroma of a freshly roasted pig on a spit, grilled sausage and freshly baked brick oven pizza wafted across the beautiful grounds, to name just a few of the delightful sights and sounds. And if the scent of Italian delicacies weren’t enough to lure folks to the fest, the sound of Italian musical favorites floating on the crisp autumn …

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2012 Christmas Baking Italian Style

The Casa Italia Cultural Committee’s presentation of “Christmas Baking Italian Style” was a great success. More than 80 people attended the event. The master of ceremonies was Teresa D’Alessandro Helfand, and the presenters included Mirella Alfano, Maria Cuscino and Antonietta Girardi. Traditional Christmas cookies and food specialties were presented from Abruzzo, Campania, Sicily and Puglia. The attendees were shown how to make buccellati, or “cucciddata,” struffoli, pizzelle, crostata, taralli, pistachio cookies, castagnole, almond cookies filled with liquor, cartellate, calzone rustico and more. All of those in attendance had an opportunity to savor the delicious cookies and food specialties. The attendees …

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2012 Executive Hall of Fame Induction

by Leonard F. Amari Nearly a decade ago, as a result of the vision of Anthony J. Fornelli and his dedicated committee, the Italian American Executive Hall of Fame was established at Casa Italia in Stone Park, the home of our Italian community. At the initial meeting of this committee in 2007, Chairman Fornelli suggested to the other committee members gathered — Don Bono, Jack LaBrasca, Dominic Sergi, Joseph Weber, Phyllis Muchanti and Dominic Verlotta — that it would be appropriate to have a place at Casa Italia to honor individuals from our community who have distinguished themselves in the …

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Italian Cabaret Night

by Joanne Spata Casa Italia jump-started the month of March with a magnificent Italian Cabaret Night. It was an amazing evening of glorious music, excellent company and good food. Entertainment was provided by Main Street Opera, which put on a spectacular show featuring 20 of the best arias and traditional songs to which Italy has ever given birth. Soprano Victoria Hollad, mezzo-soprano Amanda Runge, tenor Benjamin De Los Monteros, bass-baritone Chadley Ballantyne and music director Jason Carson gave rousing performances that earned a standing ovation, with shouts of “Bravo!” echoing through the Chandelier Room. In my favorite number, “Nessun dorma” …

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What Casa Italia has to offer

by Joanne Spata Come rediscover Casa Italia and all that it has to offer. Here, we have a center for the preservation and promotion of our community and culture. Here, we have an oasis, just minutes from O’Hare Airport, in which you can immerse yourself in the vibrancy and richness of our Italian heritage. Surrounded by 17 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, you can indulge your senses in a feast for your mind, body and soul. We invite you to tour our Cultural Center Museum and relive the Italian-American immigrant experience. You are welcome to stroll through our art galleries, …

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Casa Italia: Past, Present and Future

by Joanne Spata When I was a teenager, more years in the past than I choose to admit, I remember visiting the grounds of the Italian Cultural Center. There, on the first Sunday in August, the Cultural Center would host its annual picnic. It was a wonderful day filled with beautiful surroundings, lively music and organized games for all. The day would begin with an outdoor Mass and would sometimes end with a full symphony orchestra playing under the pavilion; followed by the explosion of fireworks under the stars. In between, if you were fortunate, guided tours were given of …

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