A Message from the President

Dear members and friends:

Happy summer! 

You have no doubt seen or experienced how Italians come alive in the summertime. They can finally hang up their puffy coats, savor the fruits of their garden labor, take more regular strolls in the local piazza, and enjoy sagre, music concerts, and trips to the beach. And, of course, summertime is also vacation time for most Italians. We here have much to look forward to as well, including our upcoming programs, which present a nice selection of social events of sufficient variety to appeal to most of our members. 

These upcoming events will be a continuation of a busy and entertaining spring. On May 6, a group of our members took advantage of an outing to the Italian-American Museum of Washington, D.C. (IAMDC). The group learned a lot about the influence and impact of Italian Americans in the area and then enjoyed a lunch at Ella’s Wood-Fired Grill. There are more details about the event in “Siamo Una Famiglia.” On May 20, we held a virtual event featuring Italian-American podcaster Stephanie Longo. Ms. Longo outlined the tools that we need to begin preserving our local Italian-American history. See our piece inside for more description. On June 4, we held a virtual event with John Michael Howard, who talked about the book “Living to be 100”, in which there was a discussion of the lifestyle characteristics of the oldest and healthiest people in the world, including the residents of Sardinia. Find out more about his talk in the adjoining article. On June 20, AMHS members and friends celebrated Italian Heritage Day at Nationals Park while watching the Nats take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Then, on June 25, the Society held its second general meeting of the year at Casa Italiana. Dan Piazza, the Chief Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, delivered an overview of Italian stamps and the Italian postal system. You can find out more about it in the adjoining article.

Regarding our exciting upcoming events, mark your calendar for Sunday, July 9th, and join the AMHS for a self-guided tour of the exhibition “Going through Hell: The Divine Dante” at the National Gallery of Art. The tour will get under way at 11:00 am. Following it, participants can enjoy lunch at the Cascades Café. On July 30, we will hold a virtual event at 7:30 pm. with Michael Markowitz, who will discuss Roman coinage. His mother was Italian. Check out our website for more information. Our annual Ferragosto picnic will take place on Sunday, August 13, at Fort Ward Park in Alexandria. This event has become one of our most popular, so be sure to set the date aside.

The AMHS Scholarship Committee has completed its evaluation of this year’s applicants. We are pleased to announce that Sofia DeLuca is the winner of our AMHS scholarship. Ms. DeLuca is a rising senior at George Washington University, where she is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Italian Language and Literature as well as Peace Studies. She is from New York and traces her family roots to the regions of Campania and Veneto. Her academic performance has been outstanding, and she places a great value on her Italian heritage, making her a most deserving winner. We are also pleased to announce the winners of the first Angela Lastrico Raish music scholarships. They are Giorgio Consolati (flutist) of the Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute, Lauren Barchi (vocalist) of Rutgers University, Sonia Fortezza (vocalist) of Montclair State University, Amanda Murro (saxophonist/music education) of Montclair State University, and Javera Chaudhry (vocalist) of Rutgers University. The winners, who all have Italian backgrounds, are exceptional talents and are most deserving of their awards. For additional information on all the winners, see the article by Liz DiGregorio.

At the end of this year, all five of the AMHS officers as well as three members of our Board of Directors will be stepping down, as their terms of office end. The five officers and nine members of the Board of Directors form the Executive Committee (EC). We need volunteers for a Nominating Committee, whose urgent task will be to find candidates to succeed our outgoing officers and Board members. If you would like to be a part of such a committee, please contact any of the officers or any EC member to let us know of your interest. Of course, while thinking about the Nominating Committee, you could also consider serving a two-year term as an officer or a three-year term as a member of the Board of Directors. The five officer positions are President, Vice President/Programs, Vice President/Membership, Treasurer, and Secretary. This is an exciting time to be in the leadership of the Society, and our organization, like all organizations, depends on new ideas and fresh approaches in order to prosper in changing times. If the idea of helping to steer the AMHS into the years ahead appeals to you, please let any officer or EC member know. 

Do not forget about our online shop if you are looking for summer gift ideas! 

Thank you for reading and have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Best regards,
Ray LaVerghetta

July/August 2023

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