May 2022



         In a season beset by Covid-related concerns and unusual protocols, SICE has risen to the challenges confronting us all.  Our early events in the Fall of 2021 carried the additional restrictions of “double registration,” courtesy of new regulations imposed by the Selby Library.  Nevertheless, both Dr. Chrystine Keener and our own Dr. Rosanne Martorella offered their lectures on “Caravaggio and Artemisia’s Rome” and “Sculpture and Architecture of Bernini and Borromini” (all enhanced by appropriate visuals) to appreciative audiences capped at fifty registrants.


          As the calendar flipped to 2022 in January, the Sarasota Opera hosted its annual event for SICE members.  This year, in addition to cameo performances by some of the cast members, we were regaled by Maestro DeRenzi himself, as he detailed the nuances of staging TOSCA. Our members were treated to the strategic use of chimes offstage, calibrated to replicate authentic sounds for the edification of the audience.  This event proved to be a revelation to all our attendees.


          Our film program in February and March at Lakewood Ranch Cinema featured Giulietta Massina in her award-winning role in 1957’s Nights of Cabiria and the dynamic duo of Anna Magnani and Anthony Quinn in Stanley Kramer’s rousing suspenseful romance, Secret of Santa Vittoria.  Although these films were originally scheduled as stand-alone entities without the benefit of lunch, Lakewood Ranch’s “Paris Bistrot” came to our rescue with a “lunch on your own” option.  Our registrants were as receptive to this overture as they were to the films themselves.  Chalk up a couple of more victories for SICE!


       Far and above all else, our “End of Year Gala Luncheon” at the Prestancia Country Club proved to be the signature event of the 2021-22 season as we detailed SICE’s Twentieth Anniversary.  Event Director, Mary Maresco, with the assistance of Hewie Poplock, SICE’s website technician, presented a film history of SICE’s events over the last two decades, 2002-2022.  What a heartwarming reminiscence for all our “old-timers” and quite an eye-opener for our current members.  Not to be outdone, Event Co-Directors, Fran Plankey and Janet Jarzyna, planned the entire event with meticulous attention to detail, including a special gift for all attendees - - a SICE coffee mug.  We are so fortunate to have ended our season on such a high note.  If you go to the “Photos Page” of our website, you can view a collage of photographs from this stellar event.


        Now, our attention turns to the upcoming year.  Your Executive Board plans to finalize its offerings with dates, venues and costs at its Board Meeting scheduled for the end of June.  By mid-July, you should be able to view everything on our website and REGISTER for each of the upcoming events.  Oh, and by the way, please do not neglect to renew your MEMBERSHIP for 2022-23!


          For those of you who would like a “sneak peek” of what we have in store, try this on for size.  We begin with a “Welcome Back Dinner/Dance” at the Palm Aire Country Club on November 17, 2022.  The team of Maresco and Martorella will present an offering on WWII & Italy at Selby on December 6, 2022.  January 25, 2023 will find us at the Sarasota Yacht Club for lunch and a presentation by Dr. Joseph Scelsa, President of the Italian-American Museum in NYC.  Our annual Sarasota Opera Event is scheduled for February 8th, with the program to be determined.  Our film program will feature a retrospective on the career of Sophia Loren, with the able assistance of Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio DeSica.  We plan to show “Too Bad She’s Bad,” “Ieri, Oggi e Domani” and “I Girasoli” on January 11, February 22 and March 22 respectively.  Our year will conclude with a reprise of the “End of Year Luncheon” at a yet to be determined venue.  Fran Plankey has graciously agreed to replicate her efforts from this year.


          All in all, we are excited about our upcoming events and look forward to reuniting with all of you beginning in November.  Please keep referring to the SICE website for all the fine tuning and last minute adjustments to the 2022-23 season. Until we meet again, “Buona Fortuna e Buona Salute !”


Joe Morra, SICE President