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A taste of Italy, and of heritage

“Viva Italia” fundraiser replete with food, drinks and entertainment

— Graziano Hargrave, who is also the president of the Monday Musical Club in Albany, said as a grandchild of four Sicilian immigrants, singing Italian arias is a great way to get back in touch with her culture.

“I think there are people out there that are somewhat removed from their Italian heritage and would come to an event like to touch base again with a lot of who they are as people,” Graziano Hargrave said.

Yet DiNovo insisted people don’t have to be Italian to attend the event. Dancer Louise Giuliano, who will be dancing with her husband Paul, is originally from Japan.

“I’m not Italian, but you don’t have to be to appreciate Italian culture,” said Giuliano, whose husband was born in Sicily.

Giuliano joins dancers of the West Side Story Formation Team.

“They’re very famous for the passion they bring to this dance. It’s going to be a passionate Italian tango,” Giuliano said.

As for the food, Cocca, the chief executive officer and corporate executive chef at Franklin Plaza, said he’s keeping the focus of the night on traditional Italian event-styled dinners.

“Anytime I grew up with either a Sunday dinner or event, this was how the meal went. That’s the format we’re following, a typical special event in an Italian home,” Cocca said.

The ballroom dinner will feature two full meals. The first course will be a baked white fish and the second will feature veal with potatoes, salad and more.

“Usually our biggest complaint is that it’s too much food, but that’s Italian food!” Cocca said.

Dessert will include an array of Italian pastries, including cannoli.

With the entertainment and food, DiNovo said he knows it will be a great night for adults in the Capital District.

“We hope they’ll get dressed up in their nicest clothes, sit around with a drink in hand, appetizer. They’re going to have a great time,” he said.

For more information or reservations, call 393-3138.

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