North Shore Philharmonic makes a resounding return to Revere
Special to the Journal
Hundreds of spectators flocked to St. Anthony’s Church on Sunday for the annual Robert A. Marra Memorial “Sounds of Christmas” concert, bringing with them two food trucks for the associated food drive and continuing a 45-year tradition that was wiped out last year because of the pandemic.
The North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra and star soprano Jean Danton rekindled the holiday spirit with a wonderful, holiday-themed classical music performance, complemented by the popular “Sing-along” of well-known Christmas carols.
Mayor Brian Arrigo delivered a moving “holiday message” in which he commented on the gratitude and optimism reflected in the community as the pandemic emerges. His remarks expressed the feelings of those in need, those who have helped and those who have perished in the excruciating months since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
Speaking “… in the voices of those who have left …”, the mayor said: “Our optimism is that those we have left behind will understand deep in their souls that life is too fragile , too tender, too precious to waste it with anger, envy, or hostility. Our optimism is that those we have left behind will look around, grateful for their blessings, their health and their chance to revel in the spirit and delights of the holiday season, now, every day from now. ”
Twenty-six members of the Revere High football team, who completed a successful 8-2 season on Thanksgiving Day, stepped up to help collect, pack, load and deliver approximately two tons of food at Revere Food. Pantry. Concert sponsor and co-chair Dom Bocchino, president of the Bocchino insurance agency, noted that the player’s spirit and energy are welcome to both concert goers and the volunteers who have been relieved of the task of hauling boxes on church food boxes in a truck. “The players were fantastic,” said Bocchino. “They would go out into the parking lot when people came in and carry the bags of food for them. They were filling boxes, loading the truck… they were just fantastic. They did in one hour what would have taken us two days!
The concert audience, screened at the entrance for proof of vaccination or a negative covid test and required to wear masks, were nonetheless enthusiastic and rose to a standing ovation as Ms Danton and the orchestra, under the conducted by Robert Lehmann, played a catchy “Let There Be Peace On Earth” in the concert’s traditional conclusion.
“The Orchestra and I really enjoy this concert,” said Lehmann. “We are delighted to be back at Revere, where we always appreciate such a welcoming and enthusiastic reception.”
Concert co-chair Robert Marra Jr. expressed his gratitude to concert sponsors Bocchino Insurance, Arbella Insurance Foundation, Comcast, RCN, Global Partners and Action Emergency Services, highlighting Mike Zaccaria’s role of Action. “Not only did Michael contribute as a sponsor, he provided the trucks to transport the food from the church to the pantry. This kind of community involvement is what makes it so special in so many ways.
“So many people are involved in making this concert happen,” he said, citing members of the St. Anthony’s Church confirmation class who helped convert the church altar to a stage. the concert ; members of St. Anthony’s Holy Name Society who helped collect food; and volunteers who had the unpleasant task of checking vaccination cards and covid test results. “I think the general circumstances could have been a hindrance, but I think everyone cooperated and were determined to have a good time. After missing last year, it was special.
The Sounds of Christmas concert began in 1976 when the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra performed a holiday concert at Revere High to mark the end of the country’s bicentennial year. In 1977 the concert was moved to St. Anthony’s, where it was performed every year except for a three-year interval in the late 1980s and 2020. The associated food drive began in 1991. In 2002 , the concert was renamed in memory of longtime Revere resident violinist Robert A. Marra, professor of Revere High and founding member of the Orchestra who died in 2002. and that made it all the more meaningful ” , said Marra.