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2014 Puglia Center of America Award Ceremony Honors Anthony Tamburri, Ornella Fado and Jamie Gigantiello

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2014 Puglia Center of America Award Ceremony Honors Anthony Tamburri, Ornella Fado and Jamie Gigantiello

On the day of the first anniversary of the pontificate of the Holy Father Francis, The Puglia Center of America, leader in promoting the Puglia region of Italy and the Made in Italy in US, organized the 4th edition of its "Puglia Center of America Award", that took place at the elegant restaurant Etcetera Etcetera of Manhattan, in New York on March 13, 2014.

About one hundred guests participated at the event and had the chance to meet the awardees of this year, as well as admire beautiful photographs of Puglia. Iconic images of architecture and landscapes from the region were projected for the whole duration of the evening on a vast screen in the elegant venue. Guests were entertained in a cocktail reception with appetizers from the culinary traditions of Puglia. Fine, organic wine from the region, sponsored by the company Wine4All, helped create a warm and friendly atmosphere.

All three award winners received each by a personalized ceramic artifact, handcrafted for the occasion by Maestro Agostino Branca, artist ceramist from the city of Lecce. The winners were:

Prof. Anthony Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute di New York (award presented by Prof. Joseph Sciorra, Associate Director for the Academic and Cultural Affairs of the Calandra Institute); Ornella Fado, Creator, Autor and TV Presenter of the TVBrindiamo! (award presented by Milly Perez, NYC Major's Office of Media & Entertainment); Mons. Jamie Gigantiello, Director of the Office of Parish Giving e Vicar for Development of the Diocese of Brooklyn (award presented by Mons. David L. Cassato, Pastor of the St. Athanasius Parish in Brooklyn e Chapelan of the New York Police Department).

Delightful performance of the evening was offered by the acclaimed Italian tenor Luciano Lamonarca, in his dual role as an accomplished opera singer, as well as a gracious host of the evening and President of the Puglia Center of America. He mesmerized the audience with his powerful interpretation of popular songs such as Amapola, Tu Ca Nun Chiagne, MyWay, Con te partirò and a fragment of the Brindisi of La Traviata.

In an original orchestration of the evening's program, the Comedian Regina DeCicco had a brilliantly hilarious performance, bringing laughter and thunderous applause with her brand of comedy and humorous style.

Maestro Luciano Lamonarca, President of the Puglia Center of America, said in a note: "I thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who supported our event, especially the award winners, who with their inspiring presence contributed to our success. Their words of support and gratitude towards our organization pay us back for all our efforts until now - efforts made so that this part of Italy, which is often referred to as "The Heel of Italy", could be increasingly recognized as Puglia".

At the end of the evening a special dinner with recipes from the region of Puglia was served.

Pictured (from left): Maestro Luciano Lamonarca, Mons. Jamie Gigantiello, Ornella Fado, Valentina Popa and Prof. Anthony Tamburri

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