7/25/2011 – Providence, RI —A few weeks ago, two La Salle Academy students– one a graduate of many decades ago and the other a student about to graduate discovered that they have a very strong bond. That common bond is a musical instrument, an instrument that has become increasingly uncommon.
The opening paragraphs of that story read:
While it is not the sorrowful fate in Longfellow’s phrase “ships that pass in the night”, there is a strong hint of kismet in the remarkable musical connection of two La Salle Academy students who are decades apart and have never known one another.
One of the two, the younger by nearly 64 years is La Salle Senior Danielle Renzi from Johnston, Rhode Island. She is an exceptionally accomplished accordion musician who found a piece of music, “La Musette”, that she mastered and played before a live audience at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa on March 30, 2011. That performance was taped and became a nationwide episode of From the Top, the hit NPR radio program featuring America’s best young classical musicians.
Playing Gabriel to Danielle’s Evangeline is Angelo Di Pippo, world famous composer of “La Musette” and a 1947 graduate of La Salle who lives in Garden City, New York. By pure coincidence he “. . . heard a recording of a recent radio program featuring outstanding musicians. One of the artists was an accordionist named Danielle Renzi,” said Angelo “She was brilliant and she mentioned that she attended La Salle Academy in Providence. What stunned me was the fact that she played a composition of mine entitled “La Musette”. This series of events startled me.”
Now those two ships, rather those people, have met.
At mid-morning, on June 9 – La Salle Academy graduation day 2011, Angelo Di Pippo and La Salle senior Danielle Renzi met at their high school. Danielle brought her accordion to play for Angelo and his wife who joined him on the drive from Garden City.
“Please play La Musette for me,” said Angelo as they sat in front of Principal Don Kavanagh’s office. And play she did while an audience gathered as they heard the song. “It was perfect,” Angleo said to Danielle when she finished.
That performance done they began a short tour of the school that Angelo left so long ago.
“I remember some of the hallways and the lockers,” he said as they made their way to the recently renovated auditorium. “Little by little it comes back.”
Upon entering the auditorium Angelo’s eyes widened and he stopped and looked all around. “This is not the auditorium that I remember,” he said. “This is magnificent. Let’s get on the stage where you belong, Danielle.”
Onto the stage went Angelo, Mrs. Di Pippo and Danielle and she showed her versatility and range by playing Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and then a few chords at Angleo’s request.
“You are truly a wonderful and very talented musician,” said Angelo as they departed the auditorium.
The morning visit ended with a brief tour of the Shea Science Building including a visit to Campus Ministry and the Chapel.
“What has been accomplished in terms of the refurbishment and the new buildings and use of space in the original building is very impressive and so are you, young lady,” concluded Angelo as he and his wife left to take in lunch on Federal Hill before the drive back to New York.