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The President's Voice: Interview with Dr. Angelo Carabelli.


He could be my uncle... Not that he reminds me of a particular uncle, mind you. Rather, he has the demeanor of a relative you are fond of but don't see very often. 

He immediately puts me at ease, with the calmness and ease of someone who has known you forever. It is a pleasure to chat with Dr. Angelo Carabelli, president of the Pro Loco of Gazzada Schianno. 

We are sitting at a table in a local restaurant and we indulge ourselves. White wine? Red wine? 

Both! The evening looks promising. We move from one topic to another without too many formalities. 

After the inevitable football anecdotes and a few jokes, I turn on the recorder.


"Can you tell me about the Pro loco of Gazzada Schianno? How was it founded and in what year? Who were the founders?"

The Pro loco was founded in 1970 by some members of various associations in Gazzada Schianno. Slowly, unable to manage multiple organizations at the same time, several members drifted apart, leading to some selection within the group. A significant case was Tobia Brentegani, the first president, who had to step down from his position because he was already involved with the motocross association in Schianno. I became interested in Pro loco when Eugenio Bertoglio was the president. It was during this period that we launched "Musica in Villa Cagnola" with the Friends of Giacomo Puccini's Opera from Gallarate. It was in 1976. When the third president, Eugenio Brambilla, resigned before the end of his term, I took over. I thought I would only stay for a year, and instead... they caught me! (laughs). I have been here since 1987. Then, over the years, the group continued to grow.


"And Musica in Villa Cagnola? What is its history?"

Musica in Villa (the original name of the event, later changed to "Musica in Villa Cagnola") is now in its 36th edition. We started with one concert per year, featuring interesting and talented individuals, while maintaining a certain simplicity at its core due to the very limited budget. Over the years, we focused a lot on this project, improving the quality of the concerts and increasing their number. From small, lesser-known groups, we gradually moved to musicians of a certain level.


"For example?"

We have had many, from Leo Nucci to Ottavio Dantone, the Buena Vista Social Club, the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Inti Illimani, pianist Stefano Bollani, Jerry Scotti, Enzo Iachetti, Fichi d'India...


"How did the collaboration with Villa Cagnola come about?"

It all began when we started Musica in Villa in 1976. That's how it all started. They appreciated our ideas and supported us from the beginning. They have always been helpful, and the collaboration continues. The director will change during this period! We hope to continue collaborating as we did with his predecessors.


"What is the 'Vigneto' project?"

It is a project for repopulating vineyards, born in 2012, in collaboration with the "Keynes" upper institute and the "Don Guido Cagnola" comprehensive institute. A synergy was created between the students of the two schools aimed at repopulating Count Cagnola's vineyard. In practice, the students, assisted by competent staff, are replanting grapevines in the vineyards of Villa Cagnola, and in a few years, we will have the opportunity to make wine with the help of the Ronchetto di Morazzone Farm. This year we will also have a concert related to this project, entitled "Incomparable vermilion humor. From culture to cultivation."


"What other events have you organized?"

There are truly numerous ones: painting exhibitions, photography exhibitions, we did the Passion of Christ in Villa Cagnola, the living nativity scene, the study of courtyard toponymy, the GaSch Music Festival, cabaret shows with comedians from Colorado Cafè, the "giant risotto"...


"The 'giant risotto'?"

Yes, a giant risotto! We renovated the Church of the Assunta with the funds from this festival. A church, with frescoes, from the 1400s. It involves hundreds of thousands of euros! Now we are renovating the Church of San Cosma and Damiano in Schianno. It dates back to the year 1000.


"How do you see the future of Pro loco? What is Pro loco giovani?"

We cannot be here forever! The group of old members is slowly... (coughs)... well, if you come to the headquarters, I'll show you "the wall of lament"... Jokes aside, it's a wall with photos of the collaborators who have passed away. Thanks to Francesca (Francesca Cioni, one of the organizers of the GaSch Music Festival), and some of her friends, we decided to bring some young people into Pro loco to provide a "natural" generational turnover. Today, between materials and personnel, we have around 500,000 euros. It would be a waste to let the organization wither away. These associations often end badly due to jealousy and lack of generational turnover. Pro loco is the most important representation of the municipality; it's right that the young people understand this and get involved.


"One last question. What is the most intense memory associated with your time in Pro loco?"

Well... one of the most touching moments was the "Passion of Christ" in Villa Cagnola in 2005. An event with 200 extras, 20 horses, animals of all kinds, entirely broadcasted by Rete 55. An exceptional thing! I remember that at the exact moment of the crucifixion, a big cloud came and literally covered the sun. It sent chills down my spine!

We finish dinner and say goodbye as good friends. One thing that struck me a lot about Dr. Carabelli: his eyes light up when he talks about Pro loco. It's a creation that he has nurtured and grown with. Almost as if it were his own child.



Michele Montanari

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