It’s a risky mission serving a solider in the Middle East. So Alfredo Santolocci, the headmaster of Santa Cecilia music conservatory, proposed a project to the Italian Ministry of Defense. He wanted to bring music to the Italian soldiers in Lebanon — not just a Christmas carol, but a whole concert with the Santa Cecilia artists, including Eurovision star Hersi.
Miss Matmuja traveled to Lebanon in December 2014 to perform for the Italian soldiers. Hersi and the instrumental band of Santa Cecilia performed classical and jazz pieces — and Neapolitan songs to make the soldiers feel they were having Christmas at home. Naturally they ended the concert with the Italian National Anthem. Hersi tells me: “It was the best way to celebrate Christmas.”
The Ministry applauded the initiative and the performers were very enthusiastic, even though it came with a degree of risk. Special forces escorted the musicians to Lebanon on board a C130-Hercules, which is as strong as it sounds. They were taken to Shama, and performed the first concert at the Tiro theater. They also went to Shiro after the Christmas dinner where they performed another concert.
The colonels, commanders and other officers of the Italian Military in Lebanon were very grateful for the Santa Cecilia group. They shared their enthusiasm with the Santa Cecilia headmaster and musicians, who felt a lot of pride and positivity.
Hersi describes the journey as unforgettable’, and one she will keep in her heart forever.
It was nice to see so many happy faces from everyone, something that only music can cause. And it happened in a military base, in the middle of Lebanon.
Hersi in Lebanon (via Hersi)
Photos courtesy of Hersiana Matmuja