All’ICCC (At the ICCC) – March/April 2023 – Letter from Claudia Gentile Sims

Cari Amici,


We’re off to a great start here at ICCC for 2023.

Our La Befana celebration was a roaring success. Many thanks to Margret Norton, who because of Lucia Khurana’s last minute illness, stepped in as a sub for the Befana role with good humor and aplomb, much to the delight of the more than 150 children and parents in attendance.

On a more somber note, we marked our annual observance of Il Giorno della Memoria (Holocaust Remembrance Day) with a compelling presentation by Dr. Marla Stone on Jewish Life in Rome. We are grateful to the Consulate General of Italy in Houston and Humanities Texas for helping to make this significant program possible.

Our language classes are humming along. And, speaking of humming along, we just completed a delightful series of classes to a sell-out audience on the “History of Opera” led by Buck Ross.

For literary types who want to take a deep-dive into Italo Calvino, one of Italy’s pre-eminent writers (If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler), Dr. Dominic Aquila will be leading Italo Calvino: A Centennial Celebration, a 4-part course in March devoted entirely to Calvino.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Italo Calvino, one of Italy’s most celebrated authors of the twentieth century, Dr. Dominic Aquila will offer a four-week course on Calvino’s most important and beloved writings. Class will meet on Mondays, from March 20 to April 10, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Click here to register.

Sell-out seems to be the operative phrase these days as so many of our programs and events sell out quickly. Among the most popular are the Aperitivo Italiano and the Dine Around. Renditions of the Aperitivo Italiano are coming up and will surely sell out. To avoid disappointment, make your reservations TODAY by calling the office or visiting our website for further info,

Register for Aperitivo Italiano – Biodynamic Wines on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. to learn about and taste four RAINA wines, accompanied by Italian-style small bites. Presented by Pierina Bianchini from Emotion for Passion.
“We have practiced biodynamic agriculture since 2012,” RAINA states on their website. “The first obligation of the winemaker, in our opinion, is to care for the land he manages. He should try to preserve the richness of the soil that produces the fruits of his labour, without passively exploiting it for purely economic reasons, or progressively impoverish it through the use of chemicals. With this in mind, we think biodynamics is the only way forward.”

Click here to register.

All this activity at ICCC is made possible by the dedication and hard work of our stellar staff: Erika Myers, Ray Miller, Alessandra Pistone, Brissa Ramos, Keith Johnson, and our outstanding teachers who help make our Italian language school the best in Houston. Of course, we are grateful for our many presenters who share their expertise through lectures and presentations ranging from wine to opera to deeply researched and moving programs of great importance.

I also want to acknowledge our board of directors for unselfishly giving their time and talents: Monica Ercolani, immediate past president and current vice president; Julie Mastroianni, treasurer and Property Committee, chair; Flavio Zannin, secretary; Marguerite Gabriele, assistant secretary, Bylaws Committee chair, Scholarship Committee chair; Jerry Baiamonte, Marketing Committee co-chair*; Laura Ferro, Finance Committee; Sandra Celli Harris, Education and Culture Committee chair; Gina Gusemano Leck, Fashion Show chair; Dr. Angel Munoz, Finance Committee chair; and Diane Nizza, Education Committee.

In addition to the board volunteers, we have a cadre of outstanding member volunteers who always step up to fill in wherever there is a need. Where would be without them? It takes all of them and all of you to make ICCC such a success, therefore, I urge you to stay engaged. Don’t forget to make your reservations early for whichever program you are interested in. We need your talents and expertise, so come volunteer and participate with us, you’ll be glad you did. I look forward to seeing you soon.

*Thann Dauterive, who retired from the ICCC board in December, is the Marketing Committee co-chair.


Don’t forget to download the latest issue of La Voce Italiana Magazine to be updated on all the ICCC activities and to enrich your knowledge of Italian Culture.

Click here to download the PDF.


A presto,
Claudia Gentile Sims, president



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