BMCC Celebrates Italian Heritage Month

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Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) students, faculty and staff filled Richard Harris Terrace on Monday, October 26, for a day of live music, poetry-reading and special lectures, all part of BMCC’s Italian Heritage Month celebration.

The event’s organizer, BMCC Modern Languages Professor John T. Means said in the spirit of celebrating all things Italian, the organizers invited speakers and performers to share some of the rich cultural, architectural and musical flavor that Italy has bestowed upon the world.

The day’s roster featured a discussion by City College (CUNY) Professor Peter Gisolfi who talked about the Italian influence on American Architecture; a music performance of Italian American music by Tribeca Performing Arts Center Program Director Mario Giacalone; A reading from Dante’s Inferno by actor Alessio Bordoni and BMCC Professor Michael Morford’s discussion of Michelangelo in Renaissance Italy.

BMCC Music and Art Professor Eugenia Oi Yan Yau’s voice students including Liberal Arts major Giovany Archin:Liberal Arts major Melissa Feurich: Computer Information Systems major Aaeron Jhonson-Whyte and Music and Art major Maihlikhaa Walker performed traditional Italian songs. Eleonara Rotshteyn accompanied on the piano.

The event also featured a buffet of Italian food including, pizza, chicken parmesan and rigatoni bolognese.

Means pointed out that BMCC has one of the largest Italian programs in the nation. Each year, the school consistently enrolls at least one thousands students in the program, he said.

He says that learning a new language such as Italian would only increase a job hunter’s marketability once they graduate college.

“The data is pretty clear, bilingual people are more employable and have more career opportunities,” said Means.

Since a large portion of BMCC’s student population is already bilingual, adding a third language such as Italian can provide an even greater edge to their marketability in the job market.

Modern Languages Professor Kristina Varade closed out the day telling students that BMCC offers a study abroad program in Italy called “Viva Viareggio” where students are immersed in Italian culture and Language for part of the summer.

To learn more about Italian courses offered at BMCC, visit the BMCC Modern Languages Department website or call 212-220-8105.