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October 31, 2014     Post-Gazette
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October 31, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 31,2014 Page 13 / anna Babb onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance I was in junior high school attending the Joseph H. Barnes School on Marion Street in East Boston. I be- lieve that it is a senior resi- dence today, but back then, it was one of three middle schools in East Boston. I had become friendly with a few boys who were not from my immediate neighbor- hood and they convinced me to join the Boy Scouts. When I was a Cub Scout at the Sacred Heart Parish, I wondered if there were Scout troops nearby as I loved anything military and scouting was the closest I would get until I was an adult. Two new classmates, John Di Nicolantonio and Peter Bartolo belonged to the Boy Scout troop at St. John's Par- ish on Saratoga Street near the fire station just outside of Day Square. I appeared one Thursday night and joined, I believe Troop 12, Panther Patrol. I was intro- duced to Fred Marino, the head of scouting and his as- sociates Peter Interbartolo and Tony Abbatessa. With their directions imbedded in my mind, I convinced my mother that I wanted to be a Boy Scout and needed a uni- form to correspond to my new choice in life. Dad agreed that I should have a fitting uniform, and with Nanna and Babbononno en tow, we headed to the boy's depart- ment at Jordan Marsh and the counter that catered to Boy Scout needs. Well, Dad and Babbononno observed as I tried on the correct uniform and picked out the patches that corre- sponded to the troop and pa- trol I now belonged to. When the salesperson mentioned alterations, Babbononno in- sisted that the changes could only be handled by his friend, Billy the Tailor. Billy D'Allesandro had a tailor shop across the street from the front entrance of East Boston High School. He had magic fingers. When he used a needle to make alter- ations, he could take a rag and make it look like it came from the Armani collection. The following week, I showed up at the Boy Scout meeting in my altered uniform and took my place next to my new comrades in the Panther Patrol. I loved Boy Scout life and threw myself into it becom- ing a participant in all of the events that they sponsored. As a matter of fact, the only time in my life I wanted to attend a summer camp was when I was a Boy Scout. Dad was on the road during the summer months playing county fairs throughout the northeast with either his own band or as part of the rhythm section of other bands. To me, this was more fun than camp and Mom and I always accompanied him on these summer excursions. The fall of my first year as a scout, the scoutmaster decided on a Halloween party to be held on October 31. Each patrol member then decided on whether we should show up in uniform or dress for Halloween. Hal- loween won out. I had to de= cide on a costume and made a decision based on some- thing that had happened a couple of years earlier, on January 17, 1950 ... the Brinks robbery. At about 7:30, the night of the 17th, a group of men dressed in Brinks uniforms and face masks, robbed the Brinks depository in Boston's North End. It soon became inter- national news as it was classified as one of the most brazen robberies in Ameri- can history. My decision was to design a Halloween costume that resembled one of the Brinks robbers but with a bit of comedy thrown in. I asked Babbononno for a pair of his old pants that weren't worn anymore. When he gave them to me, he added in an old sport jacket that had seen better days. I found a black dress shirt and a white necktie. With a farmer's back pocket handkerchief falling out of the breast pocket of the old sport jacket I was On my way. Dad came up with an old scally cap that Grandpa Christoforo had used when he worked on construction and it almost fit. The following day, I headed for a junk store that was located on Meridian Street between Eutaw and Trenton Streets, It was next to Lenny's Spa, a coffee shop that was a local hang out. When I say that they sold junk, I'm giving the mer- chandise they sold, a com- pliment. Anyway, I found a rubber mask that made me look like a tough guy. I also found a rubber cigar that I could add into the mouth area of the mask. A rubber knife and a large black plas- -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 tic pistol were shown to me by the store owner and I added them into the image I was trying to put together. I think I bargained with the proprietor of the store and purchased everything for about $1.50. It was all I had and I think he still made a profit. Once home, I found a child's brief case that Uncle Nick had given me when I started kindergar- ten. On the front of it, I pasted a piece of white cloth, but not until I painted a word on the front in all caps, BRINKS Well, the night of the Hal- loween party came and I dressed for the occasion. Babbononno supervised my comic appearance: his old pants were held up by a wide Garrison belt, and I added in the black shirt, white neck- tie, old oversized sport jacket with farmer's handkerchief hanging out of the breast pocket, and the scally cap placed on my head above the rubber mask with the cigar butt hanging out of the frowning mouth. The rubber knife and the pistol were tucked into the Garrison belt in plain view and the last touch was the brief case with BRINKS printed on the front. I accepted a ride to the party from Dad who was on his Way to work, playing for an adult Halloween costume party at the Copley Plaza Hotel. When I arrived at the lower level of St. John's church, I became an instant hit. All the other scouts were in costume but none came close to mine. I felt kind of proud of myself and my imagination. The evening continued and a record ma- chine played the songs of the day. I found it difficult to eat any of the food with my mask on and couldn't get the open end of a Coke bottle through the frowning mouth, so when I ate, off came the mask and everyone then knew who the little gangster was. After we all had eaten, someone announced that we were going to have a judging of the costumes for prizes. We scouts then marched around the perimeter of the assembly room in the base- ment of the church and when the music finally stopped, they announced the winners, "The prize for best costume goes to John Christoforo!" I jumped for joy. And to this day, I don't re- member who won second or third prize, or what I won for a prize. Unfortunately, no one took a picture and the parts of the costume are long gone. That episode of my young life happened over 60 years ago, and each October 31, when a child appears at my front door and announces, "Trick or treat," I think about that Boy Scout party from the early 1950s and the wonderful time I had. Happy Halloween, and GOD BLESS AMERICA Socially Scene (Continued from Page 9) the Orchestra's 2014-15 sea- sons. Tilson is currently the longest-tenured music di- rector at any major Ameri- can orchestra, and has sur- passed Pierre Monteux as the longest-tenured San Francisco Symphony Music Director. Tilson assumed his post as the SFS's 11th Music Director in Septem- ber 1995, consolidating a strong relationship with the Orchestra that began two decades earlier with his SFS debut at age 29, leading the Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 9. A Los Angeles native, Tilson Thomas began his studies at USC, where he studied piano with John Crown and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At 19, he was named Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation De- but Orchestra and worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland on premieres of their works at Los Angeles's famed Mon- day Evening Concerts. At age 24, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, Tilson Thomas was appointed Assistant Con- ductor of the Boston Sym- phony Orchestra (BSO) and made his New York debut when he replaced Music Director William Steinberg mid-concert at Lincoln Center. Violinist Gil Shaham was named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year" in 2012, and is regularly sought after for concerto ap- pearances with leading or- chestras and conductors. He routinely gives recitals and ensemble appearances on the great concert stages and at the most prestigious fes- tivals. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1971, and later moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin stud- ies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel's Claremont Com- petition, he became a schol- arship student at Juilliard, where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University. Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he re- ceived the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. Shaham plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children. The program to be performed by these master- ful artists; LISZT, Mephisto Waltz No. 1. PROKOFIEV, Violin Concerto No. 2. SAMUEL CARL ADAMS, Drift and Providence and RAVEL, Daphnis et Chlo6, Suite No. 2. The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers-from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more-to Boston's major con- The opener for the Boston Fashion Week show at the Liberty Hotel was Joelle Jean-Fontaine and KREYOL Collection that appeals to the young mod- ern women. (Photo by Angela Cornacchio) cert halls for 76 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to en- rich life experiences, trans- form lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where per- forming arts is a valued, lifelong, shared experience -- on stages, in schools, at home -- everywhere. Symphony Hall is located at 301 Massachusetts Av- enue, Boston. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling CelebrityCharge at 617-482-6661 Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, or at the Symphony Hall Box Office. A Tasty Treat ...'s 11th An- nual Flavors of Fall is a fundraising event celebrat- ing New England's bountiful fall harvest with delicacies from some of the most tal- ented chefs in Cambridge and Somerville. This year's event brings back the popu- lar VIP reception and fea- tures more restaurants than ever serving up savory and sweet selections from their late fall menus! It all happens on Novem- ber 17th at The Royal Sonesta from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm with a VIP reception 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The VIP ticket will include the main event, VIP Hour with cocktails, spar- kling wine, oysters and hors d'oeuvres. 100% of the proceeds go to support Youth on Fire, a non- profit with deep roots in the Cambridge area. Youth on Fire (YOF) is a program of AIDS Action Committee that supports a full range of ser- vices and resources designed specifically to meet the needs of homeless and un- stably-housed young adults. For more information on the event, tickets prices or to purchase tickets, visit www. bostonchefs, corn.