Italy the country of music. The country of “Belcanto”; voices trained as instruments, virtuosities performed in operas. The country of choirs, in which thousands of voices flow together as one. The country of some of the finest orchestras in the world, who render full justice to some of the finest composers such as Ennio Morricone and Ezio Bosso. Both gone from the physical world, but who will remain forever in their music.
Are we done? Not at all. Italy is also the country of bands, and this is a story which strikes close to home, because the Glenn Miller Band is one of the excellencies of Bedonia.
Once upon a time, there was a young man with a dream. That young man was Daniele Cacchioli, and he dreamt of gathering people with a passion in common, giving them an instrument to play, and together making wonderful music – he dreamt a band. The first encounter that Daniele had with music, was when, at the age of twelve, his father enrolled him in the band at Borgotaro, near Bedonia. He himself wasn’t too enthusiastic with the idea, but he complied to his father’s wishes, and studied trumpet with the Maestros Marusi and Zecca, who ignited the passion which was to accompany him from then on. Then followed advanced studies at the Conservatory, three years at Parma, and further in-depth studies at Brescia, under the expert wing of M°Guido Del Monte.
It was during this period that the idea of conducting his own band began to take shape in his mind. Whilst carrying out military service, Daniele had the opportunity to study band direction, and when he completed his service in 1997, he had obtained full certification, and was ready to launch himself into a new project.
And so it was that he approached the Mayor of Bedonia of that time – Dr Gianfranco Gandi, requesting permission and support in order to form a band in our town. The request was eagerly accepted, and together, the two men went to the local Primary school to illustrate the new initiative to the children. The idea went down extremely well, resulting in the adhesion of eleven children, and in July of that same year, the newly-born band performed its first service during Bedonia’s most important event – the festa of San Marco. In October ten more children joined the formation, and the band was well on its way!
Parents were very happy with this project, because it was giving their children a means of approaching music, a stimulus for active minds which needed to be orientated towards something worthwhile. And of course, practice left little time for roaming aimlessly around town. But being a band member also means becoming part of a big family, developing meaningful relationships with the others, learning to listen, to collaborate, to not prevail or override. Many precious life lessons in there…..
This band was not to be your usual run-of-the-mill thing in its creator’s mind. Being a lover of swing, jazz and alternative music, Daniele chose to take inspiration from one of the greatest trombone players ever, thus Bedonia had its very own Glenn Miller Band. Since then, many youngsters have lived the experience, and three of the original members are still going strong, although not quite kids any more!
In the year 2000, Daniele was asked to take over the direction of the neighbouring Albareto band (Gruppo Bandistico Albaretese), and the two groups became interchangeable, totally collaborative with each other. Now, both formations are called upon to animate any kind of local event, such as carnival, national holidays, Christmas and such.
Twentyfour years have flown by since the debut, and Daniele, now 48, is satisfied with the work he has carried out up until now. He has taken his music, and members of both bands all around Europe – Paris, Budapest, London, Barcellona, Prague, Vienna……in Italy he has visited Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin just to name a few. And talking of Rome, one of his fondest and most emotional memories dates back to September 2012, when they were received in audience by Pope John Paul II. A year later, in October 2013, the merged bands had the honour of performing on Fifth Avenue, in the Manhattan District, on the occasion of Columbus Day. The trip lasted for six days of glorious weather, and was organised in collaboration with the Valtarese Immigrant Society of New York.
In 2001, Daniele made another proposal to the local administration; a yearly gala of bands, featuring two guest formations from other towns at every edition. The proposal was accepted, and the annual concerts always attract a large, appreciative audience. A distinctive feature of any performance is the unusual choice of pieces included in their repertoire; the Maestro gives expression to his love of swing and jazz, and has succeeded in imprinting an indelible mark on his work.
His philosophy is that of giving and receiving pleasure from his music, and that is what he conveys to his students. No pressure, no forcing them to do anything. Just patience and the ability to understand and help them. When a new member enters the big band family, although sometimes they are compelled to leave due to changes of circumstances in life – they never, ever really do. Band is forever.