From Lukas ElzayekSinging to me means more than notes on a paper; as a child growing up during the civil war of Lebanon, singing was an escape, a blessing, and a way to keep the mind and the heart alive. My earliest memories with singing were when we would be rushed to the bomb shelters, terrified by the horrific sounds of canon fire, gun shots, and chaos, we would sit there in almost complete darkness, and, to lift our spirits, and mask the sounds of War, we would all sing. We would sing nursery rhymes, popular songs, even make up our own songs; we would sing until we knew that the world was safe again, and [we would] leave the shelter with peace in our hearts. In a way, it saved our lives. When I joined Ragazzi under the superb direction of Joyce Keil, all those memories came back, and no matter how bad my day seemed, singing with Ragazzi always made me smile through my heart. One year, after my family received citizenship, Ragazzi was invited to sing the National Anthem at the Giants game. A day that literally brought tears to my eyes as I sang on that field: to be a citizen with the choir that brought me so much joy, and peace, I felt a joy that can never be explained through words, but maybe through song (haha).
To this day I remember the friendships, the songs, Joyce and her passion and dedication to Ragazzi. I remember Italy tour, all the fun times we had, a Nun named Sister Maria that yelled at me for "sagging" and the beautiful memories that will stay in my heart for ever. Ragazzi is a family, a friend, and peace of mind for me, that I can never forget, and that I, to this day tell all my friends about. And once in a while, you can catch me singing along to the Raggazzi CD at the top of my lungs.
Thank you Joyce Keil, and the entire Ragazzi family for helping preserve the gift of music that means so much in my life.