Carol and Peter are from Llangollen, North Wales and have visited Cavtat several times. They have kindly offered us their thoughts on Cavtat, Llangollen, family, urbanization.
American of Irish-Italian descent
CP: How about giving us a look behind the scenes even further? How about a few words about yourself?
S: Sure. I am an American of Irish-Italian descent. Every so often my father jokingly tells me he couldn’t find an Italian woman that special night some 23 years ago. I was born in Staten Island, NY, in the most heavily Italian section of Staten Island, the South Shore.
CP: Irish-Italian ancestry, interesting…
S: My maternal grandfather, John Donoghue, served as a general under Michael Collins of the Irish Republican Army, while my paternal grandfather, Alfred Galligano, chose a career of a postal worker. His story is very tragic, but also very motivating to me. Alfred was a very smart man who dreamed of becoming a pharmacist. Once he received a full scholarship to go to New York University achieving his dream seemed more possible than ever. But then, it was suddenly shattered when his father, my great grandfather, committed suicide. Alfred was forced to support his siblings and mother so he dropped out of college and become a postal worker.
It was one of those typical midweek days when a colleague of mine dropped me a note about a show in a local club. “A friend of mine, Stats, is performing stand-up comedy,” he said. Nice!
Before I knew it, Saturday rolled in and, by the evening, I was on my way to the Gotham Comedy Club - one of Manhattan’s premier clubs for up and coming performers, surely, but also a tried and tested favorite venue of many stars of the show biz. Think: Seinfeld and company.
I negotiated a corner and started down the 22nd street. I was there in a hop.
As soon as I walked into Gotham's anteroom, somewhat surprisingly, I was immediately drawn into the depth and breadth of the place. The photos covering and coloring the walls of the anteroom, though leaving a bit to be desired (in terms of aesthetics), spoke volumes of Gotham’s zeitgeist, and I felt a certain, albeit as yet undefined, connectedness to the club. Yeah, you might be right to call it a transcendent experience of sorts.
Through a heavy, dark curtain, I got escorted to my table in the main performance hall filled with guests. There was a well-lighted stage elevated to just above the tables. This ensured an unobstructed visual joy to its patrons.
“Yeah, you bet ya,” I responded to the waitress’ suggestion to bring me some drink or another as I sunk in the comfy semi-rounded booth awaiting Stats to climb the stage and do the show. . .
It was a success!
It was around 9am the other day that I picked up a phone receiver and dialed a number in New Jersey.
"Hey Joe!”, I said, “how about a few self-describing words for our fellow web-surfers, the visitors to Cavtatportal.com?"
Joseph is an Italian-American gentleman whom I had a pleasure of working with sometime ago. He agrees without much fudging around. "All right", he says.
Manhattan Island Marathon Swim route, counter-clockwise
On June 24, 2006, the intrepid Credit Suisse Corporate Relay Swim Team braved the waters around Manhattan, competing for the fourth time in the annual Manahattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) while raising money for charities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
To date, thousands of men and women from all corners of the world, whether solo or as part of a team, have completed the 28.5 mile swim that goes full circle from the South Cove up the East River, accross Manhattan through the Harlem River, and down the Hudson to finish back at the starting point.
Strictly controlled and well executed, the MIMS, along with ten other shorter distance swims, is organized by the Manhattan Island Foundation, Inc. (MIF). MIF is a 501c3 founded in 1993 to support and expand public Lean-to-Swim programs throughout New York City and aid the efforts to clean and protect the waters that sorround New York. Having swum through the flotsam and jetsam in the rivers around Manhattan on four different occassions, I can certainly vouch for the indispensability of the latter.
The Most Difficult Challenge
'The degree of harmony among the personalities within the ensemble
CP: What was the most difficult challenge you had to tackle?
RV: The most difficult thing was getting used to one another. We do more than 200 public performances per year and that means spending a whole lot of time together. We're talking about eight different personalities here. It took a good while before we learned how to best work with one another, to think like a family, to really click. There is no mystery in the fact that the degree of harmony among the personalities within the ensemble greatly impacts the quality of sound.
The Early Days
CP: Hearing you sing, you gentlemen sound as if you sung together for centuries. Did you always sound so good? Could you tell us a bit about your early days?
RV: Thank you. Klapa 'Ragusavecchia' was formed in the Fall of 1998 when several Dalmatian folk-song enthusiasts, headed by Maro Saulović and Viktor Kužnin from Cavtat, endeavored to engage their musical talents in klapa-style singing.
We meet Tricia Kendall, a pretty Caribbean-American accountant, at the Riis Park beach, New York. Her topaz bikini is a few shades lighter than the Atlantic that spreads out as far as the eye can see and beyond. She quickly patch-dries and lays on her towel. She then kindly agrees to a brief interview and sits up, her back toward the sun.
I catch up with Rob, a tough-looking football player and a body builder, at the office of one of the investment banks where he works. It's late afternoon, but three monitors in front of him are still quite vivid, phone keeps ringing. We get through the first few minutes of distractions and a brief discussion about his work (Trading Assistant) and Rob's story begins.
Born in Dubrovnik in 1973. Shortly after, his family moved to Cavtat. Spent the college years (and then some) in the US, mostly in NYC. Organizational behaviorist, HR L&D expert, published author, show-host (TV & radio), afficionado of water sports and tennis. Cavtatportal's editor-in-chief.