After the show is over, after the applause fades away, after the cameras are still and long after the tour moves on, dedicated IL Volo fans often speak of a sensation of buoyancy that lingers. Some fans are so captivated by the experience that they seek out a way to stay connected. A few fans become empowered with the need to share the experience on a personal page in Facebook or on a blog. Even fewer are able to meet the challenge of organizing a fan club via social media. One of the most prominent and user-friendly communication hubs for networking is Twitter. Anyone can have one or more accounts. As an innovative tool for communication, it is a smart, useful and immediate way in which large amounts of formerly disunited people can form a group around one common idea. “ILVOLOMIAMI” are one of those fan networks prominent on Twitter. Some months ago, I became a follower of their Twitter account. After not too long, they became a follower of mine. We’ve had several fun on-line exchanges about IL Volo or whatever comes to mind. Over the course of several weeks, I started to consider who was behind the curtain. Who are these fans who bring the fans to IL Volo and IL Volo to the fans? I contacted the leaders and asked if we could arrange to have a conversation with the goal of writing this article all about ILVOLOMIAMI.
~ Diana & Gaby ~
The principal managers are Diana, Gaby, two administrators and a crowd of contributors. They also maintain an account on Instagram and a page on Facebook. Diana started the club two years ago and annually arranges a Miami area get-together for the local members. According to Diana, “Gaby became a member in September after being enchanted with them at the Meet and Greet in Tampa 2013. Then she became VP in February 2014.” Gaby resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Gaby, “ became an official Ilvolover as soon as I heard them sing the first song live at the concert in Tampa back in September. I had always admired them before because of their talent & specifically because of how real, humble and sweet you would see them towards fans & the things I would read about them in regards to their families as well. It was thanks to my younger sister Rebecca who introduced me to this IL Volo world that I am here today and I’m very thankful for it.”
This is an all volunteer home-based organization that maintains an on-line link continually monitoring and conversing with 10K followers of which they are currently following 10.1K. They have sent out 58+K tweets. When a fan chooses to follow on Twitter, the designation changes to member. As stated by Diana, “We are known as “ILVOLOMIAMI”and “ILVOLOMIAMI OWFC”. The OFWC stands for Official World Fan Club because everyone who follows us on Twitter or any social media is considered a MiamiIlVolover.” Membership in this fan club is extensive and international in scope. “ILVOLOMIAMI is a highly respected fan club in which all three members of ILVOLO follow them. Diana prides herself in knowing that Gianluca Ginoble followed ILVOLOMIAMI as #227, which equals 11 since Feb 6, 2012. That happens to be Gianluca’s favorite number since he was born February 11. Soon Piero Barone followed in June 2012 and Ignazio Boschetto followed in July that same year. Making ILVOLOMIAMI the first fan club to be followed by all 3 members of ILVOLO.”
I asked Diana and Gaby to write a biography for the readers:
Graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing. Currently pursing a career in nursing. I am a proud Catholic who loves to share my faith with all. Married to JC Velasquez for 15 years and have 2 daughters that I like to call “Mini- ILVolovers” Juliana and Daniella. Became a die hard fan of IlVOLO in July of 2012 after watching the PBS Detroit ILVolo Takes Flight. Founder and President of ILVOLOMIAMI and always has a 30 second commercial on ILVOLO ready to go at a moments notice.
My life verse is
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)”
“I was born in Brooklyn, NY of Ecuadorian parents & very proudly call myself Ecuadorian (although I was not born there) and American. My parents decided to move us back to Ecuador and I basically finished all my studies there and graduated in Ecuador as a Clinical Psychologist. The most rewarding job I had was to work with children with Down Syndrome & with refugees in Ecuador. I moved back to the States three years ago & live in Atlanta, and currently work with the State of Georgia.
I’m passionate about social issues, especially women and girls empowerment, refugees, immigration, human rights among a few.
I also of course have my lighter side, I love to dance, especially my Flamenco dance, I love music, singing, reading books and watching a good movie. I’m not married and don’t have children but I love my 2 nieces & nephew as if they were my own. God, family and my friends are the most important things in my life. I firmly believe that no amount of money or love from another person will ever make you feel complete if you aren’t happy with yourself & love yourself first.”
The immediate impressions of Diana and Gaby are energetic, smart, passionate, educated, wholesome and spiritual. The message of their club is that fans are embraced and welcomed as members of the IL Volo Extended Family. Humans are highly social by nature and have a need to congregate and share experiences. Fans are recognized and celebrated for becoming a part of a larger purpose. The philosophy of “ILVOLOMIAMI” is Be the Love, Share the Love, We are Love. They are skillfully, purposefully crafting a culture of inclusiveness based in the larger social message of IL Volo: We Are Love.
Diana and crew are here to serve IL Volo and the fans. Fans come to the club for acceptance and to have a voice. To be recognized and be acknowledged. From Diana, “One aspect of ILVOLOMIAMI that is very important to us is the respect we have within other fan clubs. We have built stong bonds with other IlVolo Fan Clubs and are continuously working to promote the message of We Are Love, so that all may feel welcomed and a part of something greater than themselves.”
The critical ingredient to their success as communicators and managers is that their work is faith-based. Their motivation to serve the community is largely derived from the strength of belief in God/Love. I attach God to Love as I could not discern a difference in meaning. This is not God in the abstract, but a sensation that God/Love is present and the source. The greater purpose is to empower others with Love.
~ IL Volo ~
Based on the amount of attention and time given to IL Volo and the fans, I asked Diana and Gaby if they had a sense of what fans need to know about IL Volo. Was there something in all the tweets and moments that was being overlooked? Something the general public could be aware of? The response was that their private lives are to be respected. Refrain from gossip or judgement. Mistakes will happen but above all else, respect their private lives.
Of Gianluca Ginoble, they sensed an old soul, a gentle man who is a listener by nature. “What I love about Gianluca is that he is a perfectionist and will let you know when taking a picture which is “his good side!”” Gaby stated that “he observes everything and takes it all in before he says anything and speaks directly from the heart.”
In Piero Barone, Gaby says “ has this approachable sense to him, I feel like you can become instant friends with him and that he will give his friendship whole heartily.” He will greet you as “Ciao bella”.
In Ignazio Boschetto, a tender heart who’s gift is shyness, “however he is such a loving person and treats everyone like a delicate flower by giving gentle one arm hugs as though not to break you.” Gaby followed up with, “Ignazio although shy is a sweetheart, it’s no wonder many fans call him the Teddy bear of the three.”
As Diana says, “They all have the magnetism that draws you to them and when they look at you for the brief moment, you are all they see, you are captivated and a surreal feeling overcomes you [as] though you are dreaming this moment is actually happening.”
~Family & Faith ~
The key to IL Volo success is strongly attributed to their culture. Italian culture in general upholds the foundation of life to be in family and faith. Their parents and extended families are a source of support, comfort and acceptance. They can return to the nest for solace and security. On a weekly, if not daily basis fans are often sent photos from the family gathered around the table. Italy is 90% Catholic. Piero demonstrates his faith in the practice of wearing the cross over his voice box. Without a word, he sends the message that he is asking for protection and singing through his faith. He has said several times, the gift of song and IL Volo are because of God.
The familiarity and ease with which IL Volo share their lives, family and friends with the expansive international audience is notable. I’ve come to understand that IL Volo see us as a larger part of their extended family. If we accept them, they accept us and share the connection. Fans feel included, welcomed and cherished. The source seems to be an unconscious understanding of the guidance of a higher power. Diana and Gaby are part of the extended family and transmit this philosophy. At the heart of it all, is a heart of Love. This is a blessing to be shared.
Florida and Miami have become a special place for IL Volo with two PBS Specials filmed at The Jackie Gleason Theater at Miami Beach and numerous sold out concerts. They traveled to Disney World in Orlando Florid to be a part of the Christmas Special aired on Christmas Day 2013. Miami is a culturally rich city and the gateway to the Americas. This is the Southern Melting Pot and an influential cultural crossroad. According to Diana, “IL Volo will be taping April 22 for the show Sabado Gigante, a Spanish Variety Entertainment show based out of Miami. IL Volo have been nominated as Top Latin Album Artist of the Year, Duo or Group and Top Pop Album Artist of the Year, Duo or Group. Latin Billboard Award Ceremonies April 21 – 24.
I came away from the conversation dazzled by the warmth, energy and sincerity of Diana and Gaby. They were eager to tell their story and share their thoughts. The belief in God and a higher purpose surrounding their activities was present. There was a sense of happiness as a way of life in their voices. The key to their success is a collaborative, inclusive communication style that reflects directly to the goal of unity. They are successful at transmitting their internal foundation of strong spiritual values and an unshakeable belief in a higher power from them and IL Volo. “ILVOLOMIAMI” and IL Volo have in common the ability to see what is unique in each person and celebrate that unconditionally. Their mutual motivations are fueled by patient welcoming happiness. Slowly and with great care they are transforming lives. Be the Love, Share the Love, We are Love.
As written by Frances Wychorski