Janis Rahner Blank ~ Quiet Leader
Il Volo, the Italian trio of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginbole, have been performing and crafting the musical arts together for five young years. They hail from Italy and sing in a full-bodied, rich lyrical pop style attracting the respect and admiration of millions of fans in the Americas and Europe. Their music is notable for the progressive maturity of their voices and a harmonic resonance that grows with each passing year. They are captivating performance artists that reach into many a sensitive heart. Once the heart is awakened it never does let go. The majority of fans tend to find one if not all of the performers equally delightful. It’s a beautiful, world to be a part of.
As is not unusual with musical artists, a colony of fans has gathered together in support finding communities on social media where direct interaction with Piero, Ignazio, Gianluca, as well as with their families and friends can be experienced. In typical Italian style, a loose large extended family is formed wherever they go. The community of fans that has grown around Il Volo include numerous blogs, pages, groups and clubs. Those dedicated fans who wander into Facebook will eventually find their community and check in often for news. Those fans comfortable with public commentary, will venture a like, or reply on postings, videos or pictures and begin to share experiences routinely. A “relationship” and network of contacts will begin to form. Fans can be as public or private as is comfortable. Hopefully, a fan friend, will refer to Janis Rahner Blank a distinguished daily columnist. In my continued series of discussions with the fans of Il Volo, Janis was high on the list of people I most wanted to speak with.
Janis lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter and cats. She graduated from William Patterson State College with a degree in Primary Education and taught kindergarten for six years. When her daughter was born, she stepped away from teaching full-time to raise their child and took substitute positions in teaching. Finding this unsatisfying, Janis became a professional craftier and enjoyed making, buying, selling and trading needlepoint. Needlepoint is a fine arts craft that creates an embroidered design in fabric used for gifts or adornment of household goods, linens or clothing. Due to economic shifts in the household, Janis found it necessary to go back into the workforce taking a position in a clothing store rising to the level of manager. When the store closed, Janis became a cashier at Rite Aid and retired recently after 12 years of employment.
Janis has travelled to Switzerland on a New Jersey Education trip. In the US, she has traveled out west to California visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, Nevada. Up and down the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Janis “started taking piano lessons when I was 11 until I was 18. My sister before me also took lessons and the piano we both practiced on is in my house now. My father bought it in 1944 with $2 bills he saved when they were in circulation. I’ve always loved music and harmony and sang in choruses and choirs in Jr and Sr. High School and in College. I sang in a group called the Chansonettes in College and we were honored to sing at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, NY.”
A Columnist Emerges
Janis discovered Il Volo during the March 2012 broadcast of Il Volo Takes Flight at the Detroit Opera House Performance for PBS television. She became fascinated by the group and took to social media to find out more about these young men. Janis had become a member of Facebook in 2008 for connection to family and friends. She used this handy resource and quickly found fans, fan pages and friends to be with. People need to meet and be with like-minded folks to expand and understand their attraction. Il Volo not only sing well, but they are charming, highly communicative and for the most part, manage their own PR. They keep the fans interest simply by being themselves. In August of 2012, Janis began to include a line or two of personal commentary on her page about Il Volo. Several people commented favorably and asked her to continue the daily posting.
Janis is an early bird and started a habit of checking the twitter postings from Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca daily. Her column has evolved to include quotations from tweets, and Facebook pages of the boys as she loves to call them. On banner days or nights when Gianluca is having a flood of thoughts and postings, she tries to summarize the activity. Many fans have come to rely on her daily posting for the latest news. Il Volo enjoy sharing their success with the fans. Some may not have access or understand how to maneuver in Twitter or Facebook. Janis provides the vital daily report on activity overnight from Italy or on the road. She is notable for tracking the airplane on the flight from point to point and uses a website called Flight Aware to watch the progress. She uses simple detective work to source out the flight number and is a must-go-to friend for this level of detail. Her daily column has become so popular that it is shared or posted in several groups. Janis said, “my daily message is shared with about a dozen Il Volo fan pages and also with Ercole on his timeline in both English and Italian.” Indeed, a majority of fans on Facebook start their day by reading Janis’ column. It’s a must read for fans!
Janis is a quiet leader and confidently gathers friends and supporters on her page. She has well over 1000 friends and is in numerous clubs and groups. She befriended Ercole Ginoble and has enjoyed a companionship with him on-line and in person. She describes Ercole as an active member in Facebook often reviewing fan postings to understand the chatter around the group and from time to time, make a correction for accuracy in reporting. Janis attended the September 29, 2013 concert at Wallingford CT. She stayed at the very same hotel as Il Volo, their parents and the entire band. While there, she made connections with each of the band members and to this day, stays close relaying news for the upcoming USA tour in June. Janis and Donna Pothier had the great pleasure of meeting Eleanora Ginoble on the elevator. Despite a language barrier, the women made a connection. She also met Ercole Ginoble and later that night, Gianluca at the Meet & Greet. Janis shared a scrap-book she created with Ercole intended as a gift for the boys. Signori Barone and Boschetto were also at this show. Apparently, the stay at the hotel was as satisfying, even more so, than the show itself. Janis saw an opportunity and in her quiet, friendly way, reached out and connected as one parent to another.
Janis spends a fair amount of time exploring the world of Il Volo, watching videos, gathering notes and anecdotes, forming bonds and a network of support. It’s her steady devotion to the advance of their artistry that is the prime motivator. She simply wants to know if they are okay and share that with fans.
I asked her a pointed question about Gianluca, given his age and popularity of fans on Twitter and his two Facebook pages, is he aware of his power? How is he handling this? Given the nature of men and women, some fans can become needy and misunderstand friendly postings taking things too personally and experiencing confusion over a social media connection. Of the three artists, he seems to be the most interactive on social media, late into the night tweeting around, with or to fans. Gianluca follows 1,644 of all 97,7K fans or 1.7%. Some of the fans on Twitter show an intense level of interest in being followed and knowing who the artists follow. The activity of the fans can at times be dramatic. When he follows a fan, it can become quite a display. Janis responded that he was very caring and compassionate person and sensitive to his fans. At times, a personal interest is taken due to illness or a dangerous situation as happens in the world. He has a sensitive side to him and sees nothing out of the ordinary with how and what he communicates with fans. By nature, he appears to not be a social butterfly and prefers the more intimate space of Twitter.
Janis Daily Journal
Sorry for being a little late this morning but it seems my body decided I needed a little more sleep…didn’t get up till 5AM. I hope you all survived Mothers Day with lots of flowers and candy and most of all, love. It seems Piero surprised his Mom with a cake and flowers and best of all, a video of himself singing Mama to her, Meanwhile, Gianluca posted, “We are going to the beach” with a picture of himself sitting under the beach umbrella. And we all know how the sea sir can tire you out. His next tweet was, “I need to sleep”. But not long after that he retweeted, “Rome-Juvantud, calcio d’inizio kick off, Forza Rome! And his last message of the day was, “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.” Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero, if that’s true… that love is like a virus, we all must be very sick people! For we caught that virus the minute we saw you and realized who you were and heard your beautiful music. And we’ve been sick ever since and I hear there is no cure for this virus. It’s called Ilvoloitis! Oh my, what are we to do??!! I guess we’ll just have to live with it. Will we survive?? You bet we will. We will survive and go out into the world and infect everyone else with this virus because once you’ve got it you just can’t help but pass it on. And it’s all because WE LOVE YOU!! Eleven
This is a typical column from Janis dated May 12, 2014. Not only does she share a summary of events, but always includes well wishes. Her brevity is refreshing. In a few words, she conveys fan sentiment and support. She is able to read the audience well and respond to the “mood” of the day or event.
The number eleven is significant for Janis. All her life, this number has been repeated in family birthdays, including her own of February 11th, sharing a birth date with Gianluca. Her daughters original due date was the 11th and her parents moved into a house number 11, etc…Curious, I looked into numerology and came up with some interesting writings. Apparently it is called a Master Number due to the doubling of digits. The number 1 becomes doubled to 11. The number is not condensed to 2 but remains as is. The attributes of the number 1 double in strength.
Individuals with the Life Path number 11 are very intuitive, in fact it is the most intuitive of all numbers. They are sensitive and have a great understanding of others, and can sense a great deal about what is going on behind the scenes. For example, they will pick up on people’s relationships and health without being told anything. They are here to use their gifts of intuition, and sensitivity to help others.
Life path of 11 has the qualities of the number two magnified. If you have this number you are spiritually aware, a visionary, inspiring, charismatic, inventive, a dreamer, idealistic, and a deep thinker, and you rely on faith rather than logic to deal with the life and all it has to offer.
The challenge for Elevens is to not be overwhelmed by their gifts. Fears and phobias would be the downside of this number. They may also seem at times indecisive, impractical, nervous, and moody.
The number 11 life path is concerned with spiritual illumination. Often a number 11 will have an instinctive understanding of metaphysical matters. Because Elevens are also Twos, they have the strength to finish what they start. 11 is also a good number for forming partnerships … you work and play well with others. You are likely to marry young and be committed and faithful for your entire life.
Below are some key points you might want to take into consideration to help you on your path …
An 11 may appear to lead a life of extremes. It is really a search for balance in all areas of life. 11s are avant-garde and visionary individuals who make great students, psychics, mystics, healers, teachers, writers, musicians and artists.
You probably like habit and routine, it gives you a foundation from which you can explore. You might not be a leader, but you are a visionary and a very talented idea person. Your ability to quickly and accurately analyze a situation is a real strength in the business world. You are a perfectionist, but you usually measure up.
An unhappy 11 will find themselves always dreaming of big schemes, but never taking practical action to pursue those goals. This means the 11 is stuck in the “visionary” stage of enlightenment, and probably needs to address fear issues.
An 11/2 can be your own worst enemy. You’re driven to perfection, but sometimes that just means you’re on a carousel that won’t stop. Learn to call it a day and don’t get caught in self-blame.[i]
Keys to Success
Janis’s voice was gentle, prepared and steady on the phone. What was to be a brief conversation went on for 1 ½ hours. She had much to share and was happy to talk about her favorite subject. Her family is okay with her interest but do not share the intensity.
Janis reminded me a bit of Miss Marple, the Agatha Christie character who used her powers of observation, intellect and discretion to solve puzzling crimes. There is no detail too small or large to not look into. She is the Il Volo Facebook Historian and often comes through with a timely response to a fan question in any group at any time. She is self-reliant and steady, curious and friendly. If you are a fan, you are a friend. She shares public and private conversations, but is discreet at all times. She is devoted to Il Volo and in particular, the Ginoble family. There is a common way to greet an Italian for the first time, Piacere di conoscerla. This translates: Pleased to Know You. And, she is just that. By giving her full attention and honoring her fascination, she has kindly advanced the qualities of Il Volo including, a love of music, the gentle joy and strength of fine young men, the affinity of family and honoring parents, the ability to sing well and advance the musical arts, the awareness of something beautiful and the sacredness of belonging to a community. Il Volo give to devoted fans, a chance to be a little better than they are and do things beyond preconceived limitations. Janis has followed this quality and gives to her readers a fine example of what you can become when you believe in yourself.
In the end, it’s all about the music, and the music is beautiful.
[i] Seventh Life Path
Written by Frances Wychorska, May 2014