Dante Alighieri Society of Washington
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Summer Greetings from Joyce Rameé

per la diffusione della lingua e della cultura italiana nel mondo

Ciao a Tutti!

I’m very honored to hold this office, following the long tenure of our beloved Dan. It’s my pleasure to send midsummer greetings to everyone. I hope this finds you, your “bubble family,” your extended family and anyone you hold dear in Italy in good health and spirits. We all hope for relief from this terrible pandemic and for a return to the gatherings, in person, that we as Dante members hold so dear. MAY IT BE SOON!!! Meanwhile, I’d like to plant some seeds with you for what lies ahead for Dante in the near future.  

1) LANGUAGE PROGRAM You already received word that Giuseppe Tassone and his wonderful faculty are presenting ONLINE SUMMER LANGUAGE CLASSES for the first time. This is an exciting development following the amazingly successful online classes this spring. Online learning will continue in the school year ahead. Watch the Dante web site for details.

2) FALL DANTE MEETINGS First, a big thanks (since we couldn’t do it in person) to outgoing Program Chair Cecilia Paul! Dan DeMatteis is our new Program Chair, and he is working hard to find interesting programs that will be presented online via ZOOM, on the usual Wednesday nights. We’ll try to devise ways to be interactive during these sessions. Programming and start-times should be available by late August – meanwhile, save these dates: English meetings: September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9 (Christmas Party!) and Italian meetings: September 23, October 28. Our running times may vary from normal meetings, since we can’t actually eat together – BUT — I envision us gathering on Zoom, glass and plate in hand, starting the session with “what is your antipasto and vino tonight?” We can do this….

3) FESTA DI NATALE PER I BAMBINI Before the pandemic shut-downs made this moot, Caterina Wartes and I had spoken at length and decided that this program is no longer viable for Dante, at least not at this time. In recent years, the number of children attending from within Dante member families has dwindled significantly, and it has become difficult to get enough people to help. Indeed, now someone would need to step up to actually run it, as Caterina has retired from it. At some future point, when gatherings are allowed, if someone from Dante wants to lead it – either by presenting the event or leading our collaboration with another organization in presenting it – we can revisit whether to hold it again. Meanwhile, THANK YOU CATERINA AND ALL WHO HELPED HER with this program, beloved for so many years!

4) LA VOCE NEWSLETTER UPDATE “Shout out with all voices” to Linda Heimbigner, who has officially retired her La Voce pen as our long time Editor. The newsletter – a means of sharing updates, stories, photos, recipes, events/books/movies and other bits of interest – is now going to have space on our beautiful Dante website. Andrea Aldrich, from our board, is receiving materials and coordinating how and when they will be posted. PLEASE JOIN THE FUN and send her some items of interest! aaldrichj@gmail.com

A few final notes – of course, Festa Italiana at Fisher Pavilion is postponed and the future date unknown. Also, continuing the news about memorials for Terry Hanlon, we will be thinking of a way to honor her memory online – most likely as part of our December meeting, since she was so involved in all things Festa di Natale. Stay tuned for details. Lastly, your Dante Board is meeting a few times this summer, discussing the Language Program classes and following up with Nic Minotti’s Governance Committee work (revision and updating of our Bylaws and Constitution). The latter will have a report out to all members in late summer, with plans to vote on the updates in September. Meanwhile, Board meeting minutes can be made available any time to any members who are interested. Email me.

For the rest of summer until we have more news, I wish you peace, sanity, occasional relief from your computer screen, and lots of good Italian food and beverage!

Joyce Ramee, Dante President


Summer Quarter Classes

New Online Review Classes starting on July 7th & July 11th 

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington – Italian Language Program, after the positive experience of our spring quarter online classes, is offering for the first time two summer online review sections. These classes are for students who with some previous exposure to the Italian language. During the summer sections, students will solidify what they learned in level A1 & B1 (fall, winter and spring) before advancing to the next level of Italian in the fall of 2020. Special attention will be given to improve speaking and listening comprehension skills. 

Students with no experience of Italian should enroll in Level A1 beginning in the Fall. The 2020-21 school year will start October 1st. Students who completed levels A1, A2 and B1 in the spring can enroll to the next level independently from the participation to the summer section. The registration deadline for Summer is July 3, 2020.



Summer 2020

Language Program News

Language Program Director Giuseppe Tassone

Jeffrey Freiberg is one of the students in our Italian Language Program.  He joined the Italian Language program in the fall of 2020 with the beginning level A1 and successfully completed his first year of Italian. Last November, Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association awarded Jeff with a scholarship to study for a month in Perugia. His trip was postponed until next summer but he found in our program a place to fulfill his passion for Italy and the Italian language.  Here is Jeff’’s experience in his own words.


2020 End of Quarter

Jeff Freiberg on the right with director Giuseppe Tassone and instructor Roberta Punzi at the end of fall quarter 2020 celebration.

Italy in Seattle with the Dante Alighieri Society – Italian Language Program

By Jeffrey Freiberg

Ciao a tutti, my name is Jeffrey Freiberg and I am thrilled to be heading to Perugia, Umbria next summer to continue my Italian journey. I’ve always been intrigued by Italian culture, due to having a grandmother whose family is from Palermo, Italy, to growing up in a city with a large Italian population – Philadelphia, to falling in love with calcio during the summer World Cup of 2006. It led to me selecting an Italian class with my two free elective classes while studying at Temple University ten years ago, and it culminated in my first trip to Italy last April. My wife and I got married at a villa in the small town of Poppi with our closest friends and family present, and then we spent the next 10 days touring 12 cities/towns mostly in central Italy. We fell in love with the playful spirit of the Italian people, the melodic language, the beautiful scenery and architecture, and of course, the heavenly food and drinks.

We immediately looked for ways to recapture that feeling we had in Italy once we got back to Seattle. Thankfully, we found the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington and the Seattle Perugia Sister Cities Association. Dante Alighieri offered two A1 classes this past year with two wonderful professors. Damiano Pinton and Laura Ciori are extremely skilled in helping all their students find an entry point into the language, no matter what their starting point is. They make class fun and social, and modify the textbook and curriculum to make it relevant to modern day Italy. I recently had the pleasure of meeting students from the advanced classes at an end-of-quarter social gathering in December and now I’m even more eager to continue through the classes at Dante Alighieri! Whether you just want to learn some basic phrases or become conversationally fluent, Dante Alighieri can get you there with their amazing professors.

DAS were quick to react to the COVID situation this winter and spring, leading to classes being held on Zoom. As a teacher myself, I know there’s no substitute to learning in person, but I’m amazed at how seamlessly and effectively our classes transitioned to Zoom. Luckily for me, DAS is offering a special summer session of classes where we will review the skills we’ve learned this year before we advance to the A2 classes starting this fall.

The application process for this scholarship was pretty straightforward. After filling out your scholarship application, Seattle Perugia Sister Cities Association (SPSCA) does a round of interviews before recommending their selections to their board. The interview was very informal and felt more like a fun casual conversation with others who share your passion for everything Italy related. SPSCA is a very welcoming community who shares Dante Alighieri’s mission of bringing people together to celebrate and explore Italian culture. Similar to Dante Alighieri, SPSCA also holds special gatherings and events throughout the year that are a great way to meet new people and enjoy various elements of Italy. 

I am currently a classroom teacher at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in the Central District. While I love my job and cherish every day with my students, it’s hard for me to deny that I’m in full countdown mode for next summer!

In Memoriam: Terry Hanlon (1931-2020)

It is indeed sad news for Dante Seattle to hear of the passing of Terry Hanlon. Terry was a long-time member of Dante and someone whose kindness, enthusiasm and hard work endeared her to everyone. Caterina Wartes and Gini Harmon made contact with Terry’s family this week after a long time not hearing from her, and learned that she passed away in February. Thanks to Gini, Caterina and others who have already shared some memories below about Terry. Anyone who wishes may send their own thoughts about her for inclusion in upcoming tributes to joyce@danteseattle.org.

“Terry grew up in New Rochelle, NY. Her parents were Italian immigrants who made their living in their Mom and Pop candy store. Terry was married for over fifty years and had four children. She loved to travel and took advantage of the standby flights she was entitled to because her daughter worked for the airlines. She was very adventurous, often traveling alone and staying in hostels well into her senior years. At Dante she was a bread and butter member; someone who could be depended upon to do a good job at the many roles she volunteered for. Among them, playing La Befana at the annual children’s party, hospitality coordinator at our meetings, not only seeing that we had beverages and snacks, but greeting those who were new, making them feel welcome. And, everyone remembers and enjoyed her deviled eggs. She was at every meeting, English and Italian whether she was interested in the topic of the evening or not. Is it any wonder that she will be missed?”

“A little bit of my heart is broken – our Terry, who I called Teresa, was often at the old meeting site on Beacon Hill before I arrived to open up. Together we chatted and prepared for the evening, she joyfully greeting each person as they arrived. Teresa knew where everything was in that big old cumbersome cupboard! If any of us could not find something – “go ask Terry” was our answer! She was ALWAYS there!! If she was not, we all noticed. She was a key member of the little crew that made Festa di Natale per i Bambini happen. For many years Teresa’s favorite job was to make cookies for the La Befana gift bags. And then one year we needed a new Befana and Teresa accepted the role. This was about 8 or 9 years ago. Teresa wore the long black skirt and shall and perfected her performance year after year until she could do it no longer after shoulder surgery. The children and their families always looked forward to this moment when she swept the floor around them as the story was being read. I knew Teresa loved being La Befana. After every Natale was over she would come over to me at the next meeting with the long black skirt neatly packed for me to guard until the next year’s event. We had a little bond that I can hardly explain, but that I know was there. Con speranza e affetto mia cara Teresa…tua Caterina”

“This is indeed sad news about Terry and a complete surprise. She was such a gracious person and will be forever missed by DAS.”
“I’m so sad to hear the news about Terry, to me she has always been “the welcoming face of Dante”, Dante hospitality itself, generous with hugs, and one of the much-loved La Befana impersonators for many years at Festa di Natale per i Bambini. Her warmth and smile brightened the room at all our gatherings, and her energetic outlook and zest for independent travel abroad were remarkable – she truly never seemed to age.”

“I am really sorry to hear that Terry has passed. I guess I felt that she would always be with us, bringing deviled eggs and flowers to our meetings, cleaning up in the kitchen and serving as our Befana.”

“I’m so saddened to learn the news about Terry. She was always such a warm and welcoming presence at the Dante meetings. I’m grateful that I got to see her at the Christmas party. I searched for her obituary in the Seattle Times but didn’t come up with anything.”

“I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Terry was one of the first Dante members I met and connected with. She always had such a sweet, joyful, and welcoming presence about her, even when facing serious health issues and her husband’s increasing needs and care. Terry’s beautiful spirit will live on in our fond memories of her.”

“I am so sad not to see her again. She was pleasant all the time, I will miss her.”

Club Alpino Italiano – Pacific Northwest

Club Alpino Italiano - Pacific Northwest

CAI Update

We hike – usually together. But in these days we hike solo and not on week-ends.

We have monthly hikes or other activities (except during this pandemic) and usually an international trip or exchange with Italy or another country each year. In 2019 we had a group go to Padua for two weeks of hiking adventures with CAI Padua. Their group was to come here this August, but due to the COVID-19, this is being postponed until next year. 

Also, several of us had plans in September with CAI Pisa (of which we are a subsection) to dedicate a trail in honor of Francesco as well as participate in additional hikes and activities.  This, too, is postponed until next year. 

Please see this brochure for a summary of our activities, which you may use to make hard copies.

Dante members are welcome and encouraged to join any of our local CAI-PNW hikes.

For more information, visit the CAI-PNW website.