By Jon Wettingfeld
On the crisp night of Dec. 18, amid a spectacular display of lights festooning neighborhood houses along 149th Street, there was an equally spectacular turnout at the spacious hall at the Veterans of Foreign War Post No. 4787 in Whitestone for our local VFW group’s big holiday party and fund-raiser.
Dinner, dancing and the holiday spirit prevailed as well as a successful turnout for a worthy cause. The VFW post commemorates the spirit and shared sacrifices for our troops in more than 11 wars over the 234 years of U.S. history, with members I spoke to at the post having seen combat from World War II and Vietnam through to today’s wars on terror.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States began in 1898, after the Spanish-American War, and is the oldest major veterans service organization in the United States, with nearly 3 million members. VFW is chartered by the U.S. Congress.
Ceremonies and speeches celebrating the holiday’s festive spirit were conducted by Post Commander William Costello Sr. Vice Commander Dr. David Copell, Post Advocate Ernest C. Malvicini and state Sen.-elect Tony Avella also made a special appearance.
He spoke passionately about the contributions of veterans, emphasized the importance to our community and the nation of the service of the armed forces to their country and remembered the sacrifices made on behalf of all Americans. He also conferred with individual VFW members as they socialized at the lively event.
Later, the music and holiday dancing began in earnest. After a smooth set of multi-decade music by local keyboard, guitar and vocal talent Vic Vincent, Avella and Malvicini then introduced the evening’s entertainment highlight: the elegant singing group Tre Bella.
This group, whose motto is “three beauties, one voice,” hails from Long Island and the city and came on the heels of appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel stage in Hollywood to the city’s San Gennaro festival and shows at St. Johns University on behalf of the Sons of Italy.
They lived up to their motto. Their superb, crisp vocal set included holiday standards like “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” Italian favorites like “Mamma/Volare” and contemporary holiday gems like “Santa Baby” (Eartha Kitt updated by way of Modonna).
Besides actively touring coast to coast, Tre Bella also just announced their deal to release an English/Italian single with an L.A. dance record label with voice tracks being mixed in December. They made a big splash in Whitestone.
As the evening wound down, several hours of serious celebrating showed the strong community bonds uniting everyone in the spirit of both sacrifice and also the season.
You can read more about Tre Bella at trebella.us.