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Lulu has been practicing a string of Italian songs in preparation for her school’s Christmas Concert – set for later this afternoon.

Although I am still not fluent in Italian, the repertoire includes a ditty about Moses, Jericho, something with a lot of “Hallelujahs”  in it – and then, rather out of the blue, the rousing 1960’s Gospel songOh Happy Day!” Yes, she sings it in English, but slightly off-key and with the cutest Italian accent ever.

Aliotti Elementary kids have been hard at work at school and Lulu has been practicing a lot here at home too – singing while she sets the table, singing in the bathtub, before she goes to bed, you get the idea.

Last night, she grabbed a baton and began “conducting” a choir of her stuffed animals.  She sang pretty loudly. I didn’t hear much from them, however.

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Lulu will be joining her fellow classmates to sing in an impressive 11th century stone church in the historic center of our adopted medieval town here in Arezzo.

The 11th century pieve where Lulu and her classmates will be singing

The 11th century pieve where Lulu and her classmates will be singing

It’s called the Santa Maria della Pieve and it is festooned in columns and carvings and stands guard overlooking the town’s main pedestrian shopping street, Corso Italia.

Pieve04There’s even a gold-cased relic inside that supposedly holds the head of Arezzo’s patron Saint – St. Donato (who apparently was beheaded up the hill near where the duomo now stands and his head rolled down here! – His body is enshrined up at the duomo.  I am not making this up!).

St. Donato's head.

St. Donato’s head.

Tour groups often stop in front of it and get lectures from their flag-holding guides.

When I was a kid, I sang in a few Christmas concerts. A couple in my tiny school’s auditorium or gymnasium. A few at the tiny little Methodist church we attended in Parker City, Indiana

But never in an eleventh century Italian church – complete with Saint’s head.

Oh my.

Merry Christmas, tutti!!

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