Members and friends of the Dante Alighieri Society joined the Gala on October 13, 2017 at “The Reserve” in Birmingham, to celebrate another successful year of Italian classes and cultural events.
DAS President, Lia Adelfi, welcomed the guests and introduced the 2017 Honoree of the “Dante Distinctive Citizen Award”, which went to Giovanni “John” Zaretti for his years of effort and passionate work towards promoting Italian culture through Opera in Michigan, Ohio and Canada. 
 Since he moved to Detroit from New Your in 1979 he started his music endeavors by making presentations and organizing exhibits on the life of Giuseppe Verdi and the history of Opera. Subsequently he co-founded the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan/Statue of Enrico Caruso Society in 1988 ( He also instituted the annual Italian Songs and Arias Vocal Competition for Michigan High School Students.
 After dinner, the guests enjoyed dancing to the notes of singer Ben Sharkey. His romantic style between swing and jazz standards, as well as more contemporary music, amused all the participants.
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