“The History of Little Italy”: Celebration of Italian Culture


May 23rd, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Carmelita de la Guardia

Omaha, NE—This Saturday, May 27, the Bancroft Street Market will host “The History of Little Italy,” a unique event celebrating the rich Italian influence on Omaha. Guests can enjoy the music, art, storytelling, and cooking of Italian artists and artisans whose families who have made it to Omaha at some time or another. Carmelita de la Guardia, cabaret singer and event organizer, explained the intent of “The History of Little Italy.”

“What it is is storytelling from different people that have families that have come from Italy, from Sicily, from Carlentini, from all parts of Italy I should say, but basically Carlentini because there are so many of us,” de la Guardia said. “I’m also an immigrant and came when I was a child, so I just thought that the stories are so important. We need to keep on doing these stories, telling the stories.”

De la Guardia will perform herself—classics, such as “Time to Say Goodbye,” “O’ Sole Mio,” and “Volare.” She will also perform original work.

De la Guardia was born in Sicily. Her father, originally in the orange business back in Italy, eventually made a life here in Omaha working in produce. De la Guardia values these stories and how they’ve shaped culture in the US.

“Well we’re immigrants,” de la Guardia said. “This country right now, I have to say there’s a lot of tension because of immigration, and I just thought, well, we’ve got to tell the stories of all these people because we’re all part of this melting pot and it’s made America beautiful America wonderful. It is the country where there’s hope and when I say that I feel very moved because my father and mother used to always say, ‘America. It’s the best. There’s nothing better than this country,’ because there’s freedom. We can be who we want to be here.”

De la Guardia does not intend on highlighting Little Italy’s importance in just one event, but would like to see more Italian immigrants and descendants share their stories and crafts.

“We’re asking all those families that are here to tell their stories, so yes I’m looking for other stories,” de la Guardia said. “I invite those that are Italian, those [stories] that have come from moms and dads, grandparents and those that are here today—first generation. We’d love to hear your stories.”

Experience “The History of Little Italy” this Saturday, May 27, at 7pm at the Bancroft Street Market. For more information about performers or tickets, visit carmelitadelaguardia.com, or call 402.203.1781.

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