Hi, here is my story as a fan of Piccolo Coro and Zecchino d’Oro:
Hello all! My name is Markus Laire and I’m 36 years old fan of Piccolo Coro and Zecchino d’Oro from Finland.
(Sorry that I don’t have a better photo to include, this is from 2015 and about my hobby of programming, computers and electronics. But on to the real topic …)
I don’t remember when I started watching Zecchino d’Oro, but I do remember that at least I was watching Zecchino d’Oro of 1997. Finnish television channel YLE TV2 used to show Zecchino d’Oro in every January with Finnish subtitles for all the songs. For many years, after Christmas and New Year, the next thing I waited for was Zecchino d’Oro. I liked listening the various languages presented in the program and I watched it nearly every year, keeping my own score of each song while listening and deciding which song was the winner in my opinion.
Unfortunately Zecchino d’Oro 2011 was the last one to be shown in Finland. For few years after that I checked every January just in case it would be restarted but never did. I sometimes thought that maybe I should try to find if there are any videos available in Internet, but didn’t get around to it.
Eventually I did search for videos, but initially wasn’t that interested. While there were many videos available, rarely did they have English or Finnish subtitles so I didn’t understand anything, and I was so used to having Finnish subtitles. While searching for videos I also learned about Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano, and that they don’t sing just in Zecchino d’Oro but also in various other events, which I hadn’t known about at all as I was only watching Zecchino d’Oro.
I kept watching YouTube videos about Piccolo Coro, especially those not from Zecchino d’Oro, which I hadn’t ever seen before. And I started to like them more and more, even though I only understood few words here and there (words which I recognized based on my knowledge of English and occasionally Latin, of which I know few words). Luckily lyrics are often easy to find with Google, and Google Translate from Italian to English is usually somewhat understandable.
But I didn’t like at all that the various videos available in YouTube were so scattered around. Since I love to organize things, I started to sort these videos into different playlists. It soon became clear that my playlists about Piccolo Coro would far surpass my other playlists, so I decided to create a dedicated channel “Piccolo Coro Playlists” for them. This channel now has over 2000 videos in playlists and I’m already planning an additional project which would organize videos much better than what is possible on a YouTube channel. (I tend to start huge projects which will never be finished…)
At some time between 57th and 58th editions of Zecchino d’Oro I learned that internet broadcasts of RAI 1 are sometimes watchable from Finland. The 58th Zecchino d’Oro in 2015 was watchable and it became the first edition in which I watched the original Italian broadcast live. And it is so far the only one as 59th edition wasn’t watchable live from Finland. Fortunately the most important parts, i.e. the songs, were published almost immediately at rai.it, and as I don’t particularly like all the extra things included in the program, I didn’t mind that much seeing only the songs. (The full episodes were published few days after the initial broadcasts.)
Now, while I like languages, I have always hated actually learning languages in school, including English and my native language Finnish.
But what do you know, in 2016 this interest in Piccolo Coro videos led me to start learning Italian. It helped a lot that I found a website babbel.com where learning is quite different than in school, and I’m now thinking that I would like Italian to someday become my third fluent language after Finnish and English. But I have many projects going on, so it remains to be seen whether this will ever happen.
Nowadays, after listening Piccolo Coro and Zecchino d’Oro videos at least many thousands of times, I consider Piccolo Coro “Mariele Ventre” dell’Antoniano to be my favorite choir of all. When I try to think about why I like Piccolo Coro and Zecchino d’Oro so much, I can’t quite grasp it. Because there just isn’t a single clear reason behind it, but quite many different reasons:
– The Italian language is so beautiful to listen to. I now think that Italian is the most beautiful language in the world.
– The full repertoire of Zecchino d’Oro consists of so many different nationalities. It’s so fun to listen to so many different languages, different pronunciations of Italian, and of course songs whose lyrics and music reflect their nationalities.
– There are so many different songs (over 700 from Zecchino d’Oro and also other songs) and while I don’t like them all, there are so many I do like.
– I love the idea of Zecchino d’Oro that children do not compete against each other – songs do. Also having a jury of children decide the winner is great. (btw, Zecchino d’Oro is known in Finland with name “Lapset laulavat lapsille” which means “Children singing tochildren”)
– The perceived emotions of others touch me easily. Watching actual videos which show the choir, soloists and also reactions of audience is much more enjoyable than just listening a song. And there are so many such videos in YouTube. (If it were possible to buy video DVDs of Zecchino d’Oro broadcasts, I’d buy them all – but CDs or animated stories do not interest me that much.)
– While occasional exceptions are nice, when Piccolo Coro is singing, it is generally just about singing, and not about trying to perform something else while singing.
– Many great singers. And they certainly do not need to be perfect to be nice to listen to.
– Many beautiful lyrics, definitely not just for children. Also I love imagination, and children’s songs tend to be quite imaginative.
– As a Christian I appreciate that there are also songs with Christian themes. My favorite of these is perhaps “Caro Gesù ti scrivo”. (I do not know my overall favorite of Zecchino d’Oro – just too many great songs to pick one.)
– Trying to understand what is being sung is a fun challenge, especially now that I’ve actually started to understand some Italian.
There are also quite many YouTube videos with Italian subtitles, which helps a lot while still learning the language.
ok, that’s enough reasons for now, even though there are likely even more. Currently I’m eagerly awaiting to know which foreign songs will be selected for 60th Zecchino d’Oro. Even though I was initially disappointed that nowadays there has been only two foreign songs each year, the good thing is that it’s now easier for Piccolo Coro to take part in singing in foreign languages. “Pikku Peikko” was fourth Finnish song in Zecchino d’Oro but first in which Piccolo Coro sang in Finnish. 🙂