16 Luglio 1939 - 16 Dicembre 1995
Mariele Ventre - born Maria Rachele - was the founder and director of the 'Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano' of Bologna (The Little Choir of Antoniano) for more than thirty years. She was born in Bologna on 16 July 1939. Her parents came from Lucani, and they frequently took the child to the convent of Antoniano in the city: when she was young she learned catechism and after she graduated with her masters degree in the pianoforte in 1961, she went to the Conservatory of Milan. The friar from Antoniano offered her employment in the first edition of the Bologna production (the first two were produced in Milan) of the television program “Lo Zecchino d’Oro” in 1961 (The International Children Choir Festival) was conceived by the conductor Cino Tortorella who had participated in the program in the role of Mago Zurli (Zurli the magician) for 51 episodes. Mariele founded the 'Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano' in 1963. From then on Mariele dedicated her life to children’s music and to the 'Piccolo Coro' that, under her direction, was known all over the world (the children were between three and nine years old). After her death the choir was renamed 'Mariele Ventre’s Piccolo Coro' of Antoniano and is currently directed by Sabrina Simoni, one of Mariele’s collaborators.
In March 2001, by the will of Father Berardo Rossi the Galassia dell’Antoniano of Bologna was founded as a network of the children’s choirs in Italy and all over the world who promote the educational and artistic works of 'Mariele Ventre’s Piccolo Coro' of Antoniano of Bologna and use the musical repetoire of Zecchino d’Oro and actively spread the spirit and solidarity projects of the Antoniano. Ventre passed away in Bologna on 16th of December in 1995 because of a tumor. She is buried in the Certosa of Bologna in a sarcophagus placed in the former Children’s field. In 2003 the Piccolo Coro was awarded the title of 'Unicef Ambassador' for the following reason: “because through the communicative power and the universal language of music and song interpreted by children sends a message of peace and hope to all equally, without distinctions of nationality, religion, gender, language and race.” In 2011, the Francescan father Berardo, one of the founders of the Antoniano and biographer of Ventre, presented to her a request of beautification to the Diocese of Bologna. The square which overlooks the church of Sant’Antonio was narmed Largo Mariele Ventre. Following her death, the Antoniano friars wrote: “For decades Mariele Ventre embodied the moral and pedagogical ideals of Antoniano at the foundation of the musical, recreational and social activities for the children. To the undisputable legacy of a great musician and educator, Mariele combined certain characteristics of her temperament, a magnetic gaze, a sweet look with a gentle and authoritative attitude, rigor, tenacity, sacrifical valor and her capacity for valuing children during her life, which showing a radical faith and life that was extraordinarily popular and won the hearts of the people.”
Translation from italian language by Holly Bean.