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Rome Reports

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Gospel, long standing American tradition, takes new life in Rome

MARIO CIAMPA Art Director, IMF Foundation "When we started, 17 years ago, we were in this small place, it was very cold. We started off with just four singers with a piano, and there was just 50 people, but we insisted.� Mario Ciampa organizes the annual Rome Gospel Festival, bringing together numerous Gospel groups and thousands of attendees. Gospel has slowly made a name for itself in the eternal city. But it has not been easy. No less in part, because of the more moderate nature of worship within the dominant Catholic religion. A process much different from the hands-on tradition of Gospel. MARIO CIAMPA Art Director, IMF Foundation "People walk with some hesitation, very rigid, because they're not used to participating actively in a concert.� But once they embrace it, Ciampa describes it as musical therapy for the mind and soul. Over the years, acceptance of this vastly different musical style has grown, propelling the festival to bigger performances and bigger attendance each year. MARIO CIAMPA Art Director, IMF Foundation "People participate not in a religious manner for this event. They associate it a Christmas musical show, filled with lots of joy.� In 2012, a whopping 11,000 attendees are expected to attend the 11 day event featuring some of the biggest names in Gospel from the United States. RCA MG

- MG/GdP - PR