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BIOGRAPHY

Sonia Spirito

Director of Association
L’Albero della Musica

She was born in Sardegna and she passed her exams for a singing diploma in 2001 at the Conservatory “L. Canepa” in Sassari and then successfully followed perfection courses in singing (with G. Devin, A. Scarabelli and M. Aspinall) and also a course on chamber music when she transferred to Milan in 2002, at the Civil School Foundation in Milan.
She has done numerous concerts both chamber and operistic, without ever leaving her intensive choir activity, including a two year period with the “Chamber complex, civilian choir in Milan.
Her activity progressed with an intense formation in preparatory music (Method “I grow with Music”, Kodaly method (Ritmia in the choir Direction).
In 2011 she attended the first year of Formation in the Director of Choir at the famous G, Verdi Conservatory in Milan.
At the moment she is attending the Formation trainers Course for Orchestra systems and Young Italian choirs at Fiesole and the formation Lis (sign Language in Italian). From 2003 to 2011 she taught children in propedeutic music. She also cooperated with the Civil School in Milan from 2005 to 2011 as a teacher in the primary and infants school and from 2010 she was also a coordinator in various school projects.
From 2011 she is a coordinator in courses and projects in the school chorus.
Since 2014 she was the Director of courses for ‘The tree of Music’ and since 2018 has become President. She directs and prepares the ‘White Voices Choir’ at the school ‘Italo Calvino’ since it began in 2004.
On top of all this since 2016 she has followed as the first person the development of “Proprio in Gamba” for which she is responsible for the social contents on Facebook and Instagram.

Let’s get to know more about her

Sonia is a very important person for the function of the project ‘Proprio in Gamba’. Let’s ask her some questions to get to know more about her.

Your life is following a very interesting journey and considering that this blog talks about travel, I would lke to try to go over it with you.
Let’s start from the very beginning: you were born in Sardegna and studied music at the Conservatory of Sassari: obtaining a diploma in music when you were 24.
Where does this love from music come from?

I think it was born in me. I’ve always loved singing, since I was a baby but without any particular reason, at home nobody was aware of my particular gift for it. I loved singing with my dear aunty and in particular to sing together in a chorus, which without knowing, influenced the rest of my life.


Your life continues and you settle down in Milan. Tell us why you chose Milan and your first sensations you felt the moment you arrived in this Milanese city.
Were things much different from where you came from?. How long did it take you to settle down here?

The choice was more of an adventure due to the fact that at that point of my life there weren’t many opportunities for my to follow in Sardegna and also I didn’t have any love life to put me off. I was free to make this choice and after almost a month of thinking it over, I was eager to leave.
My first week in this city was passed in doing admission exams and perfection courses, filling out applications for a job and an audition. Everything went perfect and I said to myself: this is a good sign, everything from now on will be ok!!

I arrived in Milan on a beautiful summer day. The first thing that hit my eye was the back of the Cathedral, then I saw the Gallery and right away I fell in love with this city. In the beginning I found it a little hard but all problems were overcome due to my family’s faith and love in me. From then on everything turned out alright.

You acquired your final maturity when you began to work together with children and with the chorus. At that moment did you feel it necessary to turn “your back” on the public, losing the chance of being the only protagonist on the stage, now having to share the applause of the audience with a chorus?

I must say that truly “having my back on the public” was never felt as a loss for me. Instead….to sing alone really frightened me. I felt too much responsibility and as I was very shy, perhaps it wasn’t the right time or the right repertoire for me.

Besides, only when I began again with the choir after singing for years did I realise that I had missed the harmony that only many voices put together can create. For me – I hadn’t lost anything but only gained a lot!


Just think of the fortune to be able to do a concert even when you have a cold!

As a singer on your own you can’t – as a director you can!

The discovery and learning more about the world of disabled doing a project on your own with the Manos Blancas Choir. Explain to us what you did and how long it took you to follow them and what can we do to help them and sustain them.
The Manos Blancas Choir was love at first sight on my part. One day I was just going through various videos on Youtube when my eyes fell on a Young chorus Group in which disabled children were singing and creating a dance movement with their hands accompanied by the music. I was strongly impressed especially by the declaration of the two founders Jhonny Gomez and Naybeth Gracia, and the consciousness with which they operated including a lot of love and music, it is possible to better the situation at times using creative activity along with the music which makes them inseparable. You can feel a strong emotion when they hold an exhibition, they are able to move strings of the human soul which at times only music alone is not able to do. 2 years later when I heard that these two people were coming to Milan I did all I could to meet them and we started a friendship between us which continues and after a lot of patience and sacrifice we now have the White Hands choir in Milan.
At this point destiny took over and Sonia and I met and our love story began. Disability is not only professional but touches also our private lives and each day we live. Could you have ever believed it?
I certainly must say ‘no’. But as you know life always surprises us. In fact just a litte while before we knew each other, there was a strange happening, ‘a sign’ that I obviously didn’t recognize as such. Among other things I am also a devoted fan of ‘dancing with the stars’ a television program where VIP’s helped by professional dancers, are taught to do a dance concert including salsa, tango and foxtrot. In the 2014 edition, one of the competitors (she also won) was Giusy Versace a paraolympic athletic, who lost both legs in a car accident. I followed all what she was doing, admired her smile and her force, I really thought well of her and I thought she was full of spirit and had a lot of courage, on top of all that there was always that lovely smile. ‘Dancing with the stars’ finished in 2014 on the 7th December and that was when I met you, Alessio, not long after on the 23rd January, 2015. I must say my destiny had planned everything fine. Before knowing you I had been told of your condition and I was a little apprehensive . I didn’t know what to expect and how I would cope with it. But then I said to myself “Goodness me, you have admired the girl Versace and now you are actually going to meet a disabled person. You can’t but like a person who has her courage and I am sure you will take to him”. In fact I liked you so much I married you…(she laughs!)
How does one learn to live with a disabled person next to you? What difficulties did you have to face and on the other hand what did he have to offer you- -and continues to do so – in this period of your life?
But as you know Alessio, the disability that I dealt with up to our meeting was more physical and cognitive than motor disabled, so it’s a bit different. I see some really bad cases that doesn’t lessen yours, but I must say I find it hard to see you as a disabled. It’s true, you’ve only got one leg but for me it’s the same as having red hair, eyes similar to a Chinese or dark skin, it would be the same. Perhaps this is the normality on our beginning together. I don’t notice your disability because I know that slowly you are able t do the same things as before. True, I am with you to help you when you find difficulty, but I would be there anyway, so what is the difference? But if you have the courage to face up to things and overcome them then you can do whatever you want, You have already proved that in these past few years. You yourself know that you have done more than what you did when you had both legs! This for me is a good sign and gives you inspiration.
The worst thing is to give oneself limits which sometimes is in your head, perhaps because they seem dangerous and they stop us from coming out of our shell to explore the unknown, to learn and understand a bit more
Your force and your enthusiasm is shown in your blog ‘ Proprio in Gamba’ which, it’s no use denying it, probably wouldn’t even have begun without your precious moral support and organization. Do you feel the responsibility of this project? How far do you think you can go before the end?
Does it get you down? Absolutely no it doesn’t. I think it is a project that had been hidden away in my mind for a long time and was waiting for the right moment to come out in the opening. I think that as it happened to me a few years ago, when I was inspired by Giusy Versace on the tv, so your advice now can be of help to a lot of other people. Even though nowadays the word disability is not thought of as it was a few years ago and it is good that a disabled can now find a lot of answers to his questions on the computer if of course, he is interested in finding them. And as you know I have always been favourable to including everybody and not leaving anybody out, in fact have you ever thought that your advice doesn’t only exist for disabled or for someone who is in a wheelchair but is also for families with small children in trolleys or an elderly person who has difficulty in getting about? My idea is that, a little bit at a time, other people will be interested in  writing their experiences and that your blog will get bigger and bigger  and become a meeting place  where anybody can describe their experiences and exchange them with others, chat and give their different opinions and advice, where also one these days people can follow an itinerary for a journey proposed by ‘Proprio in Gamba‘ or by you.
What do you think about traveling?
I took up traveling a lot later than others. In fact on  this subject Milan played a very important role. In the way that it opened my mind about the differency between my earlier years in my native land and since I became more curious have now experimented this difference not only with Milan but with the rest of the world. I also believe that the secret of a good traveller is not to compare the differences there are between all the places you visit. I’ve realized since I started traveling more that is no place better  than another because each one is beautiful in its own way , has its own characteristics and each one gives us different feelings and different teachings. Every time I return from a trip, I feel full of different tastes, smells, sounds  scenery and so many different people and for this I feel very satisfied. I feel as if  I never want to stop going all round the world and I have you to thank for sharing your interests with me.
Which holiday stands out and you remember more than the others? Don’t reply with ‘The one I haven’t yet done’! because that is not an answer.
The journey perhaps which stands out more than the others and which I have happy memories about is really my first one, in Paris. Putting to one  side the sentimental motives, my continual requests to sit down because I had sore feet and couldn’t walk a step further and instead you continued walking fast and climbing up over 400 steps to the top of the bell  tower of Notra Dame, definitely convinced me that you’re a crazy guy and that you did  it on purpose because I was there (ha ha ha).
Is there still of place of your dreams that you would to visit?

CUBAAAAAA!!!!!

You organize yourself the social channels of ‘Proprio in Gamba’ and also your relatives have quite a say in our decisions  even the day to day ones. What contribution do you think you can give to our future projects?
In truth I hope to be a lot more present and hope you will always need my my presence more and more. I love working out the projects because they take us to much higher ideals which have always interested me. One also needs to know they must believe in their ideals even though they may have to fight to obtain them, always with a smile…
Disability, traveling and music. Three words which are written down under our skin. According to you, is there a conducting thread which puts them closed together?
You know that there is fundamental principle that music teaches you right from the beginning, constancy. Thanks to this and a good dose of faith in yourself, with the correct instruments and the voice you can reach unthinkable levels. This same thing applies also to disability, with a lot of constancy and will-power and can believe in this because I have you in front of me as a perfect example. You have superated any problem or difficulty, which sometimes I never thought you would and am almost sure will continue to do so in the future. And so as music is full of different variety, the world is full of lots of places to see and discover all over the world. Each one better than the one before and more beautiful because in each and every place you visit you will something different than the one before and so will calm your spirit.
Your project permits almost everybody, different experiences and things to taste and where we can compare them all. A very high ideal to try and reach…

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