OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The 98e The annual Santa Lucia Festival returns to Omaha this week, along with a staple: the Santa Lucia Band.
The band’s origins date back more than a century, when other bands, including the Peter Cosentino Band and the Vincent Emmanual Band, merged. Some members now belong to the third generation, including current bandleader Mike DiGiacomo.
“So many people talk about the story of Little Italy. They talk about the story of the Santa Lucia Festival,” DiGiacomo said. “The band is what creates those memories…the music and the sounds you hear during the festival.”
His father, Don DiGiacomo, led the Santa Lucia Band for 40 years. Vincent Emmanuel was previously the conductor, holding that position for almost 50 years.
His son, Vince Emmanuel, thought back to his early years in the band.
“We had to have cops on their bikes and they would turn on their engines, ‘Get out of the way! Get out of the way!’ … so that the group can pass.”
Band member and UN student Hanna Ingraham recognized the band’s cultural significance and sought to preserve the music. Some songs existed only in manuscript form, brought to Omaha from Sicily.
See the results of Ingraham’s latest draft synthesis.
The Santa Lucia Band is increasingly unique, DiGiacomo said.
“You know, community bands like this across the country are dying…the Santa Lucia Band is thriving and alive and well.”
The Santa Lucia Festival returns to Little Italy at 10e and Guillaume, from July 21 to 24.
For the calendar of events, visit the festival website.
KMTV is proud to support the Santa Lucia Festival 2022.
Download our apps today for all our latest coverage.
Get the latest news and weather straight to your inbox.