Musical couple Marcello and Pauline D’Amico have attracted such a strong following for their Victorian Seniors Festival performances over the past 15 years that even Marcello’s sister-in-law couldn’t get a seat to their packed out Deakin Edge show last year.
‘We were doing two concerts a day and a lot of people were staying in their seats for the second concert. People love us, we are like the Italian Beatles,’ Pauline laughs.
Marcello first took to the stage as a four-year-old, when he played a naked baby Jesus in a church nativity play and he hasn’t stopped performing since.
Growing up in a small village in Sicily where the only entertainment was live music, his entire family played an instrument, so he soon learned to play the mandolin and organ and taught himself how to read and write music. He now owns 26 instruments but music is just one of Marcello’s creative abilities; he is also a talented poet and visual artist who was presented with the Senior of the Year Promotion of Multiculturalism Award in 2017 for his extensive body of work.
Whilst Pauline has been playing the accordion since she was a child, it took decades for Marcello to convince her to join him on stage, where they perform as the Aeolian Players at aged care facilities, at festivals and for their church.
‘We play Italian and English songs because music is a language for everybody,’ Pauline says.
It is the positive reaction of the audience that enables Pauline to keep her nerves at bay. At a notable performance a few years ago, the duo were playing a fast number when an elderly lady took to the dance floor.
‘Then we found out she was 105,’ Pauline says. ‘It’s fantastic. The music talks to them.’
Watch Marcello and Pauline's Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.