One of the seminal moments in HBO’s acclaimed drama The Sopranos was Corrado “Junior” Soprano’s rendition of an Italian song at dinner in the third season’s finale.
Dominic Chianese, the actor who played Junior, was at Stella Maris nursing home in Timonium Monday to share that voice as part of his charity, which aims to bring the arts to elderly.
“I came out here today because the mission we have for Joy Though Art Foundation is to bring music to the elderly population, people my age… and older who will appreciate the memories that music evokes for us — that dispels the loneliness sometimes, brings back lovely memories,” Chianese, 82, said. “It also reaches people in a way that no other language can.”
The Joy Through Art Foundation was founded by Chianese after he worked at a nursing home in New York in 1982. The foundation aims to improve the lives of nursing home residents by bringing professional artists to regularly visit them.
Chianese did just that on Monday, singing classic songs to the audience at Stella Maris, along with the Health Facilities of Maryland, which donated $3,000 to Joy Through Art.
Chianese was scheduled to appear in November at the HFAM annual meeting, but had to cancel and promised to return. When he did, he did so just down the road from where he began is acting career as an apprentice at the Hilltop Theater in Cockeysville in 1957.
He returned back to Maryland to find a warm crowd at Stella Maris.
“They were so wonderful to work with here at Stella Maris home, because they responded in a way that made me feel good as a performer,” Chianese said. “When they respond that way, then you know it’s going two ways and you’re doing true entertainment, because true entertainment is give and take.”
Sister Karen McNally, chief administrative officer of Stella Maris, said they were “very, very privileged” to have Chianese perform.
“It’s a wonderful event,” she said. “It fits so well into our culture of doing what’s best for our residents, doing it in their own home and doing what they like.”