The President of the Republic welcomed in Palermo by the Rainbow Choir
Children from immigrant communities sing the National Anthem

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It was the children of Palermo’s immigrant communities who welcomed President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella to the Royal Palace today at 10 a.m., at the opening of the ceremony to affix the plaques of the UNESCO Arab-Norman itinerary.

It was they, the children from all over the world, who sang the National Anthem led by Maestro Salvatore Punturo. Together, they make up the Rainbow Choir of the Teatro Massimo, made up of over thirty children of all ethnic groups – from Chinese to Senegalese, Bengali to Tamil, Albanian to Peruvian – and formed last year as part of the many initiatives of the Opera Foundation aimed at the territory. “The Rainbow Choir,” explains the theatre’s superintendent, Francesco Giambrone, “was created not only to facilitate the inclusion of people from other places and other experiences in an already given, defined context, but is a sign of how much the theatre wants to commit itself to changing the existing reality together. Palermo is a city where so many migrants arrive, including many unaccompanied minors, and where so many communities reside, it seems nice to us that the National Anthem is sung by these very children, to underline that Italy is the country that has welcomed them’.

Palermo is home to more than thirty thousand foreign residents of various religious affiliations, with a very strong presence of Muslims (at least three points higher than the national percentage), the second largest community after Christians. In particular, Palermo is home to two sizeable foreign communities of non-EU immigrants who alone account for more than a third of the total number of foreigners: the Bengalis and the Tamils. They are followed by Romanians, Ghanaians, Tunisians, Filipinos, Moroccans, Mauritians, Chinese and Americans.