February 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm, is the first Vermont PBS broadcast of the documentary If Stone Could Speak/Se la pietra sapesse parlare. (There is a list of all the currently scheduled broadcasts below, or you can purchase the DVD from our online store.)
The film had its world premiere at the Socialist Labor Party Hall on Monday, April 30, 2007, as part of the annual Primo Maggio celebration. It tells the story of the Italian granite workers who make Barre, Vermont, the “Granite Capital of the World”.
In the late 19th through the 20th century, thousands of stonecutters emigrated from northern Italy to Barre. This documentary follows them and their families from quarries, workshops, and schools in Italy to granite carving sheds in New England. The story continues to the present, as stonecutter families continue to move between the two countries and seek their own identities, choosing what to keep and what to cut away from their American and Italian legacies.
If Stone Could Speak is a moving film and features the stories of granite artists like Angelo Ambrosini, Alcide Fantoni, and Gary Sassi, who have emigrated from northern Italy to Barre to carve Barre granite — some of them like Alcide returning home to Italy in his final years or maintaining contact with their Italian heritage in other ways. Although the setting is unique to the Italians who came to Barre, it tells the classic immigrant story of people from “away” traveling in search of a better life and contributing their work and skills to their new place.
Filmmaker Randy Croce
Randy Croce has been doing documentary work since 1976, first as a still photographer, then in video. His early work focused on American Indian communities, including The Drum Is the Heart, about Blackfoot nation powwows, and Clouded Land, a documentary on White Earth Reservation land claims, which was broadcast nationally by the Learning Channel and PBS.
Randy joined the staff of the Labor Education Service (LES), University of Minnesota, as a video producer in 1990, where he researches, shoots and edits programs about workers. He also teaches classes in media, labor history and other subjects.
Since 2000, Randy has been especially interested in the challenges faced by newcomers to America. If Stone Could Speak, was broadcast by Twin Cities Public Television and screened internationally. In 2009, Randy initiated, Who Built Our Capitol? He is the project’s director and has done the primary video work for the documentary and website, which was broadcast by Twin Cities Public Television on Labor Day, 2014.
Randy Croce has become a loyal friend of the Barre Historical Society thanks to the encouragement of his mentor, the late Professor Rudolph J. Vecoli, a scholar from Minnesota and an authority on the origins and observance of Primo Maggio, and Randy has kept in touch with us ever since.
Preview of If Stone Could Speak:
02/28/19, 7:00 pm Vermont PBS
03/03/19, 2:00 am Vermont PBS
03/03/19, 2:00 pm Vermont PBS
03/04/19, 9:00 pm Vermont PBS Plus
03/09/19, 11:00 pm Vermont PBS Plus
03/12/19, 9:30 pm Vermont PBS Plus