Don Bosco loved music. He played the violin, organ, and piano, but only when he found them at his friends’ homes. For him, music and singing were a great way to communicate with young people.
He started at a young age when he was in boarding school. One year, as Christmas approached, he prepared an ode to the Child Jesus, written in poetry and music on the windowsill of a choir at St. Francis Church.
It was first sung in 1842 at the Dominicans and then at the Consolata, with Don Bosco conducting the small orchestra and playing the organ.
For the melodies, Don Bosco was inspired by daily life. One day, listening to some workers singing from scaffolding, he was inspired to write some verses. He jotted down the music and then asked the famous man of letters, Silvio Pellico, to write him some verses to the Guardian Angel. The result was the very popular aria “Angioletto del mio Dio – little angel of my God’”, which resounded across Italy.
Another time, he met some young people singing, accompanying themselves with guitar and violin. Don Bosco was won over by that harmony and, taking out paper and pencil, leaning against the doorframe of the Prefecture building, he wrote down the notes. Thus, Noi siam figli di Maria – We are Mary’s Children, was born.