Arlington Town Hall Resounds with Greek Music

Click here to see image gallery--Photos by Mary Richardson

(HCS) Saturday, October 21, 2006, St. Athanasius Greek Orthodox Church held a concert and silent auction in the elegant performance center of Arlington, Robbins Memorial Town Hall. Filling the main floor of the auditorium and upper gallery seating, parishioners and guests from throughout New England listened enthusiastically to symphonic sounds of the 30-piece Hellenic and Near Eastern Musical Society Orchestra, and later bid on exquisite gift baskets developed with different themes. By any measure the event was a complete success.

Listeners applauded performers throughout the evening and sang along at several points in the program. A number of them remarked that they had "never heard anything like this orchestra in the United States" and that the inclusion of vintage, elegant songs caused their eyes to glisten, bringing them back to the years of their early youth.

Merope Kapetanakis, chairperson of the event Organizing Committee, remarked that it was the "first time that an event had been held outside of the church," noting that the committee was pleased with the solid success of the evening. Along with Mrs. Kapetanakis, Professor Elizabeth Prodromou Kyrou and Dimitris Manolakis also served on the Organizing Committee, leading efforts to host the orchestra and arrange details for the evening.

Emcee George Makredes opened the program, followed by prayer and welcoming remarks by Fr. Nicholas Kastanas, parish priest for St. Athanasius.

Led by conductors Chris Papoutsy and John Marco, the orchestra performed nearly 30 pieces, drawing upon a wide range of musical genres. Among the numbers were a selection of favorites, traditional folk music, pieces by noted contemporary Greek composers and performers, and taximia, or improvisational musical solos. Members of the audience sang along with "Thessaloniki Mou" a popular favorite performed by guitar virtuoso George Kaminaris, and medleys of Kalamatiana and Ipirotika, sung by music professor Dimitri Gribizis and the entire orchestra. The beautiful voice of Katerina Geomelos thrilled the audience with her renditions of contemporary numbers by Haris Alexiou, Glykeria, and Anna Vissy. Master violinist and composer Fred Elias adapted music from Nana Mouskouri's lastest CD, offering his renditions of "Ah, Patrida," and "Ta Paidia Tis Samarinas" to the appreciative crowd. Mary Papoutsy, orchestra narrator, presented several dramatic readings of poetry about Smyrna which the orchestra followed with Mikrasiatika taximia and the "March of Smyrna." The program closed with Kalamatiana favorites to which the audience danced exuberantly in the aisles.

Performers of the Hellenic & Near Eastern Musical Society Orchestra

Peter Buciak, sound engineering; George Constantelo, percussion; Fred Elias, violin; Diana Ferros, violin; Katerina Geomelos, vocals; Mike Geomelos, bass guitar; Mike Gregian, dumbeki and clarinet; Alexandria Gribizis, violin; Professor Dimitri Gribizis, violin; Dr. Robert Herschbach, piano; George Kaminaris, guitar, bouzouki, baglama and vocals; Larry Kontos, clarinet and flute; Chuck Koustas, bouzouki (guest performer on 21 October 2006); Nick Koustas, accordion; Costas Maniatakos, outi; John Marco, clarinet, keyboard, conducting; Steve Marks, guitar and vocals; Alex Panos, cello; Andrea Papoutsy, clarinet, keyboard; Chris Papoutsy, santouri, conducting; Mary Papoutsy, narration, administration; Mikel Papoutsy, guitar, sound engineering; Jimmy Shahrigian, contra-bass violin; Tom Pappas, trumpet; Ross Richardson, guitar (guest performer on 21 October 2006); Dr. Edmund Telage, violin.

Read more about the orchestra--click here.

View concert program--click here.

A wine reception had been arranged by the Organizing Committee for the intermission. Sweet, fresh fruits, a selection of cheeses and crackers, and tasty Greek appetizers filled the plates of patrons and complemented the fine selection of Greek wines offered by the caterer. While sampling the refreshments, members of the audience reviewed exquisite gift baskets in the vestibule of the performance hall and placed silent bids on them. Each basket was unique, filled with items from a separate theme. "Let's Eat" basket was donated for the auction by Pampered Chef-Elaine Tilly; "Sports Fanatic" by Andrew Fotopulos; "Pamper Yourself!" by Liz Bonivita; "Grecian Delights," St. Barbara Philoptochos; "Get Moving!" Irene Paleologos and Merope Kapetanakis; "Wines of the World" by St. Athanasius GOYA; "Pennsylvania" by Steven Zevitas; "Fill Your Heart With Music," by St. Athanasius Choir; "Cup of Java," Peet's Coffee and Tea-Melanie Marken; "Knit and Purl" by Nicki's Knitters-Dorothy, Elaine, Georgia, Irene, Joanne, Katy, Kay, and Niki; and finally "Wines of Greece" by Julie Lombardi." Winners were announced by emcee George Makredes at the conclusion of the concert.

(Front row, L-R) George Kaminaris, Chuck Koustas;
(Second row, L-R) Ross Richardson, Steve Marks,
Mikel Papoutsy; (Back row,L-R) Mike Geomelos,
LarryKontos,Mike Gregian, Andrea Papoutsy,
Tom Pappas)

Fred Elias

(left) John Marco, (center) ChristosPapoutsy,
(center right) Ross Richardson

Audience at RobbinsMemorialHall

In the program booklet, committee members thanked a number of individuals and businesses who contributed to the success of the evening:

Nicholas and Barbara Aggouras
Brattle Square Florist
Kosta and Katina Dinis
Tassos Georgacopoulos
Gregory and Joanne Georgelis
Hellas Imports
John and Althea Ioakimidis
Joanne Kaliontzis
Stella Kazantzas
Charles and Despina Makredes
Christiand Makredes
Gary Makredes
Geroge and Leona Makredes
Stacy Pantazopoulos
Peter Condakes Co.
Anthony and Elaine Sgouros
Jim Speros
Paul and Bessie Theodoulou


Parishioners also kindly thanked evening sponsors:

George and Katerina Antonopoulos
Tessie & Costa Caris
Ceppi Family
Roger & Nikki Daigel
Mr. & Mrs. Orestes Demetriades
Mr. & Mrs. Peter G. Demos & Family
John Dugundji
Elizabeth Elios
Rose Georgoulis
Grek Ladies Philoptochos Society Elpis--Haverhill, MA
Georgia Haramis
Dr. Joanne & Mrs. Gus Hologgitas
Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Karabatsos
Angela Karamalakis
Nicholas & Stella Kazantzas
Elaine Kevgas
NIcholas Kosseoglou
Jenny Koulouris
Ladies Philoptochos Society--Dormition, Burlington, VT
Mr. & Mrs. Vasilios Meimaris
Presbytera Georgia Metaxas
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Mitrelis
John & Venetia Mitropoulos

Chris & Alice Nahatis
Panagiota Pavlakos
Chris & Katina Phillos
Mr. & Mrs. George Sakorafos
James & Tanya Speros
Paul & Bessie Theodoulou

Tina Caramanis
Nicholas & Aphrodite Darris
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen K. Economou
Barbara & Leonard Henson
Katherine Karagianis
Keshian & Reynolds
Thanasi & Stephanie Liakos
Gloria E. Moskos
Alice & Dale Norman
Olga Paras
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Poulakidas
Panos & Eleanor Spiliakos
Virginia Strafello
Mr. & Mrs. Homer N. Ypsilantis
Mr. & Mrs. Stavros Zanetas & Family
Arlingtonton Childrens Center
Athenian-Piraean Associaton of New England
George & Ann Dimitrakis
Dunkin Donuts--Dean & Stphen Alepede
Faggas Funeral Home Inc.
Themis & Andy Karpouzis
Mr. & Mrs. George Koukounaris
Mark D. Mancuso
In Loving Memroy of Charles Mitropoulos
George & Demetra Safiol
Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Zevitas
Arlington Heights Nursery School
Constantine & Merope Kapetanakis
Valerie Relias
Dr. & Mrs. D. Shushan
Betsy & Thanasi Spero
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Aggouras
In Memory of Peter Agris
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Anton-Anton Cleaners
George & Catherine Demeter--In Memory of Panagiotis & Merope Papadimitriou
Mr. & Mrs. George Kaliontzis
Irene Paleologos-In Loving Memory of Paraskevas C. Paleologos
Major Benefactors
George & Bernice Coumounduros

Great Benefactor
Jorge E. Rodriguez
Grand Benefactors
Christos & Mary Papoutsy

The event was a benefit for St. Athanasius the Great Greek Orthodox Church, its new edifice recently purchased from the Catholic diocese in Massachusetts. Experiencing a tremendous growth in membership over the last few decades, the space at the parish's former church at 735 Massachusetts Avenue (in Arlington) did not permit expansion to accomodate the increase in membership. Faced with a decision either to purchase another, larger church or to build a new structure, the parish bought the former St. James the Apostle Roman Catholic Church at 4 Appelton Street. On Sunday, December 3rd, 2005, the community celebrated its first Orthodox services at the new location. Plans are now underway to open a Greek-language, full day school at the new church complex.

(L-R) Diana Ferros, Dr.Edmund Telage, Alexandria
Gribizis, Dimitri Gribizis, Fred Elias

Audience dances to Kalamatiana medley finale

Katerina Geomelos

(Posting date 25 October 2006)

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