Papoutsy Couple receives Athenagoras award at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. (Left to right: Mary Papoutsy; Christos Papoutsy; Very Rev. Archimandrite Makarios Niakaros, priest of Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Haverhill; Steven Karidoyanes, past president of the New England Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs and conductor of Plymouth Symphony of Massachusetts)
Papoutsy Couple Receive National Athenagoras Award
Haverhill, MA--Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 16, 2001 at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Steven Karidoyanes presented the national Athenagoras Award to Christos and Mary Papoutsy on behalf of the New England Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs. Since the award's inception, there have been only three other Boston Diocese recipients.

Past president of the federation and the conductor of the Plymouth, Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, Karidoyanes elaborated that the charter of the New England Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs includes the directive to cultivate and support the rich legacy of Greek folk music. Christos and Mary Papoutsy have steadfastly supported these efforts in the Boston Diocese and beyond, according to him. The couple has worked tirelessly to perpetuate the love of Greek folk music through major performance and recording projects designed to foster enthusiasm for music of Hellenic lineage, with the proceeds from many of these activities benefiting The Greek Institute in Cambridge and many ecclesiastical communities throughout the United States and in Greece.

Following the award presentation, the Ladies’ Philoptochos guild sponsored a reception in the church hall, with several hundred persons in attendance. Family and friends from throughout New England, especially Mr. Papoutsy’s hometown of Haverhill, joined the local community in congratulating the couple. Among those attending the presentation and reception were many members of the Hellenic and Near Eastern Musical Society Orchestra, a group formed two years ago by the Papoutsys.

In 1998, the Papoutsys organized the Celebration of Greek Music in America Concert at Harvard University. Nearly 70 musicians, principally of Greek heritage, participated in the standing-room-only event. The performance culminated in a triple-CD set whose proceeds--and concert ticket sales--benefited The Greek Institute. Because of enormous demand, the Papoutsys have co-founded, along with noted violinist Fred Elias, the 25-piece Hellenic and Near Eastern Musical Society Orchestra. Unique in the United States, the varied instrumentation of this group includes a number of non-traditional and traditional folk instruments, permitting the group to offer a sophisticated and rich blend of traditional folk music and selections of contemporary Greek composers such as Hatzidakis, Theodorakis and Xarhakos. The orchestra has performed throughout New England for a number of charitable organizations and church communities. The group recently concluded a successful Florida tour, performing for the 75th anniversary celebration of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Miami and at Florida Atlantic University for Paideia of Florida.

The orchestra also has long-range plans to develop materials for music education. Donations of old sheet music and albums will be converted to digital formats for easy access and distribution over the Internet. Musicians also hope to offer free lessons in order to encourage young musicians to learn about and to perform Greek and Near Eastern music. For more information about the orchestra or its support society, call 603-431-9433.