New York Federation of Hellenic Societies
Presented Greek Independence Concert with 
Greek-Canadian Composer-Baritone Karoussos

Concert for Religious Freedom Dedicated to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople Featuring Hellenic Parade Symphony and Choir, Directed by Grant Gilman

New York- On Thursday, April 12, 2007, at 7:00pm, the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY presented a Concert for Religious Freedom, dedicated to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world. The concert featured the works of Greek-Canadian composer-baritone Panayoti Karoussos and took place at the Stathakion Center of the Federation in Astoria, NY.

Several of the concert works reflected the nature of the struggle and triumph of the Greek consciousness in celebration of the 186th anniversary of Greek Independence from Ottoman rule. The program included parts of the Spirit of Liberty, which was performed during the 2006 Greek Parade weeklong festivities, as well as a violin concerto, a mandolin concerto, and selections from the operas Prometheus, Alexander the Great and the Olympic Flame. Of particular interest, Karousso presented a piece called Religious Freedom, to complement this year’s parade theme.

The majestic strains of these works were performed by an orchestra directed by Grant Gillman, along with the Greater Aberdeen Choir. Several soloists accompanied them including vocalist Lina Orfanos, mezzo sopranos Mary MacKenzie and Jessica Creo, Peter Polychronakis on the mandolin and Leo Adamov on the violin.

Composer-baritone Panayotis Karoussos has an extensive background in classical music composition and his works have been performed all over the world, from Quebec, Canada to Holland. In 1998, he had also presented a concert in honor of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew at a Canadian farewell dinner in Montreal, Canada. Karoussos’ writing is inspired by the long history of the Hellenic people, from the ancient forefathers of philosophy to the modern heroes of the Revolution of 1821.

The Concert for Religious Freedom was presented at the Federation of Hellenic Societies, Stathakion Center, 22-51 29th Street, Astoria, NY.

Grand Marshals of the 76th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade

The distinguished Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, represented by Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, and Nick Davatzes, CEO Emeritus of A&E Television Networks, were named Grand Marshals for the 186th anniversary of Greek Independence at New York’s annual Greek Independence Parade, April 15, whose theme was dedicated to Religious Freedom. Greece’s top performing artist Anna Vissi served as Honorary Marshal. Parade Chairman John Catsimatidis, Chairman and CEO, Red Apple Group, himself an Archon and Chairman of the Archon’s Religious Freedom Committee, led the parade’s organizing efforts, which marked the first-ever televised live broadcast in the parade’s history. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, served as the Parade’s Honorary Chairman and was the recipient of the 2007 Liberty Award on April 14 at the Hilton NY in Manhattan.

About Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, was organized in 1966 by the late Archbishop Iakovos of North & South America, as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Office of Archon is the highest recognition that the Orthodox Church bestows upon its laymen. Patriarchal titles are conferred upon those selected to receive this honor of such significant recognition. It is the sworn oath of the Archon to defend and promote the Mother Church. The Order of St. Andrew meets annually to engage its membership in the various religious freedom initiatives designed to focus the world’s attention on the religious freedom crisis that threatens the survival of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Archons conduct an annual pilgrimage, which coincides with the Feast Day of St. Andrew (Nov 30) to the Mother Church in Constantinople to receive the blessings from and offer their respects to the Ecumenical Patriarch.

About Nick Davatzes, CEO Emeritus of A&E Television Networks

Nick Davatzes was named Chief Executive Officer Emeritus of A&E Television Networks (AETN) in April 2005. Previously, Mr. Davatzes was President and Chief Executive Officer of AETN from December 1983 to April 2005, encompassing A&E Network, The History Channel®, The Biography Channel®, History International™, The Military History Channel™, The History Channel en español™, Crime & Investigation Network™, AETN International and AETN Consumer Products. In November 2006, President George W. Bush presented Davatzes with the National Humanities Medal, in an Oval Office ceremony in recognition of his contributions to the humanities. In July 2006 he was inducted into the Phi Kappa Tau Hall of Fame. In October 2005, the Cable Center inducted Mr. Davatzes into the Cable Television Hall of Fame Class of 2005 honoring his significant contributions to the cable telecommunications industry. In June 2003, Davatzes received the 2003 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable Television Association and in December 2003 celebrated his 20-year anniversary at the helm of the company. During his tenure at AETN, Davatzes has been honored by his industry peers for building some of the most prominent and highly valued cable networks and for his strong support of the cable industry’s public-policy and public-affairs objectives.

About Singer and Entertainer Anna Vissi

Greece’s “mega-star” will serve as Honorary Marshal at the Greek Parade. Born in Cyprus, Anna Vissi has sold over 9.5 million albums worldwide. Since 1995 together she has gone 28x platinum. In 2005, she has also enjoyed success in the U.S., claiming the number one position on the Billboard Dance Charts with Call Me. In Eurovision Song Contest 2006, Vissi and her power ballad “Everything” finished 9th, and won two awards in the categories "Best Song" and "Best Female." According to Room 210 (Greek Magazine, 2004), Anna Vissi is considered “a true diva of the Greek musical stage, a role model for all other performers of similar genres and one who determines all the latest music and fashion trends.” Anna is “by far the best selling female Greek artist of all time” with a career that spans over thirty years. Known as the “mega-star” Vissi constantly appears on covers and fashion magazines in Greece. Vissi is currently on a USA and Canada tour and in April will be performing in Connecticut, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.

About The 76th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade

More than 200,000 participants and spectators from the New York and tri-state area attended the Greek parade on Sunday, April 15 at 1pm on Fifth Avenue (60th–79th St). The live two-hour broadcast aired on WWOR-TV My9, 1:30-3:30pm, and was hosted by news anchors Ernie Anastos, Rosanna Scotto with reporting by anchor Nick Gregory. Celebrity and special appearances by award-winning performing artist Gloria Gaynor, CBS News Marketwatch anchor and CBS News Moneywatch reporter Alexis Christoforous and CBS’ Guiding Light actor Frank Dicopoulos. Honored guests included Greek and U.S. Congressional, Senate and local government officials; the elite Presidential Guard (Evzones) from Greece; the Hellenic Navy Philharmonic Band, and many others.

New York’s Greek parade is the largest in the country. The parade commemorates the 186th anniversary of Greek Independence from Turkish Ottoman rule, tyranny and oppression and honors the Greek forefathers who valiantly sacrificed their lives to preserve the ideals of freedom, democracy, and independence. The celebration brings together thousands of Greek-Americans; Philhellenes, civic, religious and political organizations; members of the Greek Orthodox Church, American and Greek government officials on Fifth Avenue. All Hellenes and Philhellenes are encouraged to attend the Parade, which showcases the eternal legacy of ancient and modern Greece: a celebration of Greek Independence, culture, family and heritage.

About Greek Independence Day

After 400 years of rule by the Ottoman Empire, Greece declared its independence on March 25, 1821. The annual Greek American Independence Day parade is held on the closest Sunday to March 25 (except during Lenten season), a dual celebration connected with the Christian Feast Day of the Annunciation.

About the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York

The organizers of the annual Greek American Independence Parade, the Federation is a not-for-profit organization comprised of over 200 civic, cultural and regional organizations in the New York City area. Its mission is to preserve, promote and perpetuate Hellenic culture and heritage throughout the five boroughs of New York through cultural and philanthropic endeavors.

About WWOR-TV My9 and WNYW FOX 5

WWOR-TV My9 and WNYW FOX 5 are owned-and-operated by the FOX Television Stations, one of the nation's largest owned-and-operated network broadcast groups, comprising 35 stations in 26 markets, covering nearly 45% of U.S. television homes. This includes six duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Houston; as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix and Orlando.

(Posting date 25 April 2007

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