Conductor Leon Vitogiannis led the Choir and orchestra through a repertoire of beautiful songs selected in conjunction with Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Chair of the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine studies, which hosted the event in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney. All net proceeds will go to the Department.
With a distinguished guest list including the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, Mr Christos Karras, The President of the Greek Community of NSW, Mr Harry Danalis, His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, Mr Themos Mexis, and Dr Panagiotis Diamandis from AHEPA NSW, the concert began with an instrumental suite, locally composed by Stefanos Maragkakis, the Choir’s Pianist.
Professor Karalis welcomed the audience, saying: “In the last 30 years, thousands of students have passed through the doors of the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies with a passion for learning Greek literature, cinema, art, politics and the Greek language”.
He continued: “Today’s songs have been selected from that never-ending Greek music library that spans hundreds of years. They symbolize the various stages of Greek life over the past 100 years. Greek music tells the stories of love, battle, tragedy and hope. Compositions are connected with the lyric poetry of our greatest poets. I urge all Australian Greeks to engage in our Greekness”.
The Choir’s President, Mr James Tsolakis, welcomed the audience: “Since its foundation in 2018, the Choir has made a significant impact on the Greek Community. With over 40 singing members, a committee, and our music director Mr Leon Vitogiannis, we have delighted our audiences with some of the best music and songs from our beautiful Greece,” he said.
Mr Tsolakis continued: “The Choir is a resource for the Community. It is a place to learn Greek music, the Greek language, and tell our stories from history.” He thanked the Choir and expressed his profound thanks to the Choir’s Music Director, Mr Leon Vitogiannis. “Leon is the shining light of Greek music in Australia today”, he concluded.
The concert’s first part featured songs from Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis. The choral performance of songs such as Odos Onieron, Tsamikos, Arnisi and Omofi Poli was simply stunning. In conclusion, the Choir also sang several songs from Constantinople and Smyrna.
The concert also featured a performance from the Pontoxeniteas Dancers of the Serra. Dressed in war costumes, the performers danced to the beat of the music and the Daoli, stirring the audience in this 100th-year remembrance of the Pontian genocide. Mrs Maria Anthony, President of Pontoxeniteas, graciously provided the dancers and Daoli player, 15-year-old Prodromos Mousiadis.
The concert was a great success, with the audience rising to its feet in a standing ovation and asking for more. Conductor Leon Vitogiannis reacted, growing the Choir and Orchestra to another song.
The Australian Hellenic Choir is a multicultural and multilingual Choir with, in addition to Greek singers, several Australian and Italian singers in its ranks. Anyone wishing to join the Choir should contact James Tsolakis on 0416 060 700.
Photo gallery of the evening.
Photos Copyright : Nick Bourdaniotis / Bourdo Photography