HomeCommunityAustralian Hellenic Choir holds benefit concert for Sydney University's Modern Greek Department

Australian Hellenic Choir holds benefit concert for Sydney University’s Modern Greek Department

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The Australian Hellenic Choir (AHC) took its performance to a new level on Sunday night, singing some of the most symbolic and beautiful songs of Greece at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney (USYD).

Their performance of Romiosini also stirred the near capacity audience in the Great Hall to tears.

AHC Conductor, Leon Vitogiannis, lead 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. All net proceeds will go to the Department.

With a distinguished guest list including the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras; the President of the Greek Community of NSW (GOCNSW), Harry Danalis; His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia; Maestro, 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 the passion to learn Greek literature, cinema, art, politics and the Greek language.”

“Todays 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,” the Professor added.

“Greek music tells the stories of love, battle, tragedy and hope. Compositions connected with the lyric poetry of our greatest poets. I urge all Australian Greeks to engage in our Greekness.”

The Choir’s President, James Tsolakis, also 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 Leon Vitogiannis, we have delighted our audiences with some of the best music and songs from our beautiful Greece,” Mr Tsolakis said.

“The Choir is a resource for the Community. It is a place to learn Greek music, to learn the Greek language, and to tell our stories from history.” 

Mr Tsolakis also thanked the choir and expressed his deep thanks to Mr Vitogiannis. 

“Leon is the shining light of Greek music in Australia today,” Mr Tsolakis concluded.

The first part of the concert 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 a number of songs from Constantinople and Syrmna.

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. Maria Anthony, President of Pontoxeniteas, graciously provided the dancers and Daoli player, 15-year-old, Prodromo Mousiadis.

The Serres performance.

The concert was a great success, with the audience rising to its feet in a standing ovation and asking for more to which Mr Vitogiannis reacted, rising the Choir and Orchestra to a further song.

The Australian Hellenic Choir is a multicultural and multilingual Choir which, in addition to Greek singers, has a number of Australian and Italian singers in its ranks. Anyone wishing to join the Choir should contact James Tsolakis on 0416 060 700. 

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