Greece 2011
Athens - Island of Chios

English - Athens

Greek - Athens

English - Chios

Greek - Chios


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Orpheus Fall 2011 Lyra Newsletter

The Chicago-based Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society made its fourth trip to Greece since its inception in 1989. The summer of 2011, almost one hundred and fifty Orpheus members and their families visited Athens and the island of Chios. Highlights included five successful dance and choral performances, meetings and workshops with local officials and dance groups, as well as excursions in Athens and around Chios.

The troupe’s first performance was in Athens at the prestigious American College of Greece, Deree. The hour and a half long performance featured the Orpheus youth and adult groups performing a variety of dances from mainland Greece and the islands. Orpheus member, Nicole Mitroussias, accompanied by Nikos Papathanasiou on the piano, performed song selections from celebrated Greek composer, Manos Xatzidakis, and several Orpheus members addressed the audience, reflecting on what Greece means to them and what it feels like to have the rare opportunity to perform in the motherland. Many of the dancers, particularly the younger ones, commented that this trip was exceptionally meaningful to them. Not only were they first-time visitors to a country with such a remarkable history, magnificent scenery and centuries old traditions and culture, but more importantly it was an opportunity to proudly give a dynamic, traditional performance in the birthplace of their grandparents and parents.

Once in Chios, the performances continued. The troupe enjoyed performing in various picturesque locations on the island. The first performance in Chios was in the village of Parparia at the St. Paraskevi panegyri. Next was the dance festival in the beautifully preserved medieval village of Mesta, where Orpheus performed with several local Greek folk dance groups. Another performance was given at the town square in Chios Town, as Orpheus performed, once again, with several other local dance groups. At the Chios Town event, Dr. Mantikas, head of cultural affairs in Chios, welcomed Orpheus and commended the troupe on its continued efforts to preserve the Greek traditions and culture abroad. The last performance in Chios took place at the Golden Sand hotel in the town of Karfas, during the annual Chios omogenia dinner. At the dinner, Ms. Isabella Bournias, President of the Enosis Omogenon Chios Society, presented all the performers with parting gifts consisting of mementos from Chios. Ms. Bournias expressed similar sentiments as Dr. Mantikas and thanked Orpheus for choosing Chios as the latest Greece trip destination.

Orpheus members had the chance to learn several local dances, courtesy of dance instructors, Yannis Gribabis and Symos Karaoulanis. The instructors demonstrated Chios favorites such as “Ena Karavi Apo tin Chio”, “Arap Sousta”, “Agia Markella” and “Pyrgousikos”. The dances learned in the workshops were immediately put to the test at the performance in Chios Town a couple of days later. Mr. Gribabis and Mr. Karaoulanis commented on Orpheus’ strong and extensive dance skills and how organized and disciplined the group was, especially with so many younger members.

In addition to swimming in the warm waters of the stunning beaches of Mavra Volia, Komi and Nagos Orpheus members had the opportunity to visit various archeological, historical and religious sites around the island. The itinerary included excursions to the shrine of Agia Markella, patron saint of Chios, where we were accompanied by Father Kaloudis from Holy Trinity church in Chicago, and a native of Chios; the remarkable monastery at Nea Moni; a tour of the masticha groves, and a lesson in masticha cultivation, Chios’ main export; tours of ancient, historically rich villages, including Mesta, Pyrgi and Anavatos and a day trip exploring the impressive ruins in Ephesus, Turkey. While in Athens, Orpheus members also paid a visit to the magnificent national landmark, the Acropolis, and marveled at the extraordinary artifacts on display at the Acropolis Museum. For photos and video clips from the trip please visit our facebook page.