Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter
Fall 2001
Previous issues of Lyra
See the PDF version (400K)
Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2002
Music and Dances from the Greek Isles
Fun in the Sun
My Summer Experience in Greece
St. George School Presents Play in Greece
We Moved!!
Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer
2002 Festival of
Greek Music and Dance
Music and Dances from the Greek Isles

The Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society proudly announces that the Festival of Greek Music and Dance will take place again in 2002!  The Festival includes a musical presentation from notable folk artists from Greece that will tour the U.S.  Last year’s sold out concert included music groups from Greece’s northern regions, Macedonia and Thrace.

The 2002 Festival will include music and dances from the Greek islands.  The upbeat and sweet sounds of the violin, lute, dulcimer and tsabouna (island bagpipe) will transport us to the sunny beaches and traditional villages of beautiful destinations.  The event will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2002 at the Niles West High School auditorium, 5701 West Oakton St., Skokie, at 7:00 p.m.  The organization of this event is in cooperation with the World Music Institute of New York and the Hellenic Club of Niles West High School.

Nikos IkonomidisNext year’s musical group includes ten artists lead by Nikos Economides who is one of the most popular and recognized authorities on island musical traditions.  The program will include music and dances form the islands of the Northeastern Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese, the Kyklades and the island of Kythira.  The Orpheus Dance Troupe is scheduled to perform dances from these areas accompanied by the visiting musicians.  Make sure you mark your calendar for this unique and inspiring event.  Assigned seating will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for children 18 and under.  Call 847-729-3406 for ticket purchases or further information. Check the OHFS web site,, for updated information about this concert.  We hope to see you there!

Nikos Ekonomidis is one of the most highly acclaimed violin players in Greece. He was born on the island of Shinousa in the Kiklades to a musical family. His grandfather and father, both well-known violinists, sparked his interest in music.  Ekonomidis studied classical violin at the Athenian Odium under Ismini Carter-Chrysochoos and at the National Odium with Kosta Setta.  At the same time, he never ceased to research and study the style of music that interested him the most, that is, traditional music.   He began his professional career at the age of 15 with Dora Stratou and involves himself in the official registration of our national music, from Evros to Cyprus, in records and films for the national TV network.  He is engaged in teaching traditional music and archiving traditional pieces like those included in the records "Perasma sta Kythira" and "Sea Passages" containing songs executed by himself, along with Mariza Koh and others.

Ekonomidis recorded and released two albums, "Arhondisa tou Limaniou" (Mistress of the Seaport) and "Choros sta kymata" (Dance in the Waves), and two others "Agapi kai Thalassa" (Love and Sea) and "Otan akoun to violi" (When I Listen to the Violin) with Eleni Lekaki, which were both very successful.  Songs from those records, such as "Opa Opa" and "Gianda na min theleis gianda" became big hits throughout the country.  He has participated in International Festivals and has contributed to the formation of traditional music bands such as   "Keros" and "Akrites".  He has worked with many great artists of traditional music (Chronis Aidonidis, Domna Samiou, etc.) as well as Mariza Koh, Haris Alexiou, Giorgos Dalaras at the Music Megaron of Athens and in concerts in Greece and abroad.  Ekonomidis has taught traditional music at the University of Southern Maine as part of a cultural exchange program sponsored by the ministry of Aegean and U.S.M.  He is currently preparing to release "Nissiotiki Zigia", a record with traditional songs from the western Cyclades and other neighboring regions.   During the summers, he gives concerts accompanied by the music group "Keros".  In 1998, Nikos Ekonomidis completed the research and registering of the musical tradition of the North and East Aegean, which he presented to the public in a record entitled "East of the Aegean" released by Verso.  Recently, he completed the research and registering of the traditional music of Amorgos, which is presented in the record "Passage to Amorgos", released by Keros Music.  In his record we find remarkable artists such as Domna Samiou, Giasemi Saragoula, Popi Kovaiou and others.

The Educational and Cultural Society of I Vokaria of the island of Chios was the producer of Nikos Economides’ CD, “East of the Aegean”.  In its introduction, the Board of Directors mentions that it was a great honor and pleasure to see that Mr. Economides had accepted the undertaking of this album.  He is considered to be one the most recognized, beloved and superior artists whose expertise is endorsed without any hesitation.  The Board absolutely trusts his ethos, style, musical education and respect for the true meaning of folk traditions.
The Board greeted Niko’s initiative from the bottom of its heart, realizing the immense effort that such work required. It hopes that the final product will stand for a long time and that it will be inscribed in the musical pantheon of peoples’ consciences and histories.


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Fun in the Sun
By Kathy Tomaras
Like many Greek Americans, I ventured off this summer for a two-month vacation to my parent's homeland, Greece. My vacation began in Athens, where I spent the majority of my stay. I arrived in Athens early in June (and when I say early, I mean 4:00am early!). My cousin picked me up from the "new" Greek airport, "EL. Benizelos," and so my journey began.

I spent the first month of my trip in my parent's village of Agios Petros, Kinourias. Apart from the typical bread baking, donkey riding, and watching of old men enjoying wine in the plateia's taverns, I also experienced a traditional Greek village wedding. The religious ceremony took place at the church of Agios Petros, and for the reception the bride and groom had set-up tables in the middle of the plateia for their 900 guests, consisting of their family, friends and people from the village. The festivities continued into the next morning with lots of food, music and dancing. 

After the wedding, I boarded a bus back to Athens -- only to leave a few days later for a trip to Skotina, a village about 30 minutes away from Katerini. In Skotina, I took part in "World Camp 2001", a special camp organized by SAE for young adults of Greek descent. From Athens, I had a long train ride to Larissa, and then a two-hour bus ride to the campsite on Skotina Beach.

After registering with the camp counselors, I found myself trekking through the woodland area to find my tent, where I would be bunking up with five girls: two from Canada, one from France, one from Sweden, and my fellow Chicagoan Denise Rekoumis. My days in Skotina were spent mainly on the beach working on my tan or enjoying small boat rides, which of course meant that I had to help row the boat as well! The nights, however, were spent at the main hall of the camp where my group of friends (25 people to be exact) turned the outdoor hall into one large dance floor. On a nightly basis, we would put on music and just danced until we were too tired to walk. In the early morning hours, we retired to the beach where we waited for the sun to rise as we engaged in lively conversations, games and song. Then we were off to bed at 6:00am -- and the process began all over again the next day! 

The "World Camp" program also consisted of various events and trips. Some of the daily events included pottery classes, cooking classes, and of course, dance lessons. I had originally signed-up for a pottery class because I wanted to experience something new. However, after making one beautiful sculpture in pottery class, I was asked by the director of the camp to help instruct the dance classes, and so I did. Other events included day trips to Dion, an archeological site in Northern Greece, and Meteora, a beautiful mountain range with numerous Greek monasteries perched on the mountain peaks. The ultimate event for me, however, was my birthday celebration. The night before my birthday, we found a club in the village of Platamona, about a mile from the campsite, and this is where we had my "birthday bash"! The festivities continued the next day at the beach, and of course, what's a birthday without birthday cake? The entire camp surprised me with a large birthday cake, and afterward the highlight of the evening was the George Dalaras concert! Yes, that's right, I spent my birthday with my new
friends at the old theater of Dion listening to Dalaras -- how could anyone ask for a better birthday? 

After completing my ten days at the "World Camp," I returned to Athens, where I didn't hesitate to call Yannis Gevgelis, the toumberleki and daouli musician who had performed with Orpheus in the OHFS music and dance concert in April. Yannis met me at the local train station in Kifisia, and took me to his home in Nea Smirni, where his family welcomed me with open arms. His mother, Despina Gevgelis, is a former member of Dora Stratou's theater. That night, Yannis took me to a performance at the Theater of Dora Stratou, where he plays the daouli and toumberleki. Trees surround the outdoor theater and the large wooden stage is decorated with cement columns and beautiful pottery. The Dora Stratou dancers performed traditional Greek dances from various parts of Greece, including Crete and Thrace. After the theater performance, Yannis and I met up with his friends for some fun in Athens.

The next day, I met Yannis' father, Yiorgos Gevgelis, who is a well-known daouli and toumberleki player. In fact, Yiorgos had just returned from a trip to Monemvasia where he had been playing at a local festival. After a long discussion with Yiorgos about his school of music and the dance group he has been running, he invited me to travel with his band back to Monemvasia in September. Unfortunately, my stay in Greece ended in August, so I was unable to take the opportunity to travel with him. After a few more visits with Yannis, we became good friends and exchanged numbers and addresses in order to keep in touch. Since my return back "home", I have spoken to my new friend a few times and we've made plans for future visits!

To top off my already wonderful trip in Greece, I celebrated my sister Pat's engagement to Vangelis Giorgas. The arravones were (engagement was) amazing. Friends and family, including friends from Chicago, attended the engagement party. The party was held at Challet Kavallari in Athens. The evening began with the exchanging of the rings, cutting of the cake, and the first dance. The couple then stood patiently as family and friends passed by, one by one, and put a piece of jewelry on either the bride or the groom. Then, like most Greek parties, we ate, drank, and danced the whole night through. 

Although I have been to Greece a number of times before, this trip was an unforgettable experience.
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My Summer Experience
in Greece
by Renee Papageorgiou

Orpheus Youth Member Renee PapageorgiouEver since I can remember, I have been going to Greece for my summer vacations!  I look forward to leaving and being able to spend time in my cwrio RizeV (village named Riza), which is a few minutes away from the city of Tripoli.  There, I spend many hours with friends, relatives and cwrianoi (townspeople). One of my most favorite things to do is going to the plateia (town square) to play volleyball. Another thing that I enjoy is dancing in my cwrio (village’s) dance troupe.

Since my cwrio has many festivals throughout the year, a dance troupe has been formed.  The dance troupe performs at the cwrio biggest festival, Agia MarinaV (St. Marina) in July and also at many other festivals throughout the Tegea (Tegea) area (Riza is located in the Tegea section of Tripoli).  For the past four or five summers, I have been joining the troupe for the summer months.  I learn many new and interesting dances from all over Greece; many like those that I learn at Orpheus.

This summer, I was very happy to dance with the dance troupe.  With the help of Gianni and Kosta, who wrote a recommendation for me, and with the help of Orpheus teaching me many dances, I was able to dance with the advanced group (older kids) as opposed to dancing with the beginners group (younger kids).  I knew many of the dances that were performed.  The cwrianoi (townspeople) were very surprised to see a Greek-American dancing all the difficult dances.  They realized that we Amerikanakia (Greek-Americans) could rise to the occasion!

Dancing this past winter with Orpheus made it much easier for me to dance and learn the figoureV (variations).  I found dancing in Greece just as fun as dancing here in the United States.  The kids were just as excited and enthusiastic!  When the performance came around, I was so excited.  I couldn’t wait for the presentation to start!  I was so confident because I had performed the dances many times throughout the year.  The performance was great fun compared to the practices we had!  We had many hours of daily practices in the mornings AND afternoons.

The performance was much like other performances.  There were picture-takers, video-tapping parents, excited giagiadeV and pappoudeV (grandmas and grandpas) and proud cwrianoi all waiting to see what the children had prepared for them.  I will never forget how the spectators were so excited to see us perform.  After the performance, all the kids stayed in their traditional costumes and opened up the dance for everyone.  Everyone got up and joined.  We all danced until xhmeromata (dawn).

I will never forget the fun times I have had in Greece, especially this summer’s memories.  I was so happy to be dancing with the advanced group, finally, and I owe it all to Orpheus for teaching me the dances. (Thank You Orpheus!!)  I can’t wait to go back next summer and show my cwrio once again what I have learned!!

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St. George School Presents
Play in Greece
by Eleni Gouvas
Elisseos Sianis and Eleni GouvaThis summer the high school students of St. George Greek school went to Crete for two weeks, at the invitation of the University of Crete, to perform The Great Anger of Achilles, from The Iliad.Among these students were Orpheus members, Ageliki and Giota Gikis, Eleni Gouvas, Elisseo Sianis,and Katerina Skontos.The students had performed this play as annual school performance. Their principal, Mrs. Julia Patrianakou, sent a tape of the play to the University of Crete in Chania. Every year the university chooses one play from each country. This year, St. George's Greek High School won, and thus represented the US. Greek schools from Russia, Germany, Australia, and Canada also attended the program in Crete.

Principal Julia Patrianakou and Mrs. Dina SianisDuring the first week of the camp-type program, each group watched the others perform their play. Although they were competing against each other, strong friendships were formed. At the end of the week, the winners were announced. Australia was first, Germany and Russia tied for second, St. George received third place and Canada came in fourth. Even though St. George did not receive first place, they did a fantastic job. They won first place for best costumes, thanks to Mrs. Sianis who made all the costumes as well as the scenery for the play. Also, Elisseo Sianis won first place for best actor.

During the second week, the group toured many ancient sites. They went to Chania, Heraklio, the remains of Knossos, the archaeological museum close in Heraklio, and many monasteries throughout Crete. They also had a great time at various beaches, restaurants, and taverns. The group will never forget such a wonderful experience. They met and made many friends, they learned a lot about Crete from the tours, and they learned how to improve their acting skills. The group would like to thank Mrs. Julia, Mrs. Sianis, and Mrs. Gouvas (the students' teacher) for putting up with them, "tous trelanamai," we drove them crazy! Congratulations to all the high school students of St. George!

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We Moved!!

The Orpheus Dane Troupe, after practicing for nearly ten years at River Park in Chicago, has moved its Thursday dance sessions to a new practice facility.  The new site is the multipurpose room of St. John Lutheran Church, 3020 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook.  The facility is located a mile north of the intersection of Lake (Euclid) and Milwaukee.

Thursday practice hours at the new facility will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Youth Group), 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Adult Group - beginners/intermediate) and 7:30-9:00 p.m. (Adult Group - intermediate/advanced).  The new location will enable the Orpheus Dance Troupe to be more accessible to a larger part of the Greek American community.  It has been encouraging to see the increased participation of our young members in the Orpheus Youth Group, who have demonstrated remarkable dedication and enthusiasm in promoting our Hellenic culture and traditions.

Youth members at practicePractices will continue to be held at the Glenview branch for Youth Group members only.  Saturday sessions take place from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of New Church, 74 Park Drive in Glenview (1 block west of the intersection of Shermer and Glenview Rd.).  For more information, maps, schedules and fees visit the Troupe’s web site at or contact one of its directors.

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Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer...
Harry Georgakopoulos

Algonquin IL.

Parents/Family From:

Filiatra, Greece.


Radio Frequency Electrical Engineer.

Time Dancing with Orpheus Group:

Seven years.

Thoughts on Dancing:

Greek dancing is comparable to riding your bike downhill through a water sprinkler during a hot summer day.

Favorite Dance:


Most Vivid OHFS Memory:

Post-performance celebrations at the famous Bubba's establishment in Saginaw, Michigan.

Favorite Greek Dish:

French fries with eggs.

Favorite Place in Greece:

Actually, there are quite a few places of which I am particularly fond (not limited to Greece).  Some of these include:  Stomio beach in Filiatra, the island of Mikonos, the Monastiraki district in Athens, the Plaka district in Athens, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans and Cancun, Mexico.

Hobbies/Sports/Other Interests:

Playing bouzouki, zourna, baglama, violin, guitar, dumbek, dancing, card magic, philosophy and cosmological physics, working out, playing basketball, going to movies, clubbing, playing tavli and chess, collecting stamps, collecting comic books, collecting coins, collecting various rocks and minerals, and politics.

Where I heard about Orpheus Dance Troupe:

I heard about Orpheus through the mother of a friend who in turn had heard about Orpheus on the radio!!

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Welcome to new Orpheus Youth members: Elena Antonakos, Dimitra Bounas, Phaedra Bounas, Dean Economos, Chris Kalapodis, Christos Karahalios, George Karahalios, Vicky Karahalios, Alexis Khosravani, Ariana Khosravani, Joanna Lialios, Nick Liavaditis, Evridiki Markoulatos, Tommy Minetos, Felicia Nikolaou,Maria Nikolaou,Anna Salapatas, Nikos Salapatas,Vasiliki Karapatakis, John Revas, Eliza Roussis.

Welcome to new Orpheus Adult members: Joanna Chiotis, Angeliki Gikas, Vicky Karabelas, Eleni Leberis, Tom Mihalopoulos, Patricia Minakakis, Tom Rolfes, Ellisseos Sianis, Kathy Skondos

Congratulations to Angie Siargos on her first performance with Orpheus at this year's Greek Town Festival. 
Congratulations to John Koutchoukos and Kiki Kakavas who were married on October 6th.
Congratulations to Damon Papolovich and Voula Drougas who were married on August 18th.
Balloon3.wmf (14594 bytes)Birthday greetings to:  Katerina Trikkas on October 5th; William Pierce on October 8th; Angie Siargos on October 9th; Christina Dallas on October 10th; Marianna Damianides on October 11; Eleni Poulakis on October 12th; Angela Trikkas on October 30th; Joy Economos on November 7th; Kostas Giannopoulos on November 17th; Jamie Leberis on December 7th; Dimitri Dallas on December 12th; Georgia Limberopoulos on December 17th; George Kakis on December 18th; Alexis Khosravani on December 25th and John & Kosta Economou on December 30th.

Na ta ekatostisete!

Namesday wishes to Dimitra Bounas, Dimitri Dallas and Jim Thanopoulos on October 26; Barbara Dallas and Barbara Siargos on December 4; Katerina Economou, Kathy Tomaras, Kathy Skondos, Kathy Grosso, Katerina Trikkas on November 25th; Nick Livaditis, Niki Rigas, and Nicholas Vass on December 6th; and Christina Dallas, Christina Economou, Christina Grosso, Christina Kakavas, Chris Kalapodis, Christina Minakakis and Christina Pagones on December 25th. Chronia Polla!

Chronia Polla!

Congratulations to Pat Tomaras on her engagement to fiancÚ Vangeli Giorgas.
Congratulations to Alexandros Pavlos for graduating from the University of Illinois, Urbana with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Congratulations also on his new job as an Electrical Engineer at Motorola.

Congratulations to Harry Georgakopoulos on his new job as an Radio Frequency Electrical Engineer at Andrews Corporation. 

Congratulations to Sofia Sianis in joining the Orpheus Board of Directors.
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Last revised:
12/31/2012 10:41 AM