Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter
Summer 2001
Previous issues of Lyra
2001 Festival of Greek Music and Dance...An Overwhelming Success!!
Youth Group Updates
Exotic Adventures
Spotlight on Orpheus Youth Dancer
2001 Festival of
Greek Music and Dance
An Overwhelming Success!!
At the conclusion of the April 28 concert for the Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2001, a brief conversation that took place between two audience members summarized its success. Dr. Alexopoulos asked Dr. Kioutas whether it could ever be possible to describe the quality of this event to someone who was not present. And the response was, "Impossible. You had to be there yourself to enjoy this event with all your senses!"
The visiting virtuoso folk musicians from Greece took the capacity audience that was present at the Rubloff Auditorium at the Chicago Historical Society on a musical journey that they will remember for a long time.

The Gevgelis group from Goumenissa, Kilkis left an impression with the loud sounds of the zourna and daouli even without the assistance of any microphones!

The Chrysodaktili Brass Band from Edessa exhibited a unique dimension of Greek musical traditions never heard before in Chicago with brass instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet, accordion and drums. Their sound echoed well beyond the walls of the auditorium!

Chronis Aidonides and his splendid musical group presented songs from Thrace. Mr. Aidonides with his exquisite voice and calm demeanor brought a sense of pride, dignity and admiration to this art form. He is truly a legend in spreading, researching and preserving Greece's musical traditions from Thrace as well as other regions for over 40 years!

The response of the public to this event was overwhelming. Audience members traveled from states such as Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and even Texas (!) in order to attend this unique event. The local folk dance community responded with enthusiasm and people from all cultures filled the auditorium. Their 10-minute standing ovation at the conclusion of the concert with all the musicians performing on stage was heartwarming and thrilling. We always appreciate the support and encouraging words from His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos and General Consul of Greece Hon. Copsidis who were in attendance.

The Orpheus Dance troupe was truly honored to have these amazing artists accompany them in a selection of dances from Macedonia and Thrace. Congratulations are due to all the members who worked very hard to put together a demanding program of dances. The only rehearsal with the musicians took place just moments prior to the concert! Many thanks to all Orpheus members and supporters who worked in other capacities during the concert and contributed greatly to its success. Last, special thanks are due to Dr. Michael Kontos who graciously accepted the role of the Master of Ceremonies. We have valued greatly his friendship and guidance. Dr. Kontos along with his wife Eva have been the directors of the Apollo Dance Troupe in Aurora for over 20 years.

During an impromptu party/reception that took place after the concert, the musicians treated guests to another demonstration of their talent. They played a variety of traditional folk songs where everyone was welcome to dance.

It was a special time, away from the pressures of the formal musical presentation during which musicians, Orpheus members and their friends, along with other audience members enjoyed each other's company until the early hours of the morning!

We are grateful to many other individuals and organizations for their support. Their names are listed in other parts of this edition and we hope that we will enjoy their support in future events.
Plans are already under way for a 2002 concert, which will tentatively take place on Saturday, March 16, 2002. More details will follow soon. Stay tuned!

Below are comments received from the surveys:

The music was wonderful!

Loved the dancing...

Sitting to music this wonderful is painful.  It should be in a hall where dancing is possible...

We love you!! Do not stop !!

The dancers were awesome and the musicians to die for...

Thank you!  Congratulations on a superb program!

We need more of these cultural events.

The show was great.  I loved the dancing and music.

Words fail me.  We need more of these functions in Chicago.

Dances were excellent, different.

Outstanding program!

It was nice to hear the forgotten Greek music.

Congratulations on a great job!  Please continue teaching us our great traditions.

This was fantastic!  Keep up the good job.

Please send information about next year's concert.

Sponsor List:

World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE of America)

Olympia Development (William and George Touloumis)

Jim Stoynoff

Johnny's Kitchen and Tap (Glenview, IL)

Metsovo Cultural Organization of Chicago

Maria I. Davis

Sara Lee Coffee and Tea

Roula Architects and Associates

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Youth Group Updates
2001Skokie3.jpg (61768 bytes)The Orpheus Youth Group ended their third year on May 19th with their finale performance at the Skokie Festival of Cultures. The presentation showcased the different dances they learned in the past year. The crowd responded enthusiastically to the youth performance, especially for Mitso Dallas' get-away "tsarouchi" during the variations for "Pentozali"! The presentation of the youth group was followed by the Orpheus adult group which featured dances from the Greek Islands. This was the tenth year that the Orpheus Dance Troupe participated in the Skokie Festival of Cultures.

While the performance marked the official end of the youth's instructional year, three weeks earlier, on April 29th, the youth group performed at the annual dinner dance for the GOYA at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines. Youth group and St. John GOYA member Tom Mihalopoulos initiated the arrangement for a performance that was originally thought to feature only a few of the youth members. However, close to 30 kids signed up to perform at the event, which made quite an impression on the evenings' attendees. Of course, many of the kids stayed after the performance to practice their skills to music spun by the evening's Greek DJ!

Orpheus Youth Session -2001After the rush of the Memorial Day holiday and end-of-year Greek school programs, the Orpheus Youth were back in line on June 9th for the start of the summer sessions, held at Plato Academy in Niles. Seventeen kids registered for the 8-week session, many of them new to the group! Smaller groups allow for instruction of dances with more complicated choreography and steps, and the youth have learned dances from Thrace, Dodecannese, Macedonia and dances with spoons from Asia Minor. Of course, there is always time to review the traditional "kalamatiano" and "tsamiko"!

With the success of the summer and the end of the past instruction year behind us, the Orpheus Youth Group and the instructors are looking forward to starting up again in September! If you know of any youth ages 10-14 that would like to know another dimension of Hellenic culture, call Vasiliki Grosso at 773-286-5132 or Yannis Economou at 847-657-0958 for more information or log onto the web site at

See you in the fall!
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Exotic Adventures
by Harry Georgakopoulos
Every so often, in the midst of hectic work schedules, grueling practice sessions and extravagant beauty pageants, Orpheus members find the time to embark on weekend field trips to far-away and exotic places.

This past May and June, the Orpheus Dance Troupe was invited to perform at local church festivals in St. Louis, Missouri and Saginaw, Michigan. Out of town performances tend to be quite demanding on all of the participants. These events usually involve long hours of practice, lengthy travel times, tiring performances and having to put up with Yanni and Kostas' senses of humor. In the end though, the overall experience is extremely rewarding! These trips not only provide us with the unique opportunity to present and perpetuate the rich history and traditions of the folk music, songs and dances of Greece, they also allow for the formation of strong friendships among the members of the group and between Orpheus and the respective communities.

It has been five years since the Orpheus Dance Troupe found itself traveling south on I-55 to St. Louis. Back then, the occasion was "PANEGYRI 1996". This time around, the Troupe was invited to participate in the Greek Festival organized by the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church over the Memorial Day weekend.

The crowds poured in during all four days of the festival. The people were extremely enthusiastic about the dance performances and very pleased by the overall organization of the event. The food was excellent and the hospitality was heartwarming. Volunteers from the local parish worked assiduously throughout the weekend to ensure a successful festival.
A total of five performances were scheduled during our stay in St. Louis. These were comprised of two mainland and three island performances. The senior and youth dance groups of the local parish also put on an excellent show.

Assumption Church Greek Festival, St. Louis, MissouriApart from the dancing and the constant munching, Orpheus members had the opportunity to socialize with the local folks. This intermingling, however, was by no means restricted to single species interaction. One of the most memorable characters that struck our fancy ended up being a friendly lama that we met in a petting zoo on the church grounds. The lama was even courteous enough to pose in a picture with some of the Orpheus dancers. Lama, we love you!!

Orpheus would like to thank Dean Bellos, director of the local dance group in St. Louis, for his invitation and care during our visit. Dean is an old acquaintance that shares a similar passion for Greek folk music and dance. He recently visited Chicago with members of his group and attended the April 28th concert at the Chicago Historical Society.

Saginaw, MichiganSaginaw, Michigan is located approximately 340 miles northeast of Chicago. The entire trip via mini-van lasted roughly 5 hours. This time around, the dance troupe was fortunate enough to have in its company some of the world's finest musicians. Mitso Dallas on bouzouki and baglama, Harry G. on bouzouki, Peter Panagakis on violin and touberleki, Antoni Giannopoulos on guitar and last but not least Sophia, Barbara, Becky and Eftychia on vocals. Time flew by as the "Orpheus Ensemble"( played some of their famous songs in the car on the way to Michigan.
This marked the fourth year in a row that the Orpheus dance troupe has been invited to perform at the Greek Festival of the St. Demetrios Church. As in St. Louis, the program in Saginaw included two mainland and three island performances. The turnout for the festival during all three days was astounding! Literally thousands of people crowded the church premises with the intent of indulging themselves in some of the exquisite Greek cuisine, the live music and the splendid dance performances by Orpheus and the other local dance groups
Saginaw, MichiganThe local community in Saginaw was extremely hospitable and friendly during our entire stay there. Some of the parishioners gave us a tour of the town and introduced us to the incredible nightlife of Saginaw. The after-hours festivities culminated with a visit to the world renowned "Bubbas", where the Orpheus dancers showed off their folk, hip-hop, break-dance, country and polka dance moves.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Soula and Alexia Economou, co-chairpersons of the Saginaw festival, as well as the rest of the Michigan folks who made our stay a memorable one.
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Spotlight on Orpheus Youth Dancer...
Tom Mihalopoulos
TomMihalopoulos.jpg (14301 bytes)

Mount prospect, IL.

Parents/Family From:

Kalamata, Greece.


High School Student (Sophomore).

Time Dancing with Orpheus Group:

Almost three years.

Thoughts on Dancing:

I have always loved dancing.  I joined the troupe to learn more and new Greek dances.  It’s been lots of fun.

Favorite Dance:

Pousnitsa from Macedonia

Most Vivid OHFS Memory:

Well let’s see.  There is so many but I would have to say that it was when Mitso did a flip in practice and hit his head on the wall..

Favorite Greek Dish:

Lamb with potatoes in the oven.

Favorite Place in Greece:

It probably be in Thessaloniki because I went to Lefkos Pirgos (White Tower) and it was awesome.

Hobbies/Sports/Other Interests:

I play basketball and I like spending time on the internet

Where I heard about Orpheus Dance Troupe:

My cousin Nick who used to be a member of the troupe.

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Welcome to new Orpheus Youth members: Louie Costa, Christos Gikas,  Theresa Karras, John Sakelaris, Markos Sarantopoulos, Theofanis Sarantopoulos, Angela Trikkas, Katerina Trikkas.

Welcome to new Orpheus Adult member: John Simeonides.
Congratulations to Gregory and Angie Poulos for the birth of their daughter Katerina Panayiota Poulos born on March 18, 2001.
Congratulations to Albert and Marianna Gudmundsson for the birth of their son Christian Gudmuundsson born on July 10th, 2001.
Six members of the Orpheus youth and adult group are traveling to Greece to star in an original ancient Greek play written by St. George Greek School principal, Mrs. Julia Patrianakos featuring costumes and props by Mrs. Dina Sianis.The presentation was selected among many entries from across the country to represent the United States at the World Theater competition among Greek school from all over the globe! The competition will take place the first week of July in Rethymno, Crete.The students are: Angeliki Gikas, Panagiota Gikas, Eleni Gouvas, Elisaios Sianis, Kathy Skondos and Amanda Stamelos. Good luck to you all!
Balloon3.wmf (14594 bytes)Birthday greetings to:  Jim Thanopoulos, July 3; Vasiliki Kourkouvis, July 10; Alexis Arvanitis, July 11; Lexia Vadevoulis, July 16; Barbara Dallas July 18; Vivian Danaskos, July 22; Elias Papadakis, July 27; Joanna Chiotis, August 26; Renee Papageorgiou, August 20; Alexander Kapotas, September 29

Na ta ekatostisete!

Nameday wishes to Elias Papadakis on July 20; Marianna Kaltsa, Marianna Damianides, Maria Daskalakis, Patty Pappas, Patty Droulias, Pat Tomaras, Peter Panagakis, Peter Papageorgiou, Peter Vass, Panagiota Gikas on August 15th; Alexis Arvanitis, Alexandra Baboulas, Alexandra Usher, Alex Pavlos and Alexander Kapotas on August 30th; Stavros Alexopoulos on September 14th; Sophia Tsipianitis and Sophia Sianis on September 17th.

Chronia Polla!

Congratulations to Christina Kakavas on her engagement to fiancÚ Marjon Kodric.
Congratulations to Peter Panagakis for graduating from the University of Illinois, Urbana with a degree in Economics and Business and Angeliki Siargos for graduating from DePaul University with a degree in Math.
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Last revised:
12/31/2012 10:41 AM