Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society Newsletter
|Previous issues of Lyra
|2005 Concert features Greek Immigrant Experience
|Greek Star Celebtrates 100th Year Anniversary
|Orpheus Youth Marks End of Year
|Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer
Greek Immigrant Experience
|The Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society is pleased to announce that it will be hosting its fourth Festival of Greek Music and Dance, a concert that will feature notable folk artists from Greece as well as performances by the Orpheus Dance Troupe. This event will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2005 at the Glenbrook South High School auditorium in Glenview. The previous Festivals of Music and Dance have been very well-received and have become one of the most anticipated cultural events in the Greek American community.
The theme of this year's festival is the Greek immigrant experience. There is an abundance of Greek folk songs and dances inspired by this subject as Greeks have been emigrating to far away lands for centuries. In addition to folk traditions, the emphasis of the presentation will focus on the personal experiences of Greeks that settled in the United States and particularly the Chicagoland area. The OHFS has joined an effort spearheaded by the Hellenic Museum of Chicago called the Oral History Project where immigrants� stories are documented through interviews. The goal of the project is to preserve the history of Greek immigrants, as told by themselves, for future generations. OHFS members have already conducted several interviews and more are to follow.
Material gathered from these interviews will be featured throughout the concert and will add to the excitement and drama of the presentation.
Save the date, Saturday, March 5, 2005 for the Festival of Greek Music and Dance: 'Immigrant Songs and Tales'. For concert updates and posting of current interview summaries visit the OHFS' web site at www.ohfs.org.
Interview summaries and pictures from interviews conducted by members of Orpheus
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100th Year Anniversary
|The Orpheus Dance Troupe performed at the Greek Star's 100th Year Anniversary event, which attracted over 700 guests to the Drury Lane Banquet Hall. All proceeds from the evening benefited the Hellenic Museum. The Greek Star is one of the oldest Greek publications still in circulation, an amazing accomplishment considering the challenges that ethnic media face in maintaining a solid readers' base.
The Orpheus Dance Troupe has maintained close relationships with both the Greek Star newspaper and the Hellenic Museum. The newspaper has printed numerous articles about Greek folk songs, dances and costumes that have been published in this newsletter and has featured many of the Troupe's activities. We are grateful to Diane Lymberopoulos-Adam, the Greek Star's editor, and her staff, for their support and cooperation. In regards to the Hellenic Museum, the Orpheus Dance Troupe has participated and assisted in many events hosted by the Museum over the last 12 years. The latest project that OHFS has sought assistance from the Museum is the Oral History Project, which documents the history of Greek immigrants through interviews. Material gathered from these interviews will be featured at a live concert presentation that will take place on March 5, 2005. See page 1 for more information. In addition, interview material will be archived at the Hellenic Museum so that it can be available for future public access. Congratulations to the Greek Star for its 100th Year anniversary and we look forward to maintaining our strong relationship in the future!
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End of Year Event
The End of the Year event of the Orpheus Youth group took place last May at St. John Church in Des Plaines. The Youth members showcased dances and songs that they learned during the last year. Several Youth members that will be moving on to the adult group next year had a chance to reflect on their experiences with the Orpheus Youth group.
Exerpts of their speeches follows:
My name is Maria and I�m a dance-aholic. The first step to curing this problem is realizing that you have a problem. The next step is identifying the cause. In this case, the cause is five consecutive years of dancing with the Orpheus Youth Group.
When I first signed up, I was only ten years old. I was forced to go to learn Greek dances every Saturday for an hour. Little did I know that I would be dancing with this group for the next four years. As I grew, my knowledge of the Greek dance grew, as did my passion. My knowledge of the geography of Greece also improved! Now, I am not forced to go, but I force my parents to take me every week so I can learn dances from all over our beloved country. What can I say? I�m hooked!
But, how can you tell if you�ve been hooked by the dance troupe? There are ten ways to recognize this:
10) You can�t hide your excitement when you hear Greek music.
9) You think the costumes are an awesome fashion statement.
8) You know where every dance is from.
7) Going to Orpheus is the highlight of your week.
6) When you listen to music, you always have an Orpheus CD.
5) Because of this, people have stopped asking you what you�re listening to.
4) You dream about Orpheus consciously and subconsciously.
3) No matter what, you always have a dance in your step.
2) You go to Goodi�s after Saturday dance class.
1) You can finally tell Yanni and Kosta apart.
If anyone was to ask what my most vivid memory was, I�d have to say the Niles West concert that I had the opportunity to participate in three years ago. That year, my friends and I had the opportunity to dance to the beautiful music of the KEROS music group. Months of preparation and pressure paid off that night. I remember being so nervous, and I looked at the people nearest me, and figured that I was with people that I�ve known for a year or more and that we were going to do an awesome job. And we did.
There are definitely a few things that I�ve gained from my experience with Orpheus. I�ve made new friends with people that have the same goal: to learn about our heritage through dance. Personally, it�s just another way for me to learn to express my pride of my ethnic background. The Youth Group has given all of us the opportunity to expand our knowledge of Greek dances past the basic dinner dances. Those of us that have been here for the last two or three years have definitely had a unique opportunity: to perform to the music of a live band that has traveled all the way from Greece.
When I think of Orpheus, specific people come to mind. These are the people that make it happen: Kostas,Yannis, Mrs. Grosso, Alex, Mrs. Barbara, and Popi. Without these wonderful people, we wouldn�t be able to learn the most extraordinary dances. All I can say is, �Thank you.� Thank you for all the opportunities and fun you�ve given all of us through the years. You are able to make a difference in our lives and make us feel proud to be Greek. I�m glad that I was forced to come here during my first year. I�m also glad to be joining the Adult Group this September. Good-bye Orpheus Youth Group and thank you for the memories.
Hi. I�m Vicky. I am a freshman and have two brothers, Spiro and Dimitri. My absolute favorite hobby is dancing. My parents are American-born, but my grandparents are from Tripoli and Trikala. I am second generation Greek on my mother�s side and third generation Greek on my father�s side. I am very proud to be Greek!
I have been a member of the Orpheus Dance Troupe for three years. The people who inspired me to join this troupe were Mrs. Dina Sianis and Mrs. Bessie Grosso and especially my mom who took the initiative and signed me up. Thanks mom. I am so glad I joined. I have met so many interesting people and have learned many dances. The people I have met here have become some of my closest friends. We have a lot of inside jokes.
Our teachers are a lot of fun. They always push us to be the best. Whenever we are lost, they never give up on us. I�m really glad they didn�t give up on me. They have patience and dedication, and it is because of them that I continue to come and learn.
All of my experiences have been exciting. From the MSI (Museum of Science and Industry) performance to performing at the church picnics in the summer, there hasn�t been one performance that I haven�t enjoyed. I was lucky enough to be part of the Dance Conference in New York. It was amazing. I saw people and dance troupes from other states. That aspect of the conference was a lot of fun. My most memorable experience was dancing in the lobby of the Park Central hotel.
The most important lesson I have learned from Orpheus is that our culture is beautiful and diverse. There are so many dances to be learned and we�re lucky to have the chance to learn them. We get the opportunity to learn these dances, not only from our teachers, but also from visiting dance instructors from Greece like Nancy and George. Just thinking about it is cool.
Out of all the dances we have learned so far, my favorite would have to be Pidihtos from the island of Rhodes, right Alex? I�ll see some of you this summer and most of you next year in the adult group. Thank you.
It�s the End of the Year celebration once again and another year at Orpheus has ended. It�s truly amazing at how quickly it has ended. In some ways, you could say you are happy but then can equally turn around and be sad. Well, these past weeks of reviewing dances and preparing for this event actually got me thinking about what dancing really means to me. I bet you could ask most of us here and we�d say we haven�t even thought about it. It�s just part of our routine to go every week!
Maria Karras was the one who discovered Orpheus first, and then told me what it was all about. I started at Orpheus when I was 12 but prior to that I had been in dancing classes offered at Greek school. I don�t remember a time when I wasn�t in a dancing class. I always found it fun. I always thought and was told: �You know, even most kids your age in Greece don�t learn these dances!� I guess I never really made the connection of how important it�s been. Greek dancing allows you to express yourself while, at the same time, expressing your Greek heritage and culture. When I�m dancing, I guess you could say the music just lets you �let go�, something important to a Gemini. Every week I think I�m too tired to go to practice, but when I finally get there I wouldn�t go back home if you asked me. It puts you in a different mood, focuses your concentration and simply makes you feel a rush of exhilaration. Also, I�ve always admired people who are good dancers so I guess you could say it helps me strive to be the best that I can be.
My experiences here at OHFS have been great. Performing has been a great experience. Just like with a play, the nervousness you have right before the performance goes right into the Greek dances you are performing; and I guess you could say that�s a good thing. After a performance you feel� well at least I feel sad because it�s over. The only thing you can do is look forward to the next one!
I�m happy to say that I�ve been able to complete another great year at Orpheus and I�m happy to say that I�m looking forward to next year. BUT, I�m still sad that I�ll miss that weekly haven. I�m sad because I�m going to miss that invigorating part of my weekly routine. It also makes me sad to leave the people for a whole summer! However, you can�t dwell on the inevitable and �this too shall pass� and so I guess what I must do is take my self-discovered advice over the course of being at OHFS which is �Always smile!�
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|Spotlight on Orpheus Dancer...
Both of my parents are from the island of Lefkada
|Time Dancing with Orpheus Group:
|Thoughts on Dancing:
I really enjoy Greek dancing! I have been dancing since I was eight years old, and I still love every minute of it. Greek dancing has the power to bring me closer to my heritage and to introduce me to new and exciting customs, people and concepts from all over the world. I value the countless hours of practice that I have put into this hobby of mine. It has made me a far better person.
I like all of them! However, Ballos from Cyclades, Ballos from the island of Kefalonia, and island dances in general, are the ones that I can dance continuously!
|Most Vivid OHFS Memory:
MANY!!! However, the most vivid one is probably the winter dance conference of 2004 in New York. Orpheus put on a great performance with live music and dancing during this event. We danced non-stop for three days!
|Favorite Greek Dish:
Pastitsada ( makaronada from the island of Corfu). Definitely my favorite dish!
|Favorite Place in Greece:
Of course my island of Lefkada, which includes the third best beach in the world, called Porto Katsiki!
Dancing, watching movies, shopping, cooking, traveling, swimming, surfing and decoration.
|Nobody knows I:
placed first in the games of gymnastics exercises, in the area of the seven islands and third in the Pan-Hellenic Games when I was thirteen years old.
|Best childhood memory:
Sleeping in a tent with other kids when I was seven years old, in my father's camping grounds in Lefkada.
|Dream vacation/the perfect weekend:
My dream vacation would be on an exotic island (probably Canary Islands) with my fianc�, where I could surf, swim and generally be on the beach all day long.
|Someone I 'd like to meet:
|Favorite building/spot in Chicago:
The Hancock Building where my fianc� proposed to me!
|I'm currently looking for/forward to:
getting married on my island next summer, graduating from Roosevelt University, and starting my Masters Degree in Accounting.
|I stay home to watch:
movies, Greek shows, the grass grow and Harry playing the bouzouki.
My prized possession is my origin, heritage and my whole family!
|Where I heard about Orpheus Dance Troupe:
My fianc� Harry introduced me to the Orpheus dance troupe.
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