SAN FRANCISCO – The Elios Charitable Foundation continued to raise awareness and funds at this year’s Hellenic Charity Ball on Nov. 2 with proceeds from the star-studded event benefiting Greek educational and cultural programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
The biennial gala paid tribute to distinguished arts and entertainment luminaries in the Greek-American community; this year’s honorees were San Francisco Symphony trumpet player of 47 years, Chris Bogios and his son, Counting Crows drummer, Jim Bogios; internationally acclaimed tenor, Mario Frangoulis; and American film producer, Stratton Leopold.
Former honoree and mistress of ceremonies, Marilu Henner kept guests on their toes, while guests enjoyed a performance by former honoree Constantine Maroulis, traditional Greek dancing, and a surprise duet from Chris and Jim Bogios.
Bay Area native, Chris Bogios played trumpet for the San Francisco Symphony for over four decades and helped to lead the charge for fundamental changes in the Bay Area classical music scene. Now retired, Bogios toured internationally under the direction on Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Chris’s son, Jim Bogios, influenced by his father’s musical chops, has been playing the drums since he was a child.
With beginnings in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Jim has performed and recorded with Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Prince and Ben Folds. Jim currently plays drums with Counting Crows, as he has for over 10 years.
Frangoulis is one of the most famous tenors of the 21st Century, with the ability to sing everything from a hard-rock anthem to an operatic aria.
He attended London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study acting and singing. While at Guildhall, he was discovered by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who immediately hired Frangoulis upon his graduation to play the character of Marius in Les Miserables in London’s West End.
Soon thereafter, he was invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to play the role of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera to great critical acclaim. Despite intensive training and being awarded the Maria Callas Prize, Frangoulis is anything but a conventional operatic singer.
He has assumed the role of Tony in West Side Story at Milan’s La Scala, performed in epic presentations of Greek Tragedies, including in the ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus and appeared in the film De Lovely, performing Cole Porter’s So In Love with the world-famous singer Lara Fabian.
Frangoulis is best known for his powerful and charismatic live performances. He sings in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Greek, and loves to blend multiple musical styles (opera, pop, rock, folk, soul/R&B, world).
Committed to preserving Hellenism culture and ideals, Elios has granted more than $800,000 to like-minded organizations and projects since the first Hellenic Charity Ball in 1997. Beneficiaries include the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Modern Greek Studies Program at San Francisco State University, the Center for Tebtunis Papyri at UC-Berkeley, Hellenic Heritage Institute, Hellenic Research Fellowship Program at Sacramento State University.
Also the Metropolis of San Francisco Folk Dance Cultural Programs, Modern Greek Studies Foundation for the San Francisco Greek Film Festival, Nemea Center at UC-Berkeley, PBS for the documentary The Greek Americans II: Passing the Torch, and United Hellenic American Society.