NEW YORK – The Archdiocesan Cathedral Choir Christmas Concert, entitled God Is with Us, was held virtually this year with the gifted members singing the Christmas hymns and traditional carols of the season in segments recorded at various churches in the Archdiocese.
The event began with welcoming remarks from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America who noted that it was the first ever virtual concert for the Choir and thanked the Dean of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Rev. Fr. Nikolas Karloutsos, Cathedral Board President Stella Pantelidis, the Choir's Director of Music Evey Simon and Associate Director of Music Costas Tsourakis, and all its members “for their tremendous effort to share this concert and spread the joy of these holy days.”
“As we commence the concert, entitled God Is with Us, let us invoke these sacred verses from the Prophet Isaiah that sing to us of the coming in the flesh of the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, the God who is with us,” His Eminence said and then recited the verses in Greek and English which begin, “God is with us, for unto us a child is born, and to us a son is given.”
The concert's opening song, Joy to the World by G.F. Handel, performed at St. Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, was followed by an introduction in English and Greek by Costas Tsourakis, the director of the virtual concert, who thanked the Archdiocesan Cathedral community and the musicians who participated in the concert and noted that the proceeds benefit the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Tsourakis also wished everyone all the best for holiday season.
The next song in the program, entitled God Is With Us by John Tavener, was performed at the Cathedral with Dawn Helene on organ and a powerful solo by Tsourakis, followed by I Yennisis Sou Christe, arranged by Dino Anagnost and performed at St. Barbara Church, I Parthenos Simeron, arranged by Dawn Helene, was performed at St. Gerasimos Church.
Anarchos Theos, a traditional Byzantine carol, was performed with Lamprini Kampouras-Psyllos on kanonaki at Saint Catherine and Saint George Church in Astoria.
Fr. Karloutsos and assistant priest Fr. Sotiri Michalatos offered their greetings as well during the virtual concert, thanking everyone for their continuing support, and wishing everyone a merry Christmas, blessed Nativity and a happy new year. “Christ is born, glorify Him,” Fr. Karloutsos said, which was the title of the next song performed by a virtual choir featuring 40 participants from the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians from across the United States. The choral arrangement was by Dawn Helene and Dino Anagnost, artist-in residence at Archdiocesan Cathedral, compiled and edited by Tsourakis.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing was next in the program, sung in English and Greek, followed by the Megalynarion performed by chanter Maria Eleni Zollo at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, and Echo Carol at the Archdiocesan Cathedral. Pray to Love by Dmitri Bortniansky was performed at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Protection, while Your Birth, O Christ, arranged by Tikey Zes, was performed at St. Gerasimos, followed by O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam, performed by talented soprano Alyson Spina and Dawn Helene on piano, at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.
The concert concluded with the Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah with footage and photos from the previous two Christmas Concerts, reminding viewers of the spirit of the season and the hope to see everyone at next year's concert in person.
More information is available online: www.thecathedralnyc.org.