Echos of Greece performing at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Hall. (Photo: Erin Ryan)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The ‘Echoes of Greece’ concert took place on January 21, featuring Grammy-nominated laouta virtuoso Vasilis Kostas and South Florida musicians Tom Alexander on keyboard, Tom Lee on drums, and Rusty Heck on bass, in an amazing evening of traditional Greek music and jazz fusion at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale. Local AHEPA Chapter #394 had the vision to bring these four artists together for a night that won’t soon be forgotten.
Tom Alexander, a member of the chapter, grew up in a musically-inclined family that owned movie houses. Having grown up around scores by some of the most famous conductors, gravitating toward music made perfect sense. Alexander spent most of his career working in the radio industry as a producer, sports host, and voice over actor, and now produces and hosts several podcasts. He is currently working on a new project called Four Villages which represents the four villages in the Peloponnese region of Greece where his paternal and maternal grandparents were born. The Echoes of Greece concert included several pieces from this upcoming work.
Vasilis Kostas, originally from Ioannina in Epirus, Greece, flew in for this special engagement. He is a member of the Grammy-nominated group Global Messengers – an international team of musicians lead by Grammy Award-winning pianist Danilo Perez. Global Messengers is comprised of musicians from the world renowned Berklee College of Music. Kostas received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Berklee and this is where he first picked up the laouto and begin his journey. His innovative approach of combining a traditional Greek instrument with jazz improv and fusion gives his music a unique sound and opened the door for him to perform around the world at jazz festivals and with renowned musicians.
Kostas is currently living in Greece where he teachers laouto for the Department of Music, Science, and Art at the University of Macedonia and continues to perform. He is involved with the New England Greek Orchestra, which is a part of the Anatoliama non-profit organization, bringing talented Greek-American musicians together to study, research, and explore Greek traditional music. The New England Greek Orchestra is a permanent program that will begin this September in Boston. It will offer weekly music classes and seminars with renowned artists from Greece culminating in a concert at the end of each academic year. They will also hold auditions and interviews for students and give scholarships to musicians.
CHERRY HILL, NJ – On March 25th, the honorable day that we celebrate our modern Greek nation’s independence from the yoke of Ottoman occupation, and, of course, even more importantly, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the good news that she will bear our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the St.
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