PALM HARBOR, FL – More than 140 children and young adults in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta gathered from parishes all over Florida to perform at the 3rd Annual Greek Orthodox Youth Talent Show of Tampa Bay.
Over 700 people were in the audience for the February 19 show at the Palm Harbor University Theater. Among the dignitaries were His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Congressman Michael Bilirakis, Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos, Consul General Adamantis Klotsa, Vicar Fr. James Rousakis, and area Greek Orthodox clergy.
The event featured performers of all ages share their God given talents. This year’s show had 24 performances (140 performers) and the Master of Ceremonies was Xrisanthi Giannis- Meteorologist of Fox News, Orlando.
The performers chose their own style of art and many came showcasing their original pieces. Included in the night’s acts were Greek folk music performances, vocalists, musicians on laouto, violin, piano, and guitar along with Broadway favorites and dance routines ranging from hip hop to ballroom.
One highlight of the event was 12-year-old Vasi Paris who performed a tribute Julia Mounts – an absolutely brilliant prodigy who participated in the first year’s show. Julia bravely struggled with and ultimately lost her battle to cancer shortly after her 2015 performance.
Vasi, was there to see Julia perform that night and told her mother, “Mommy, one day I would like to play like Julia.” This year everyone in the audience had tears in their eyes as they listened and watched Vasi play “Lyric Nocturne” on piano as her tribute to Julia.
Among the churches that performed were St. Nicholas- Tarpon Springs, St. Barbara- Sarasota, Holy Trinity- Clearwater, Holy Trinity- Orlando, St. Stefanos- St. Petersburg, St. John- Tampa, St. George- Port Richey, and host parish Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Palm Harbor.
“It’s amazing to see these kids so proud of their Hellenic roots and Orthodox Christian ideals,” said the show’s founder and director, Erine Koulianos. “What a blessing to be able to showcase these hidden talents and passions. It has been so incredible to see the youth come together in fellowship in a beautiful spirit of love and unity.”
The show takes an entire year to prepare. A tremendous amount of hard work goes into organizing the acts individual acts into one cohesive and full energy production with so many talents coming from all over Tampa Bay and beyond.
Over 75 volunteers assisted in the production including the ushers, lights, sound, and stage crew. For this year’s production, Irene Karakoviros- vocal director, Nick Macris- music director along with Maria Sarantis- event Co-Chair coordinated with others to prepare a medley of songs for the show’s finale.
The demo was emailed out months in advance for all the artists to practice. The night ended with all the performers and volunteers filling the stage playing instruments, singing, and dancing. It was a truly beautiful evening for the performers and audience alike.
The proceeds of this unique event continue to benefit the construction of the Panaghia Chapel at the Diakonia Retreat Center in Salem, SC. “This beautiful act of service will help to create an environment which ensures that our children, grandchildren, and countless future generations will always have a place which reflects God’s glory and the pride of our Greek Orthodox heritage.
The participants are exceptionally talented. The caring parents encourage their children to express themselves in an environment that’s supportive and loving. The youth is excited and are inspired by each other to challenge themselves in a productive and creative way,” said His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta.