Manolis Mitsias and Nana Binopoulou onstage at the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, NY on September 23. (Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos)
NEW YORK – Legendary Greek singer Manolis Mitsias impressed the audience with his performance in the concert titled 50 Golden Years, celebrating a half century of his contribution to Greek music. Presented by the Pancyprian Association at the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in front of a capacity crowd on September 23, the concert, with Music Director and pianist Achilleas Wastor, also featured singer Nana Binopoulou and the Pancyprian Choir of New York under the direction of Artistic and Musical Director Phyto Stratis.
Also performing in the concert were the talented musicians Iraklis Zakkas on bouzouki, Costas Blatazanis on guitar, Tasos Athanasias on accordion, Engin Kaan Gunaydin on drums, and Angelos Papadatos on bass.
The program highlighted the beloved Mitsias’ greatest hits and his dynamic collaborations with the greatest composers and poets of Greece including Manos Hatzidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Akis Panou, Stavros Xarhakos, Manos Loizos, Thanos Mikroutsikos, and Stamatis Kraounakis, and poets/lyricists Nikos Gatsos and Manos Eleftheriou, among others.
‘An Thimithis t’Oneiro Mou’, ’Stin Elefsina Mia Fora’, ‘O Giannis o Fonias’, ‘Mi Htipas’, and ‘Pote’ were among the many fan favorites Mitsias performed to the delight of audience members who knew all the lyrics by heart. The Pancyprian Choir joined Mitsias onstage for five songs, ‘Tsamikos’, ’T’asteri tou Voria’, ‘Dromoi Pallioi’, ‘Arnisi’, and ’Tis Dikeosinis’ which was the final song of the evening with everyone singing along.
The concert also included the world premiere of a moving new song by Iraklis Zakkas who performed on the bouzouki in the concert, inspired by the February 28 train tragedy at Tempi, Greece. The song’s evocative lyrics and Mitsias’ stirring performance brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance.
Held under the auspices of the Hellenic Republic and in cooperation with numerous Hellenic-American organizations, the concert was for the benefit of the Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Program and the Hellenic American Project (HAP) at Queens College.
At the conclusion of the concert, Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher thanked all the performers, especially Mitsias, calling him the “Frank Sinatra of Greece.” Christopher also thanked all the sponsors, benefactors, and everyone for attending, noting the importance of supporting the Hellenic programs at Queens College and at all the universities and colleges across the country. He invited HAP Director Professor Nicholas Alexiou, Director of the Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Department Dr. Gerasimus Katsan, and the representatives of the various organizations who made donations to say a few words including Chian Federation President Kyriaki Kalogera, Society of Kastorians ‘Omonoia’ NY President Demos Siokis, and AHEPA Supreme President Savas Tsivicos.
U.S. Representative Grace Meng, a member of the Hellenic Caucus, presented Mitsias with a proclamation declaring September 23 Manolis Mitsias Day in her district which is home to many Hellenes. She also shared personal memories of growing up in Queens and visiting Astoria on weekends with her Greek friend.
Florence Koulouris, Queens Community Board 1 District Manager, presented Mitsias with a proclamation from the New York State Senate on behalf of Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris who could not attend.
Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou also shared his greetings, praising Mitsias and noting the academic importance of the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies.
His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America who was on a planned trip to North Carolina, presented donations for the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies and HAP. His Grace also thanked Mitsias and noted that listening to a recording of Byzantine chanting by Mitsias had helped to move him along on his path to the priesthood.
Queens College Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Department Assistant Director Maria Athanasopoulou also presented Mitsias with a certificate from the department.
Among the donations, Chian Federation President Kyriaki Kalogera presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of Mr. Marinakis. AHEPA Supreme President Savas Tsivicos, a member of the Board of Directors of the Queens College Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Center, presented two checks from AHEPA for the Center and for HAP, as well as a $5,000 check from Pan Gregorian. He also presented a personal donation of $2,500 to the Center, as well as a check also for $2,500 from AHEPA Canada President Emmanuel Constas.
Checks were also presented by Demos Siokis on behalf of the Society of Kastorians and Christos Vournas on behalf of Pan Arcadian Federation ‘Geros tou Morea’ ($500 + $500), while Christopher also announced the pledges of Savvas Konstantinidis ($1,000), the Kefalonians – delivered by Kostas Vangelatos – in the amount of $5,000, and the donation of $10,000 from Efstathios Valiotis.
It should also be noted that three months ago, the Athenians’ Society donated $3,000 to the Center for Hellenic Studies at Stony Brook University, as well as $500 each to the Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Center and HAP at Queens College.
Attendees also had the opportunity to donate via pledge cards available at the concert.
CHICAGO – The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) in Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood announced a special ongoing collaboration with celebrity chef, author and TV series host Diane Kochilas, kicking off with the museum’s Spice Month throughout December.
TEL AVIV, Israel — A truce between Israel and Hamas entered its fifth day on Tuesday, with the militant group promising to release more civilian hostages to delay the expected resumption of the war and Israel under growing pressure to spare Palestinian civilians when the fighting resumes.
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