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Events

Pancyprian Choir Christmas Concert Kalanta Delights Audience with Holiday Cheer

December 19, 2022

ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Association of America Cultural Division presented the Annual Christmas Concert Kalanta with Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis and the soloists, chorus and actors of the Pancyprian Choir of New York on December 18 at St. Catherine and St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria.

The free concert once again brought holiday cheer to the community in the festive spirit of the season. The program featured the traditional Christmas and New Year’s kalanta, Christmas hymns, and the Christmas favorites we all know and love.

Audience members were invited to sing along and applauded enthusiastically for the talented performers, especially the soloists Demetris Michael, Nektarios Antoniou, Demetris Bonaros, Maria Eleni Zollo, Olga Xanthopoulou, Ariadne Anna, and Vasiliki Paritoglou. Actor and Choir member Theodore Petropoulos served as the Narrator for the show highlighting with his spoken words the moving and joyous moments of the songs.

Members of the Pancyprian Choir of New York, family and friends at a post-concert dinner hosted by Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher at Dionysos Restaurant in Astoria. (Photo: Phyto Stratis)

The concert opened with the traditional Kalanta of Cyprus performed by soloist Demetris Michael, followed by the Kalanta of Chios with Michael joined by the Choir.
Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis gave the welcoming remarks at the concert, thanking all the supporters of the Choir and all those present for attending, though he also noted the absence of one Choir member, Andreas Modenos, who sadly passed away on December 3. Stratis noted that a concert in honor of Modenos will take place in the spring, celebrating the life of the beloved singer and artist.

Among the traditional and well-known Christmas songs, perhaps the most moving song of the evening was Kampanes tis Lefterias (Bells of Freedom), Stratis’ Greek version of the Carol of the Bells which envisions the church bells ringing once again in the illegally occupied areas of Cyprus and in Asia Minor and Pontus. Audience members responded with thunderous applause, moved by the stirring performance and lyrics.

Members of the Pancyprian Choir of New York posed for a pre-concert photo at St. Catherine and St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria on December 18. Photo: Courtesy of Popi Michalatos via Facebook

The Christmas favorites, including Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas were also performed to the delight of the audience who were encouraged by Stratis to sing along.

At the conclusion of the concert, Stratis thanked everyone for attending and wished all the best for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher then offered his greetings noting that the Cultural Division, led by President Ismini Michaels, is a shining and very active division in the Association, and highlights through its concerts the ongoing struggle for justice for Cyprus, pointing out, in particular, the song Kampanes tis Lefterias. He also wished everyone the best for the holiday season and then asked Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas to say a few words. Consul General Firillas congratulated Stratis and all the performers for the concert that brought the spirit of the season to everyone present.

The Pancyprian Choir of New York Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis gave the welcoming remarks at the Annual Christmas Concert on December 18. (Photo by Diamando Sakellis)

Audience members were delighted and offered their congratulations to the Choir members as they exited singing the festive Feliz Navidad in Greek. Posts on social media were almost instantaneous with many in the audience sharing photos and video along with their appreciation almost as soon as the concert ended.

Many fans of the Choir posted on Facebook that they are dazzled with every Choir performance and were really moved by the Christmas concert. Praises also followed, with many noting that Stratis is a unique artist and pointing out that the production transported them to Cyprus and Greece while filling their hearts with the spirit of Christmas.

Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas and Pancyprian Choir Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis at the Annual Christmas Concert Kalanta at St. Catherine and St. George Church in Astoria. (Photo: Courtesy of Phyto Stratis )
The Pancyprian Choir of New York with Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis performed its Annual Christmas Concert Kalanta on December 18 at St. Catherine and St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria. (Photo: Facebook, Tasoula Manaridis, Federation of Cypriot American Organizations)

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