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United States

Pancyprian Choir Performs Christmas Concert Kalanta in Astoria

December 21, 2021

ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Association of America Cultural Division presented the Annual Christmas Concert “Kalanta” with Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis and the Pancyprian Choir of NY soloists and chorus at St. Catherine and St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria on December 18. It was the first live concert since 2019 for the Choir with Stratis on piano and featured a delightful program of festive songs of the season to bring holiday cheer to the community.

The concert began with soloist Demetris Michael singing the traditional Cypriot Kalanta, followed by the traditional kalanta of the Greek islands, Kalisperizo Fernontas, performed by soloist Ariadne Panagopoulou and the entire Choir. The well-known Greek Christmas Kalanta were next, followed by the Greek version of Joy to the World.

Stratis gave the welcoming remarks, noting the safety measures that were in place to allow the return to live performance during these difficult times and after last year’s virtual concert. The safety of the performers and audience members alike was the priority, along with sharing the true spirit of Christmas through music.

Pancyprian Choir Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis addressed the audience at the Christmas Concert Kalanta on Dec. 18. Photo: Ioannis Koutalis

The soloists once again enchanted the audience as Panagopoulou performed a moving Ave Maria with the Choir, the Christmas hymns featured the impressive skills of Michael and George Georgiadis, and Elate me pisti (O Come All Ye Faithful) was sung dynamically by Panagopoulou, Michael, Louis Panayiotou, and Demetris Bonaros. Kampanes tis Lefterias (Bells of Freedom) Stratis’ Greek version of the Carol of the Bells envisions the church bells ringing once again in the occupied areas of Cyprus and in Asia Minor and Pontus and received enthusiastic applause.

The Christmas favorites we all know and love, including Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas were also performed to the delight of the audience who were welcome to sing along. They expressed their appreciation with a standing ovation, something that meant a great deal to Stratis and all the Choir members who had last performed for a live audience at the 2019 Christmas concert.

The Pancyprian Choir performed the annual Christmas Concert Kalanta at St. Catherine and St. George Church in Astoria on December 18. Photo: Facebook

At the conclusion of the concert, Stratis thanked all those present for attending and for their ongoing support, including Pancyprian President Philip Christopher, American Network Solutions CEO and PSEKA (Justice for Cyprus) President, and Pancyprian Cultural Division President Ismene Michaels. Stratis invited Christopher to say a few words. Christopher thanked everyone for their support since the Choir was founded 25 years ago, and especially Stratis and Michaels and the members for all their efforts, as well as the new Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas for attending the event. He noted the version of the Carol of the Bells that was performed mentions cities in the occupied area of Cyprus and that the voices of the Pancyprian Choir represent all of Cyprus, free and occupied. Christopher wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and welcomed Consul General Firillas to make his remarks.

Firillas also thanked everyone for the concert, noting that he hopes to invite the Choir to perform at other events in the future, to further promote the culture and traditions of Cyprus. He then wished everyone all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

Stratis concluded by again thanking everyone for attending and wishing everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Due to the pandemic, the event did not include the usual post-concert reception, but everyone looked forward to next year when, hopefully, COVID will be a thing of the past.

The Pancyprian Choir sopranos performing during the Christmas Concert Kalanta on Dec. 18. Photo: Ioannis Koutalis
The Pancyprian Choir baritones and tenors during the Christmas Concert Kalanta on Dec. 18. Photo: Ioannis Koutalis
The Pancyprian Choir altos performing during the Christmas Concert Kalanta on Dec. 18. Photo: Ioannis Koutalis
Members of the Pancyprian Choir before the annual Christmas Concert Kalanta at St. Catherine and St. George Church in Astoria. Photo: Facebook
Members of the Pancyprian Choir before the annual Christmas Concert Kalanta at St. Catherine and St. George Church in Astoria. Photo: Facebook

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