NEW YORK – More than 700 Greek-Americans filled the auditorium of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and turned the space into a huge choir loft as they joined their voices with Alkistis Protopsalti in a show of love and solidarity for the people of Greece.
They sang with passion the lyrics of the most touching modern Greek songs such as: “No, please, do not forget my country,” “We are still alive,” “The crazy boat” and “Beautiful wondrous fatherland.”
The audience also expressed their love for the great singer, some of them shouting “you are amazing,” and “you are unique.” Protopsalti, visibly moved, echoed: “You are unique -You are amazing.”
Protopsalti and Alma Bank, the concert’s sponsor, inspired the community and prompted them to make contributions to the Greek organization called Parents Association of Children with Cancer “Floga -Flame.”
The National Herald observed that the decision of Alma Bank to cover all of the costs of the concert and offer it free to the Diaspora touched the hearts of Greek-Americans. Donations to the cause are expected to exceed one hundred thousand dollars.
The concert was called “Sound Colors of Greece – From Odysseas Elytis to Contemporary Greek Songs” was organized by the Greece’s General Secretariat for Gender Equality, whose Secretary General is Vasso Kollia, on the occasion of the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
She pointed out that the remarkable concert would not have been possible had Alma bank not covered all the expenses. She also thanked Greece’s Minister for Tourism, Olga Kefalogianni, for the support and assistance offered by ministry’s employees in America.
The leading roles in organizing the concert were played by the chairman and CEO George Katsiaunis, the chairman of the board Kirk Karabelas, Stamatiki Valiotis, Panos Stogiogou, and dozens of other bank executives belonging to the community’s younger generation.
Before the start of the concert Katsiaunis addressed the audience and noted that the event was organized ‘in order to showcase Greece and the timeless messages of Hellenism.”
A video promoting Greek culture and tourism was playing at the entrance.
He also declared that Alma Bank sends a message of solidarity and hope, to the people of Greece and that he was pleased to work with Protopsalti for the second time in two years in behalf of Floga.
Karabelas, who oversaw the coordination of the concert, thanked his colleagues and emphasized that “Alma Bank is part of the Greek-American community and does not forget Greece, our culture and our social obligations to our fellow human beings and to Hellenism.”
Alma Bank Advisory Board Chairman Efstathios Valiotis told TNH that he is very pleased that during the past three years the bank has sponsored three major cultural events dedicated to Greece and the Greek-American community, the two Protopsalti concerts and the Gabby Awards Ceremony on Ellis Island.
He noted with pride that “the bank was founded by Greek-Americans and is the only Greek
bank that boosts Greece and the Diaspora.”
Nick Andriotis, the chairman of the School Board of the Cathedral of St. Demetrios in Astoria who is also a member of the Advisory Board of the bank, called the event “unique” because, is was held near the collections of Greek antiquities in the Met, New York’s Temple of Art. He said it was perfect because Protopsalti and the amazing musicians gave their best performances.
“The concert was not only a prominent cultural event, but also a notable charity event, which proved that the Diaspora has inexhaustible dynamism, and that when it is given the opportunity it can make a big difference,” he concluded.
The president of the Federation of Greek Societies of New Jersey Savvas Tsivikos summed up the feelings of many when he told TNH that “Alma Bank and Protopsalti made us soar tonight. They fired our hearts by giving us the opportunity to support Floga.”