NEW YORK– The last full day of the 113th Pan-Icarian Annual Convention hosted by the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York “Icarus” held at the Sheraton New York Times Square in Manhattan included many pleasant surprises for the attendees and their families, as well as for the waiters and other hotel staff.
The convention, held during Labor Day weekend September 2-5, was a resounding success with donations of over $150,000 to the homeland, far exceeding expectations, and scholarships to excellent students from the United States, Icaria, and Fourni.
The Convention also included a visit to the World Trade Center, the September 11 Museum, and the under construction St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero.
On September 4 during the Grand Banquet, just as the orchestra began to play, the waiters, the bartenders, and other wait staff put down their serving trays and utensils and watched the musicians playing and the young people joining hands to dance.
It was possibly the first time the Midtown Manhattan hotel witnessed a celebration with violin and the traditional Icarian tsampounofylaka.
“For us it was something ordinary, but for the hotel staff it was unexpected. It was a pleasant surprise that will remain deeply etched in their memory,” the newly elected president of the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of America and Canada “Icarus” George Paralemos told the National Herald.
Performing at the event were the noted musicians Victoria Mavrogiorgos from Pittsburgh, PA on violin and Philip Karimalis on the tsampounofylaka. Karimalis had come exclusively for the convention from Icaria.
The tsampounofylakas is a traditional instrument from Icaria which consists of a pouch made of treated goat skin, the valve and the lumen. In other areas of Greece the instrument is called “gaida,” “tsambouna,” “touloumi,” or “aggeio.” It is essentially a type of Greek bagpipe.
Those in attendance danced up a storm to the traditional music played by the talented musicians.
The dance floor was packed with revelers celebrating the culture and traditions of their native Icaria. The participation of so many young people was also a source of pride for the community.
Paralemos, who led the organizing committee, was pleased with the success of the conference and its decisions on the donations to the island, the scholarships, and the programs for the younger generation.
“I thank our compatriots from across the United States and Canada who participated in the 113th Convention and contributed to its success, as well as the outgoing administration of President Eleftheria (Terry) Platis who fought with passion to upgrade the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood,” Paralemos noted.
Asked about the new leadership goals Paralemos noted that they are clearly defined and ratified by the convention.
“The goal of the new leadership is to upgrade the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of America and Canada, revitalize all aspects, and strengthen the Foundation of the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood, which is one of the most powerful and historical institutions of the Diaspora,” Paralemos concluded.
After such a successful convention, all those who attended are looking forward to the next convention.