New York, NY – In the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and in front of a sold out crowd of over 600 people, the Archdiocesan Byzantine and Youth Choirs performed their Christmas benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall entitled, Glory in the Highest on December 16, 2012.
In his opening remarks, Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, Director of the Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music, said, “On Christmas day the holy angels appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed, Glory to God in the Highest. Tonight, the Archdiocesan Byzantine and Youth Choirs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese will join their voices to those of the angel’s in singing praises and thanks to God for all His blessings during this solemn Christmas season.” The Archdeacon continued, “But this concert will serve an important purpose. We hope to combine the spirit and excitement of this Christmas concert with the important effort of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to reopen the ancient church of the Holy Archangels in Siyi, Turkey. We hope that the doxology offered by the shepherds on Christmas day may again be heard as it was for centuries by the faithful in this ancient church of the Holy Archangels. This is why all the proceeds from this concert will be offered to assist in this noble cause.”
The Archdeacon thanked Archbishop Demetrios for the being the founder of both choirs. He said, “I would like to firstly express the deepest and sincerest gratitude of all the members of the Byzantine and Youth choirs to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. It was during his tenure as Archbishop that both of these distinguished choirs were formed. You have given our youth, your eminence, the possibility to learn, to develop, and to share the great gift of music.” The concert’s sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Demetrios and Georgia Kaloidis, and the Cyprus Federation of America, were publically thanked for their tremendous offering to both choirs.
Mr. Manolis Lambrakis, a seven year old student in the Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music, addressed those in attendance in both Greek and in English and thanked them for attending the concert and for their valued contribution to the effort of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He said, “His all Holiness deeply wishes to reopen the old church in Proussa. This concert tonight is dedicated to that effort. Therefore, we will donate all the proceeds tonight to His All-Holiness’ project. We thank you all in advance for your generous contribution.”
Under the direction of Mr. Demetrios Kehagias, the first part of the concert program commenced and featured a selection of ecclesiastical hymns from the Christmas period performed by the 38 member Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir in Greek. Joining the members of the choir were 8 students from Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology including their professor of Byzantine music, Grammenos Karanos. The Byzantine choir finished their performance with the Great Doxology in First Mode, making reference to the title of the concert, Glory to God in Highest.
Under the direction of Ms. Maria Koleva the 51 member Archdiocesan Youth Choir performed a number of traditional Christmas songs and Greek Kalanda. They dedicated their first song, Prayer of the Children, to the victims of Newton, CT shooting. Following this most moving song, they joyfully usher in the holiday season with a series of Christmas carols including the difficult, Nutcracker Jingles. This is the second time the Archdiocesan choirs shared a stage at Carnegie Hall.
In attendance was his grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela and his grace Bishop Philotheos of Meloa. In addition were the Consul Generals of Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Serbia, Argentina and Poland. The concerts sponsors, Mr. Demetrios and Georgia Kaloidis were publicly thanked for their tremendous support of both choirs.
The evening will remain as one of the strongest witnesses to the beauty of Byzantine music and the talent of the youth of the Archdiocese. To view photos and watch videos please visit www.asbm.goarch.org.