Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Final Concert at Ionian Village in Bartholomio, Greece by The Archdiocesan Youth Choir

ATHENS – The 10-day musical tour of the Archdiocesan Youth Choir to Constantinople, Cyprus and Greece under the leadership of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, concluded on the evening of July 12, 2011 with the third formal concert held in the magical setting of the open-air amphitheater of Ionian Village. The facilities of Ionian Village, the summer camping program of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America are located in Vartholomeio Ileias, on the Ionian coast of Peloponnesus.

Ionian Village is celebrating 40 years of life and invaluable contributions to the Youth as a “Golden Bridge” between the Greek-Orthodox Omogeneia in America and Greece and the Archdiocesean Youth Choir Concert was offered in honor and recognition of this long history and the almost 17,000 young people who have been part of it over the years. In the last couple of years an ambitious renovation plan has been put into effect and many infrastructure improvements and renovations have been already realized with many more needed and scheduled for the near future. The Ionian Village program is supported by “FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” through scholarships which this year reached $200,000. The National Hellenic Society has also sponsored scholarships this year in the amount of $25,000.

The 40-Year Anniversary concert of the Archdiocesan Youth Choir was given under a clear moonlit summer sky in front of an audience of more than 500 people. Among the many guests and government officials were the alternate Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Mrs. Fofi Genimata, who made the long car trip from Athens just for the concert, His Eminence Metropolitan Germanos of Ileia, the regional governor of Western Greece Apostolos Katsifaras, the prefect of Ileia and lieutenant governor Haralambos Kafiras and the Mayor of the municipality of Peinios Alexios Kastrinos. Also in attendance were many members of the local clergy, members of the Parliament, and political representatives of Peloponnesus and ranking officers of the military and the local police authorities.

The Ionian Village campers, counselors and staff, more than 200 people in total, were also in attendance and were instrumental in the organization, support and success of the event. Dr. Gregory Papadeas from Denver, Colorado, who was a counselor at Ionian Village some 30 years ago, who along with Dr. Jim Skedros from Salt Lake City, serve as the volunteer doctors of IV, was at hand to offer welcoming remarks at the concert in both Greek and English. The Director of Ionian Village Fr. Jason Roll also offered his welcome and spoke briefly about the enthusiasm of the campers in anticipation of the concert. Minister of Education Genimatas, offered a warm greeting and congratulations to both the IV Program and the Archdiocesan Choir. She particularly outlined the role and the many offerings of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, crediting Archbishop Demetrios for his personal care for the Youth and the related ministries.

The musical program was once again received with enthusiasm and applause and under the direction of Conductor Maria Koleva and with the piano accompaniment of the accomplished pianist Vassilis Varvaresos was the highlight of the evening.

A reception followed in the great lawn and gardens of Ionian Village. The campers offered a program of Greek traditional dances, which they had learned and practiced during their stay in the camp.

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