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New Brunswick, March 25: Ecclesiastical and classical music concert

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From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <>

Originally From: Connie Mourtoupalas <>

A Tribute to Ecclesiastical and Classical Music

Dedicated to Freedom & Democracy and in Celebration of Greek Independence Day

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, cordially invites all Hellenes and Philhellenes to the concert, A Tribute to Ecclesiastical and Classical Music, on Saturday, March 25, 2006, at 7:00pm, at Nicholas Music Center on the Douglas Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. For information or to reserve tickets please contact the office of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey at 908.686.0003. Tickets are: $250, $150, $100, $50 and $30 (students). Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Metropolis Building and Cultural Center Fund.

A Tribute to Ecclesiastical and Classical Music will feature two symphony "Finales" from the oratorio of the symphony "Levendia" by Manolis Kalomiris (1883-1962) and the "Symphony of 1821" by Nikolaos Astrinidis.

The symphonies will be performed by the Hellenic Symphony Orchestra and Choir and the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs and Musicians of New Jersey and Staten Island, and will be conducted by Dimitrios M. Fousteris. The symphonies will be accompanied by a ballet choreographed and directed by Vicky Simegiatos and performed by the Vicky Simegiatos School of Performing Arts Dance Troupe of Brooklyn, New York.

Also featured will be Metropolitan Opera Bass, Dimitri Kavrakos performing the aria "Il LaCerato Spirito" from Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Simon Boccanegra. Soprano Helena Bicktasheva will perform the aria "Castadiva" from Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma, and the religious aria "Agnus Dei" by Georges Bizet. Master Pianist Marshal Williamson will accompany them. Mr. Kavrakos and Ms. Bicktasheva will also perform Greek folk songs from the Revolutionary period of 1821, "O Gero Demos", "O Vrachos" and "To Lagiarni". Concert Master Raphael Klayman, will perform the violin solo "Tais Meditation".

The purpose of this concert is to celebrate freedom and independence, as well as the dual significance of March 25th to the Greek people. This date is considered one of the holiest holidays for Greek Orthodox Christians, as it is the feast day of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mother, commemorating the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary and announcing that she would give birth to Jesus Christ. On this date in 1821, Bishop Germanos of Patras, raised the flag of the Revolution and boldly announced the ultimatum, "Eleftheria H Thanatos" - Freedom or Death. This war cry rallied the people of Greece to revolt against 400 years of Turkish rule and enslavement, thus beginning the War of 1821. This zealous struggle for freedom resulted in the ultimate reward of Greek Independence.

Manolis Kalomiris composed the symphony, "Levendia," between 1918 and 1920. The original symphony contains 4 movements, each attempting to express the emotions and attributes of Greek "Levendia", including the joy of life, dancing, love, war and death. The word levendia approximately translates as heroism, and for Greeks connotes a handsome, honest and brave young man. Kalomiris first performed "Levendia" in September of 1920, at the Herodus Atticus Theatre in Athens, Greece, during victory celebrations for the liberation of the composer's birth place of Smyrna, by the Greek Army. The "Finale" being performed is based on the Byzantine victory hymn to the Virgin Mother - "Ti Ipermaho" - and uses the heroic theme of the first movement of "Levendia".

Nikolaos Astrinidis composed the "Symphony of 1821" as a tribute to the heroic pathos of the Greeks and their courageous defiance and revolt against 400 years of subjugation and oppression under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The "Finale" of the "Symphony of 1821" is based on the Greek hymn of the Resurrection of Christ - "Christos Anesti" and the Greek National Anthem.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was established in 1977 under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, as the Greek Orthodox Diocese of New Jersey. It was originally housed at the Archdiocese Headquarters in New York City, and was relocated to New Jersey in March 1999 in order to establish its territorial integrity, and with plans to construct a new Diocese Center. Temporary offices were set-up in New Providence, and then relocated to Kenilworth, NJ where they are located today. In August 2003 a new Charter was granted to the Diocese by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, elevating its status to Metropolis. It is currently comprised of 54 parishes in the states of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the Greater Philadelphia area.

As the residence of the Metropolis of New Jersey, the state of New Jersey is home to over 62,000 Greek and Greek-speaking people. With 24 Greek Orthodox Churches found throughout the state, seven of which are 15 miles or less from New Brunswick, this intricate network of culture, faith and tradition is a vital force in keeping the culture of Greece alive in America.

For more information about the Metropolis of New Jersey and A Tribute to Ecclesiastical and Classical Music, please contact:

Very Reverend George Nikas

Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey

Telephone: 908.686.0003 Fax: 908.686.0046

Email: Web:

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