The concert held on Thursday evening in St Francis church, in which the Mixed Choir and Mandolin Ensemble and the Children’s Choir of the Municipality of Petaloudes took part, held moving surprises which thrilled and touched the audience. The soloist, professor of organ music, and musical and artistic direct of the 4th Music Festival, Christos Paraskevopoulos, in a short, very interesting introductory speech explained the importance of the church and the rarity of its church organ. He said: “This evening we are hosting the Mixed Choir and Mandolin Ensemble and the Children’s Choir of the Municipality of Petaloudes under the direction of the excellent musical conductor Flora Pelekanou.” The choir gave excellent renditions of various sacred hymns, accompanied by the organ and by the Mandolin ensemble.
The Festival takes place with the blessing of The Vicar General of the Catholic Archbishopric of the Dodecanese, Fr Luke ofm, and once again this evening is honoured by the presence of the General Secretary of the Metropolitan of Rhodes, the very rev. Fr Emmanuel Sklivakis whose attendance constitutes a constant encouragement and special pleasure! We also thank the President of DOPAR, Mr Sergio Aivazi who has been with us and given particular encouragement for the continuation of the Festival. The presence of the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Mr Terry Hatziioannou was a great honour and recognition of our efforts to support the cultural life of Rhodes through our Festival. Mention was also made of the reportage in “Rodiaki” where Mrs Mary Papandreou describes events with accuracy for the music-loving people of Rhodes.
The Music Festival has the church organ as its centre of attraction, given that the church is home to the biggest organ of any church in Greece. It is made up of 1600 pipes which are arranged in 26 stops and two manuals. The organ pipes are in the choir loft at height suitable for spreading the sound evenly through the length of the church. This church has some of the best acoustics in the whole of Greece. When the organ stops the church retransmits the reverberating sound for 4-6 seconds depending on the intensity of sound selected by the organist.
The Mixed Voice Choir and Mandolin Ensemble of the Municipality of Petaloudes is a member of DOPAR and has given many excellent performances in Rhodes and in Thessaloniki at the2nd Choir Festival of Kyrillos and Methodios the 4th International Choir Festival in Pharsala, and it also has sung the Mikis Theodorakis work “Axion Esti” in the Thessaloniki Concert Hall to honor Glezos and Santas, with the Sophia Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Kostis Konstantaras, and has also given concerts in Kalymnos and Kos to honor Anna Sarris Karabesinis. The choir has also given concerts abroad: in Malta to honor the Archbishop of Italy and Melitis Mr. Gennadios at his enthroning, and also in Cyprus and Turkey. In October 2010 it organized the 18th National Choir Congress in which 75 conductors and 500 choristers from Greece and Cyprus took part and it is going to organize the 21st . In 2013 the Mixed Choir was enriched by the Mandolin Ensemble and Orchestra of Music with whom they co-operate in performances. Flora Pelekanos has been the conductor since the establishment of the choir and orchestra. She has studied Byzantine Music and is a graduate in piano and advanced theory (harmony, counterpoint and fugue) and is currently studying Band Instrumentation as an undergraduate
She also holds a certificate in Business Administration and Tourism. Since 1985 she has been the director of the “Apollo” Music-Literature Association of Kremasti and she has obtained distinction in various choir festivals. In 1992 she founded the Youth Choir of the Cultural Organization of Pastida, Rhodes, and she has also founded the children’s choir and mandolin band “Keroniatis.” In 2004 she established and directed the Mixed Choir of Petalouda Municipality. She has given many concerts in Greece and abroad and has taught in various Experimental primary and secondary schools and every year she attends choir conducting lessons at the Summer Academy of the Ionian University of Corfu.
The high level of both technique and performance so captivated and entranced the large audience that at the end of their performance Fr Luke ofm Vicar General of the Catholic archbishopric of Rhodes rose spontaneously to his feet and from the ambo congratulated them sincerely saying “it was all wonderful and divine. We thank you..”
The artistic and musical director of the Festival was, as always, the soloist and professor of organ music Christos Paraskevopoulos, and nobody wanted to leave the church. The works that were performed moved us with their high level of technique and artistry and were expressed with emotion, understanding and gifted talent.
The works performed were: Matthias Weckmann (1621-1674), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Dan Forest (1978 - -), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643), Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1592), Panagiotis Georgiou (1915-1984), Leon Boelmann (1862-1897), and a Traditional Song of Israel arranged by Doreen Rao.
We must remember that today’s church organ is a development of the Greek “hydraylos” which was one of the many inventions of Ktisivios in the 3rd century BC and was constructed by Greeks in Egypt
Soloist- Professor Christos Paraskevopoulos
Members of the Mixed-voice Choir:
Sopranos: Stamatia Stergianaki, Vasiliki Papakonstanti, Argyro Kokkari, Kyriaki Zanetti, Maria Koundouraki, Anastasia Midelkou.
Altos: Christina Kokona, Maria Passari, Paraskevi Kondomanoli, Theano Hatzistefani, Chrysoula Koskiniati, Katerina Gritzalla, Sevoula Koukia, Marietta Diakogeorgiou, Irini Matsi, Vaso Stergianaki. Contraltos: Asimeni Vola, Fotini Papanikola, Stavriani Koudouni, Stella Barka, Smaragdi Myrialli.
Tenors: Constantinos Volas, Paraschos Flevaras, Dimitris Panagiotas.
Basses: Stefanos Tsampikakis, Yiannis Stavrou
The Children’s Choral Ensemble CON ALLEGREZZIA : Argyro Vasilottou, Grigoria Diakanthou, Stavroula Rafaella,Stamatia Stavrou, Stavroula Malliaka, Katerina Katsouraki, Melissa Fatia, Ananias Meletis, Ananias Theodoris, George Touvras, Argyro Tzouanaki.
Members of the Mandolin ensemble: Yiannis Stavrou, Dimitris Flevaras, Yiannis Kontomanolis Yisnnid Flevaris, Antonis Flevaris, Sevoula Koukkia.
Violin: Michalis Manolas
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