Η ετήσια χοροεσπερίδα του συλλόγου είναι στις 25 Μαρτίου 2006 στο Esperos Village

 

Olympian Brotherhood of Baltimore Maryland
 
FESTIVAL 1972 - WASHINGTON , D. C.

 

The Festival was organized and funded by the Smithsonian Institution for American Folklife in Washington D.C. The director of the Festival was Ralph Rinzler, and the researchers were Martin Koenig and Ethel Raim, who recruited our group. The purpose of the festival was to showcase various ethnic groups residing in the United States of America with their customs, ethnic food, and dances as they practiced them in the United States.

Martin and Ethel came to Baltimore, MD in February,1972 seeking Karpathian musicians. By asking, they came to a coffee house in Highlandtown, where they met Konstantino Nicolaidi, Nikolao Nikita, and Manoli Mastromanoli. When they explained their objective we brought Ianni Pavlidi and Ianni Hioti (the best lyra and laouto players) to play some Olympitika. They were so impressed by the music and singing they heard, they discussed how a presentation could be made at the 1972 Festival. One week laterMartin and Ethel returned with Ralph Rinzler and three other researchers from the Smithsonian. They were all invited to Ianni and Kassiani Hioti`s apartment where an Olympitiko Glenti took place. Present at theGlenti were: Iannis and Kassiani Hiotis, Iannis Pavlidis, Filippos Hiotis and family, Iannis Sofillas, Vasilios Kakarolis, Nikolaos Nikitas, Konstantinos Nicolaidis, and Manolis Mastromanolis.

After being overwhelmed at this "Glenti", theSmithsonian representatives selected a group of people they wanted, to participate in music, dances, and workshops at the Festival to be held July 1 through July 4, 1972 at the National Mall in Washington D.C.. Their list included: Iannis Pavlidis, Iannis & Kassiani Hiotis, Filippos & Kalliope Hiotis, Antonios & Maria Nicolaidis, Konstantinos & Maria Nicolaidis, Minas & Irene Nicolaidis, Manolis & Sofia Mastromanolis, Nikolaos Nikitas, Vasilios Kakarolis, Iannis Sofillas, Filippos & Vasilios & Georgios Nikolaou, Minas Prearis, Sofia Paragiou, Vasilios & Iannis Dargakis, Vasilios Hapsis, and Elias Minatsis from Vancouver, Canada.


The Olympian Brotherhood council called a meeting with all members, and it was decided that all Olympites, with their relatives and friends should be invited to participate and help in any manner possible at the Festival, because a lot of preparation, and participation was necessary. We felt this was a very important event because Olympos represented all of Greece in this Festival at the United States Capital. The 1972 Olympian Brotherhood council consisted of:

Nicolaidis, Konstantinos President
Mastromanolis, Manolis Vice-President
Dargakis, Vasilios Treasurer
Nikitas, Nikolaos Secretary
Nicolaidis, Minas
Hiotis, Phillip
Giorgakis, Antonios

The response was overwhelming. With a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and participation from all families from Olympos, and their friends; women prepared baklava, ntolmades, and other food and pastries, for several days before, and every evening during the Festival, at Saint Nicholas hall and the Olympian Brotherhood`s house. Four tents were erected for us in front of The Smithsonian Museum, between the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol. Three buses were provided by the Smithsonian to transport people daily between Baltimore and Washington D.C.. Lokoumades were made fresh at the Festival. Under the tents, women and men participated in workshops, played music, sang, danced, and sold home made Greek pastries, Greek food, and beverages.

Iannis Pavlidis had moved back to Greece before the Festival, but he made a major contribution with his musical talent before he left. Elias Minatsis had a stomach operation two months earlier, but he played tsambouna as well as ever with unbelievable stamina. All musicians, singers, and dancers were magnificent. Thousands of people attended the Festival. The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and other newspapers wrote articles daily for this event. One Greek lady attending the Festival asked me: "Where is Olympos, Karpathos? You can't even find it on the map; and, How did you get invited to this Festival? " I asked her to watch our customs for a while to see "why". The "kefi" was overwhelming. On the last day (July 4, 1972) everyone was singing, dancing, and cheering as Philip and Iannis Hiotis, and others were dancing "arkisti" on the tables. That "Olympytiko glenti" was the finale to the American Folklife Festival on United States Independence Day, prior to the fireworks. What an honor for us!! It will remain unforgettable for everyone who attended.

During August of 1972 Martin and Ethel went to Olympos to witness our wonderful customs and majestic scenery. That led to the invitations for the 1974 Festival Tour "Old Ways in the New World" for: Antonios Zografidis, Manolis Kritikos, Vasilios Halkias, Georgios Prearis, Elias Minatsis, Georgios Kanakis, Vasilios Sofillas, Papa Ioannis Diakogeorgiou, Maria A. Nicolaidi, Vasilios Kelepesis, Minas Mihailidis, and Kosmas Papanikolaou. The Smithsonian Institution funded, and made all the arrangements for the group from Olympos to tour: Detroit MI, Baltimore MD, Washington D.C., Philadelphia PA, New York NY, Toledo OH, Chicago IL, St. Louis MO, and Montgomery AL.

We thank everyone who participated, or contributed to the success of the Festivals. We thank Martin Koenig, Ethel Raim, Ralph Rinzler, and the Smithsonian Institution for their unconditional support. We admire their commitment and dedication to cultural events, which greatly enhance the Mosaic of the American Melting Pot.

This article, photographs, and audio were made available by Manolis N. Mastromanolis. It is an accurate recollection to the best of my knowledge. Any omission or error was not intentional.

Manolis N. Mastromanolis

 

 

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