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ANO International Festival – Christmas 2023

The ANO International Festival’s Christmas events concluded on Sunday, December 17, 2023, with a heartwarming and festive evening gathering. Music lovers on the island of Syros braved the strong gusts of wind and the bitter cold to walk to the top of the Ano Syros hill where, one more time, they had an unforgettable cultural experience and were met by the compelling Nativity Scene created by the members of St. George’s Cathedral parish.

With St. George’s Cathedral filled to capacity, the members of the Mixed Choir of the Catholic Church of Evangelistria and of the Invirtus Vocal Ensemble, under the guidance of choral director Ioannis Rigoutsos and accompanied by Voula Glyka at the piano, sang sensitively and flawlessly beloved Christmas hymns written by eminent composers, together with traditional, merry songs of the Christmas holidays.

On summarizing the 7th ANO International Festival, the festival’s Executive Director Charis Vekris praised the excellence of the artistic level of this year’s concerts as well as the innovations of the festival’s program curated by Artistic Director Stefanos Tsialis.

Placing special emphasis on promoting the local artistic efforts encouraged by the ANO International Festival, the Mixed Choir of the Catholic Church of Evangelistria concluded the program of the night by performing “Hymn to Syros”. The hymn was composed in 1898 by Antonio Biferno and was based on a poem by Panagiotis Lymberiou. The hymn’s harmonization was undertaken by Joseph (Jo) Akepsimas and it was the first time that it was performed as a four-part harmony.

At the end of the event, His Excellency Petros Stefanou, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syros warmly thanked the members of the choir and wished to all present to spend the holiday season ahead with Christ and His love.

To watch the video of the event, visit the ANO Festival channel on YouTube.

Photography: Stefanos Mamidis, Nikos Desypris