ANAHEIM, Calif. – The 2015 Greek Orthodox Folk Dance and Choral Festival (FDF2015) just concluded another very successful year and its four-day weekend celebration of Faith, Dance and Fellowship. FDF is the largest gathering of Greek-Orthodox young people in the United States and arguably the largest youth festival of traditional Greek dancing in the world. Approximately 2,500 young people took part as dancers, musicians and singers, and more than 3,500 people attended in total, including parents, grandparents and friends.
FDF is an institution and long-established tradition in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, started 39 years ago by Metropolitan Anthony (1935-2004) of blessed memory. This year’s festival was dedicated to his memory and vision. “Vision” became the theme word of the four-day celebration.
The FDF 2015 weekend concluded yesterday Sunday, Feb. 15, with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America in attendance, who flew in the night before from the “Leadership 100” Conference in Orlando Fla.
The semi-final competitions in the two divisions and the various category levels were held on Friday and most finals performances took place on Saturday. No words can describe the dedication, the energy and the enthusiasm of all the groups representing the various parishes and communities of the Metropolis of San Francisco. The inspiration for all was the love and care of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco guiding the management team responsible for the flawless organization of the event. He was assisted by His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, the Chancellor of the Metropolis; and the tireless chairman of FDF, Fr. Gary Kyriacou.
Archbishop Demetrios presided at the Divine Liturgy held in the hotel Sunday morning with 25 presbyters concelebrating and about 3,000 people in attendance. Metropolitan Gerasimos and Bishop Apostolos were prayerfully attending in the altar.
“The Church is the future of our youth,” said the Archbishop to the faithful and pointed out that the mere number of participants in FDF is unique and even miraculous. He said that we are immersed in the joy of the Gospel through dance and immersed in the love of God, the God of justice, peace, beauty and love and therefore we are the most blessed people in Los Angeles. Fr. Kyriacou asked the congregation to support the rebuilding efforts for Saint Nicholas Church destroyed on 9/11 and the tray passed, collected almost ten thousand dollars. A memorial service for Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory was held at the conclusion of the service.
The Advanced Senior Competition began at 1:00 p.m. and run through to 4:45 p.m. It featured stellar performances by eight dance groups performing suites of dances around a theme, or a particular geographic region or village of Greece. The performances are judged on execution, authenticity, costumes, choral and musical standards. All the groups and dancers are also singing as they dance.
Finally the day concluded with the much-anticipated formal Awards Ceremony at which the winners in the various categories in dance, music and choral singing were announced. In the Advanced Senior Category, first place was awarded to Olympian Dancers of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Long Beach, Calif., second place to Palio Skolio of Holy Trinity, San Francisco, third place and Costume Award to Vionikos of St. Nicholas, San Jose, Calif., fourth place and the choral award in this category to Akrites of St. Demetrios, Seattle, Wash., and Founders Special Achievement Award to Thorivosof Annunciation, Modesto, Calif. The Sweepstakes award (best overall) for Division II dance was awarded to Junior Olympians of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Long Beach, Calif., and for Division I dance to Thrylos of Holy Trinity, Charlotte, NC
A complete listing of the winners will be posted on the FDF website: www.yourfdf.org.
A gallery of photos from FDF 2015 can be viewed at the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orthodoxnews/sets/72157650416958728/.[subscribe2]