Ithaca Philharmonic Society

The ‘Philharmonic and Music School of Ithaca’ was founded in 1904 by a group of enlightened Ithacan fans and friends of music with the goal of providing free musical education for the island’s young people and ensuring that these musicians could play a full part in all social and cultural events. On the Ionian islands, which have an old and rich tradition of music societies, the term ‘Philharmonic’ is preferred to the terms ‘band’ or ‘orchestra’, used in other parts of Greece. The Ithaca Philharmonic was founded by volunteers and, to this day, receives no state financing, so it is entirely self-supporting.

The Philharmonic Society, since 1923, has formed the core of a broader group— the Communal Association of Ithaca—which serves the wider purpose of promoting welfare and social activities on the island. The first lead musician of the Ithaca Philharmonic was Francesco Nicolini, a well-known Italian violinist. He was succeeded by his son, Armando Nicolini, and the baton has been passed on through the hands of a number of notable musicians.

All leaders and members of the Philharmonic have been united in their desire to continually improve and develop musical education on the island and, in this, they have always benefited from wide public support. Thus generations of Ithacans have been either musicians or supporters and today, the number of established musicians is about 35, a number which swells to over 90 when young pupils are included and they are joined by much older and experienced ‘veterans’. This group is fortunate in that it is quite well-endowed and owns its own building and rehearsal rooms and a musical museum of instruments. A rich collection of instruments, costumes and uniforms, books of musical interest and an infrastructure for printing and promotion, all enrich the heritage of music in Ithaca.

The broader Ithaca Philharmonic Society is today made up of over 250 members, locals and Ithacans of the diaspora. This large number reflects the special place this movement holds in the hearts of all Ithacans. Such is the enthusiasm that the society regularly receives donations in cash or kind and it much appreciates the long standing support given by the Municipality.

Contact Info

Ithaca Philharmonic Society
28300 Vathy Ithaca
Mob (030) 6979786868
Facebook Φιλαρμονική Ιθάκης

“Vaptistis Kouvaras”-Municipal Mandolin Band (mandolinata) of Ithaca

In 2007, Angelos Kouvaras took the initiative, along with his friends Minas Manias and Giannis Molfesis to reconstitute the Mandolinata group. Minas and Giannis had previously been members of the Proodos 1962 group under the leadership of Vaptistis Kouvaras. Their initiative received the full support of the conductor and musical director, Gregor Schäfer, who has been living on Ithaca for 35 years and undertook to organise the group, making a great contribution to its success.

The Mandolinata was originally hosted on the premises of the Ithaca Philharmonic before moving its activities to the old primary school in Vounaki. The group has received many donations of instruments, most notably a piano from Anna and Vasilis Karavias. The Mandolinata later joined forces with the local municipality is now based in the halls of the former boarding school.
The group, today, has a membership of more than 35 people of all ages. They perform quite regularly throughout the year both in Vathy and in the other villages so, in this way, manage to preserve a special resonance within the cultural fabric of the island.

Contact Info:

“Vaptistis Kouvaras”-Municipal Mandolin Band of Ithaca
28300, Vathy, Ithaca.
Tel. (030) 2674032943
Mob. (030) 6979955403.

Ithaca Community Choir

The choir was formed in 2003 with its initial membership being drawn from local pensioners who were already active at their own centre. After a number of years, membership was opened to all community members of any age. Since then, the choir has developed a very rich repertoire and gives regular concerts both on the island and at other venues. The continued existence and success of the choir is due to the harmonious relationship between its members and the musical leadership; the support of the municipality but, most vitally, the affection felt for it by all Ithacans.
Today’s choir is made up of over 30 choralists and the conductor with instrumental support featuring players of piano, harmonica, guitar and bouzouki.
 The inhabitants of the seven Ionian Islands grew up listening to serenades and sharing the experience of gatherings of people, young and old, singing along with their guitars and mandolins. Today, the choir and musicians are vital in maintaining this aspect of traditional musical culture.

“Odysseus”-Football Club

The club was founded in 1980 and is based in the north of the island to allow a more localised representation in the sporting life of the island. The Odysseus club is part of the Kefallonia-Ithaca Football Clubs Association and has performed well both on the pitch and as supporters of island-wide social events.

In 1980, ‘Odysseus’ took up its membership in the strong all-prefecture league, originally in the second division, but in its first season (1980-81) the team was promoted. The highest position reached in the first division was third in the 1983-84 season. Another highlight was winning the second division title in 1988-89. The 2013-14 season saw ‘Odysseus’, for the second time, rise to the top of the second division, impressing commentators and opponents with the quality of their play.

A major step in the club’s development came in 1994 when it acquired its own playing fields in Stavros. This came as a gift from Nicholas Raftopoulos-Passa who was the founder and president of the club. The club continues to make progress and in 2014, it founded its first 9-11 age group section. With17 players enrolled, this group now participates in the Kefallonia-Ithaca boys’ championship league. This progress is a sign of how healthy the club is and it fills all supporters with real hope for the future.

Contact Info:

“Odysseus”-Football Club
28300 Stavros Ithaca
E-mail: epski.odusseus@gmail
Facebook: ΠΑΟ Οδυσσέας Ιθάκης – Odyssea Ithaca

“Charilaos Tsigonias”- Dance and Culture Society of Ithaca

This society is named after the unforgettable sports coach and educationalist who served at the Nautical Secondary school in Ithaca from 1961-74. The group is the realisation of his vision which saw its first manifestation in 1983 as the Municipality of Ithaca’s Dance group. The base was broadened by incorporating pupils in 1988, as a form of tribute to Charilaos Tsigonias and the society then took on its present form.

The Dance and Cultural Society remains a non-profit organisation whose members, a band of tireless workers, have over the years striven to learn more about, preserve and pass on the cultural identity of the Ithacans, in particular, and of the Greeks in general. The group has gained recognition both inside Greece and abroad with the constantly improving quality of its performances. It is also a vital, participating member of all organised cultural event

The Society runs classes in traditional dance for Ithacans of all ages, from children to senior citizens. Its success is down to the support of all sectors of the Ithacan community and thus the Society continues to educate all in the dance traditions of the past as it ‘dances’ into the future.

Contact Info¨

“Charilaos Tsigonias”- Dance and Culture Society of Ithaca
28300 Vathy Ithaca.
C/O Aimilia Ilias
Mob. (030) 6936879366

“Elpinor”-Working for Social Inclusion, Social Solidarity and Education

In October of 1984, the open protection centre of the elderly (KAPI) was founded with the aim of providing medical and social support for pensioners to ensure their continuing participation in family and community life. In 2011, the centre joined forces with the local pre-school group to create a new legal entity, ‘Elpinor’, under the auspices of the local municipality.

Today, ‘Elpinor’ has 322 people under its remit and it provides:

a series of tests by specialist doctors in an attempt to prevent the development of illness
  social support for its members and others in their immediate family
a programme of social and cultural events
οne day long as well as longer excursions; fitness classes for pensioners; advice on medication and preventative measures and life-long learning opportunities
support, under the Home Help scheme which, since 2013, has aimed at supporting housebound elderly  people, individuals who cannot care for themselves, as well as people with special needs. This group of activities offers voluntary workers, hospital care and support for family careers.

The ‘Home Help’ programme is one of the success stories on the island. The programme is managed by a seven-member governing body whose members are appointed by the town council. Financial support is provided by an annual grant from the municipality, subscriptions and gifts as well as generous bequeathments.

Contact Info ¨

“Elpinor”-Working for Social Inclusion, Social Solidarity and Education
28300 Vathy Ithaca.
Tel. (030) 2674032370 & (030) 2674033242

“Penelope”-The Ithacan Women’s Group

‘Penelope’ was founded in 1985 to promote the social, legal and political equality of women both in this small community and globally. The group offers to support all of the island’s women and carries out a series of cultural and philanthropic activities. ‘Penelope ‘ is proud to support the less well-off members of the community and, working with the local authority and other voluntary groups, feels that it makes a real contribution to the island’s development.

Group members involve themselves in encouraging house crafts and the continued production of local and traditional goods. Much of this produce is available at a number of exhibitions held throughout the year and from a select number of outlets on the island. The group is financially independent and relies on members’ subscriptions and on donations from other supporters.

In what is a difficult time for the whole of Greece, the group is making a sterling attempt to support women in their many roles—mother, wife, partner, housewife, worker and employee. ‘Penelope’ members are fully committed to supporting their partners and families but are also sensitive to the needs of senior citizens and to investment in children and, as such, are found to be present across a whole range of social and voluntary activities.

Contact Info¨

“Penelope”-The Ithacan Women’s Group
28300 Vathy Ithaca.
Tel (030) 2674032982

“En Choro”- Friends of Artistic Education in Ithaca

This non-profit society operates under the auspices of the Ithacan municipality. The broad aims are to develop and spread the arts of dance, music and painting as well as promote the broader elements of Ithacan culture. The society is required to organise dance, music and other cultural events and to develop and promote collaboration with other clubs and societies. A requirement is the setting up of an island dance ensemble and the staging, on an annual basis, at least one dance, choral or musical performance.

Since October 2009, when this club was established, it has organised weekly dance classes for lovers of modern dance and hip-hop. This is backed by a programme, aimed at children and youths, of movement classes and individual instrument classes from professional teachers. Over 40 children and young people follow this programme and over 60 people are presently members of this society. As of 2010, slightly older citizens have been able to take Latin dance classes from qualified and experienced teachers, and over 30 adults have taken part in these classes. A fitting conclusion to the year’s programme is the annual musical theatre production for the public where all club members are invited to take part. Make a note to attend in July!! ‘En Choro’ also plays an important role and is a vital member of the groups organising the island’s Christmas celebrations. To date, the society has successfully organised and hosted two Choral Festivals with some very well-known international choirs taking part. Needless to say that this society happily works with all of the similar groups on the island to maximise contributions to Ithaca’s cultural and philanthropic work.

 A passionate goal of this society is the organisation of an annual summer festival of dance in Ithaca. It is towards that goal that its members are now busily working.

Contact Info¨

“En Choro”- Friends of Artistic Education in Ithaca
28300 Vathy Ithaca
Tel. (030) tel:2674032790″ & (030) 2674033440

“Proodos”-Ithaca Sports Club

This amateur club has promoted sport on the island since it was formed in 1950.
 Originally, it had a very broad scope but since 1957 it has limited itself to the provision and support of sports activities. A whole range of sportsmen and women have found expression by taking part in the club’s activities. Today, ‘Proodos’ continues to produce teams that shine in football, track and field, sailing and women’s volleyball.

Some of the highlights of the club’s history are:

1959-finds its home at the Community stadium, Vathy
1976-joins the Patras Amateur League and is crowned, in 1977, as 3rd division champions
1980-champions of the Patras Amateur League, second division
1980-joins the newly formed Kefallonia and Ithaca Football Clubs Association
1981-are crowned champions of its division!

 The club has a pleasing record of success in football and in sailing competition but it is particularly proud of the year-round opportunities it provides for youngsters to learn to enjoy and participate in sporting activities.

“The Phorcys”- Friends of Theater and Film in Ithaca

An island with a rich cultural past, Ithaca hosted a renowned amateur theatre festival for more than two decades. Not surprisingly, today it has its own amateur theatre group called “Phorcys”, the Ithaca Association of Friends of Theatre and Film. It consists of amateurs who love theatre, cinema, and every form of artistic expression. “Phorcys” was officially founded in 1996, but it is the continuation of the Theatre of Ithaca Group, which had staged theatre performances annually since 1991.

For over twenty five years, every winter the amateur actors of PHORCYS have presented their work and their repertoire includes theatrical works by Greek and foreign authors. To mention some:

Aristophanes (Lysistrata), A. Chekhov (The Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters), Molière (Tartuffe), B. Brecht (The Threepeny Opera), I. Kampanellis ( A Tale Without a Name, The four legs of the table ), A. Casona (Trees die Upright), Z. Michel (Sunday Stroll), P. Nas (The Rainmaker), D. Kehaidis (With strength from Kifissia), G Xenopoulos (It’s not me), Z. Fenton (Cuckoo), P. Scheffer (Black Comedy),L. Pirandello ( So it is, if you think so), R. Brooke (Lithuania) etc.

During summer, a children’s theatre group is made up as well, so the children of Ithaca may get in direct contact with theatre plays and star themselves in a performance. At the same time, volunteers have operated, when requested, the Municipal Movie Theatre of the island from 1997 until today. Since the summer of 2015, supported by the members of “Phorcys”, public movie screenings have been taking place in open spaces all over the island in cooperation with the community clubs of the island. Last but not least, an ambitious project of presenting texts in the form of theatrical narration in various churches ( Agios Spyridon Bazigos, Old Virgin in Perachori, Annunciation at Kioni, Agios Nikolaos Paliorogka) takes place and has been received with enthusiasm..

Thus, despite the many months of preparation, the fatigue but also the dedication required, the members of the group – people who “hide” behind shop counters, behind desks, in public services, school classes, in the countryside, building houses or in their house in the mornings – manage to consistently provide a worthy entertainment proposal to the people of our island each year.

Contact info:

“The Phorcys”- Friends of Theater and Film in Ithaca
28300 Vathy Ithaca
Mob. (030) 6972608037

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