Evening of Christmas Music at the Karmi Church
With the Torch Woodwind Quartet and Fikri Toros and Katie Economidou
By Heidi Trautmann
It is always a deeply felt pleasure to attend a concert at the Karmi Church which is so lovingly kept in order by the Church Comité for so many years now. It is over ten years ago that I was visiting Nadia, the courageous Belgian woman who once was living in Karmi more or less alone as all the other inhabitants had left the ruined place; already then she started to watch over the church, took care of it and kept the key; especially in the times of war she was sort of ‘defending’ the church and it is for her that the church is still intact with all the icons on the iconostases. The article was published in the old Cyprus Times. Nadia Brunton will never be forgotten. There is a wonderful book on Karmi in which you can read all the details.
New people have taken over the ‘holy’ duty of looking after the church, today’s President of the Comité is Vic Lundie, himself a musician, whom I also had the pleasure to interview and also to hear him play his jazz trumpet on several occasions. (See article on my website under art news No. 188).
It has become a tradition in Karmi that concerts are given during Christmas times and also especially on Christmas Eve people come together for singing Christmas songs. It is on this year too and as far as I know, it will be at 19.30 hrs. This beautiful habit is being kept alive and it is with some sentimentality that the Karmi inhabitants and many other friends of the place and the church follow the invitation for a concert. The money of the entrance tickets is being used for the maintenance of the church.
On December 18 we dressed warmly and took a flashlight with us and generally it is recommended to be there early in order to find a parking place not too far away. It was nice to meet the habitués, Karmi residents and/or concert goers and to pick up the threads from last year.
We sat close to the big Christmas tree nicely decorated. Vic Lundie opened the concert evening. For the first part we heard the Turkish Cypriot Torch Woodwind Quartet with Ibrahim Özbaskin (flute) Cağın Dostel (Oboe) Ebru Pendagomulu (clarinet) and Ali Suyolcin (bassoon). They played for us fıfteen pieces starting with classic music such as Handel, continuing with the Moose The Mooche by C. Parker, Pink Panther by H. Mancini, Jazz by Glen Miller and Gershwin to Chrismas music ending with jazzy Christmas pieces, pieces especially arranged for Woodwind quartets, among the arrangers two from North Cyprus such as Cahit Kutrafalı (a fantastic bass player and composer) and Oskay Hoca (obeist and Director of the Nicosia Orchestra, I also did an interview with him, see under No. 597 on my website under Cyprus Art News).
I saw many heads nod with the jazzy tunes and if I am not mistaken some of the saints on the iconostases did as well, at least they seemed to be very pleased.
The complimentary mulled wine served during the break helped to keep us warm, some of them dared the very fresh wind that blew around the church.
Fikri Toros (piano) and Katie Economidou (mezzo-soprano) in the second part abducted us into another world of church music with the highlight of Ave Maria by Schubert, at least my very personal highlight. For Katie it is not the first concert with Fikri or in the Northern part of the island. Read my review on a concert at the St.Andrews Church in Kyrenia under No. 549 Art News on my website.
Katie found some words from her heart to say to the audience in the sense of Christmas, love and peace, and with her very warm voice she asked us to join in singing ‘Silent Night’ in three different languages, English, German and Greek.
The evening gave us a feeling of home and being a big family, and it definitely tuned us in for Christmas. Thank you for the music!