There, below a gleaming Parthenon set against a brilliant blue sky which slowly acquired dusky hews we watched thousands of people streaming into this magnificent ancient theatre to take their places. It was a wonderful sight - people of all ages happily assembling to pay tribute to one of
Just after it was time for the concert to start and the screens which had been set up above the stage came to life, projecting scenes from Nana's life - pictures from childhood on, with people she loved and who loved her. Symbolic in a way because it was in the outdoor cinema where her father worked as a projectionist, as she told us later, close by in the suburb of Koukaki, that she began dreaming...dreams that would take her around the world and into millions of homes and hearts over the years ahead. One of those homes was ours...
Memories of our Mt Victoria home, loving memories of the whole family, Mum, Dad, my sister Pagona and myself, with some of the usual visitors to our house sitting in front of the television to watch her BBC show every week as she sang and danced with her many and varied guests, from George Chakiris to Shari Lewis, Julio Inglesias and Marinella!
Memories... of my sister Pagona's weekly radio show, 'Kalispera Sas' on 2ZB, for the Greek Youth Association, GOYANZ, also featured heavily in our thoughts. Pagona played a lot of Nana's music on Kalispera Sas and she used to get lots of letters from listeners all over NZ saying how much they enjoyed the music she played...
Memories... of the Victoria University Greek Club and the flowers that we sent to Nana to welcome her on her first visit to New Zealand, even though she didn't come to Wellington on that first trip. She made up for it years later by visiting
Honoured by Athens , the city she sang about so eloquently, earlier in the day, Nana's first song was indeed "Athina". Obviously moved, the emotion was apparent in her voice, and it brought the house down. The applause was deafening. (The last time I heard this song at a concert was at the Closing Ceremony of Athens' Unforgettable Olympics in 2004! What a year that was for
Nostalgia and sadness alternated with happiness and joy as she sang everything - from traditional Greek songs to Jazz, from country and western to 'Ta Paidia tou Peiraia' (Never on Sunday) to Beethoven's 9th Symphony-Song of Joy! As Nana tirelessly went through a programme of some of her most well-known and popular songs, songs that had the audience clapping, singing and foot-tapping for most of the three hours that she was on the stage, 'I didn't want to tire you' was her comment when the audience asked for more towards the end of the evening!