St. Augustine Greek Fest

 

The Hellenic Band has impressed the Florida community for over 25 years starting off as a two piece instrumental band consisting of Mike Menexis on bouzouki and Scott Smith on guitar. When drummer Dave Rice joined to make it a trio, it added a dimension that classified the band as a Greek-American combo. The band was now capable of entertaining not only at house parties but also at more fun gigs such as a “Greek Night” in the Bahamas.


After substituting the original rhythm guitarist, Scott Smith with lead/rhythm guitarist, Jim Grant and also with the addition of Set Proodian on clarinet and sax, The Hellenic Band began to soar to a new level of popularity in South Florida. The late Dimitri Darras (Mimi) on bass guitar and vocals joined in the early eighties and this really put the icing on the cake in terms of performing at social events such as New Year’s Eve functions, weddings, festivals, etc. in the entire state of Florida. After battling cancer for almost 2 years, Mimi departed this life on December 3rd, 2010. May his Memory be Eternal.


The band would also play both Greek and American music for high level functions including performances at the Kennedy mansion in Palm Beach, at the Taboo on famous Worth Avenue, and also at Sun Fest of Palm Beach during the early years.

Clarinet player George Stathos of NYC began sitting in for Set in the mid 2000s and has now join the band on a more regular basis. His traditional style has added a Greek dimension to the overall sound, making The Hellenic Band even that much more pleasurable to dance and listen to.

On occasion, Nick Matsis of Clearwater joins the band with his own unique Greek style clarinet playing that adds yet another great sound to the band.

Also on occasion, Joe Zeytounian of Ft. Lauderdale joins the band with his outstanding oud and dumbeg playing along with vocals that really enhances the overall sound quality of the band.

Also, George Theodore has replaced Jim Grant on guitar. With his talent and formal musical training background, George is indeed a fine addition to the orchestra.

The story of The Hellenic Band continues as it never ceases to amaze the Florida community on its musical diversity, professionalism and just being an overall great party band.