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Greek Culture, Up Close and Personal

Yeia sas (pronounced yasas and Greek for hello)!

As part of their course of study here in Athens, Berklee students take several Greek culture classes, including Greek Civilization. John Karavas, a professor and a renowned archaeologist, is their teacher. And what better way to see the Acropolis and its crowning Parthenon, erected as a temple to the goddess Athena in the fifth century B.C., than through the lens of such expertise. He took us back in time, regaling us with tales of the ancient site’s long and winding history. At its base, we saw some old school performance sites–how apropos for a group of musicians. There was the Theater of Dionysus, in its day akin to the Broadway of Ahtens–where top billed performances debuted; and the Theater of Herod Atticus, which continues to host impressive artists.

Both feature marble seats (for the Dionysus theater, only for the VIP guests), just one example of how there’s no scrimping on building materials here.

The Theater of Dionysus. Those larger seats in front were reserved for VIP guests.

The Theater of Dionysus. Those larger seats in front were reserved for VIP guests.

The Theater of Herrod Atticus

The Theater of Herod Atticus

It was not your average tour, that’s for certain.

Here’s what some of the students had to say:

“He’s not your average teacher,” said Larry Williams, a sixth-semester music synthesis major from Los Angeles.

“It’s hard not to get excited about,” agreed Greg Feingold, a second-semester bass player from Chicago.

“You could ask him anything about the Acropolis or the Parthenon and he’ll tell you,” said Ryan Toll, a third-semester music education major from Seattle. “And it’s real-world experience he’s speaking from.”

In front of the Parthenon, Greek Civilization professor John Karavas, second from left, with students Josh Watkinson, Jazz Robertson, Greg Feingold, Ricky Reilly, Dustin MacFadden-Elliott, Ryan Toll, and Da'Rayia Wilson.

In front of the Parthenon, Greek Civilization professor John Karavas, second from left, with students Josh Watkinson, Jazz Robertson, Greg Feingold, Ricky Reilly, Dustin MacFadden-Elliott, Ryan Toll, and Da'Rayia Wilson.

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1 Comment

  1. Rob Hochschild

    Nice photos, Lesley! Looks like those students are getting a good supplement to the Liberal Arts curriculum. And the picture in front of the Parthenon could be a nice album cover if the crew does some recording out there. – Rob

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