Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society
The mission of the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society (OHFS) is to perpetuate the rich history and traditions of Greek folk dances, songs, and music. Orpheus fulfills its mission by educating its members and audiences through dance and music performances, instructional classes, workshops, lectures, publications, website and social media outlets.
The Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society is considered one of the most successful cultural organizations in the Midwest offering year-round programs to the community. During its almost 30 years of existence, thousands of members have joined those programs where dance, music and song classes are offered to people of all ages and abilities. Every week more than 200 members come together to be immersed in the richness of the Greek folk traditions. A team of professional instructors conducts the classes at the highest level and the Orpheus programs are distinguished for their quality and results over the years.
Orpheus has participated in numerous events throughout the USA, Canada and Greece. The group has conducted four performing tours in Greece; Orpheus has been featured in many media outlets such as the Oprah Winfrey Show and has represented Greece at the opening ceremonies of the 1994 World Cup of Soccer. In addition, with the blessing of Metropolitan Iakovos (blessed memory) Orpheus has represented the Metropolis of Chicago at Greek Folk Dance competitions (FDF and HDF) in the west and southeast coasts, where it has won several awards of distinction.
Orpheus has been serving the entire Greek American community with integrity and passion, where all actions are driven solely by the organization’s mission statement and the interest of the community. As Greeks, we are fortunate to have inherited a rich culture that has no limits and Orpheus has utilized those gifts to bring today’s Greek American youth, closer to their cultural and ancestral identity. The implementation of modern and innovative methods in teaching, cultivating, practicing, researching and presenting the Greek folk arts has brought extremely rewarding results and experiences that are being enjoyed by the whole community. For many of the Orpheus members this has become a lifetime experience, having been part of the organization for many years. During Orpheus’ performances, practices and activities, the participants engage directly with their Greek culture and heritage, creating an experience that speaks to the soul.
We are grateful and humbled by the support and recognition received from the Greek American community for almost three decades. We are also indebted to the Hellenic Foundation for their 2017 Grant Award that will enable us to restore many of the costume pieces in great need of repair that are part of Orpheus’ costume collection. This unique collection consists of costumes that are representative of several regions and villages throughout Greece. These precious artifacts are considered one of Orpheus’ largest investments. The funding made available through this generous grant will provide the much-needed maintenance and replacement parts for the collection. The grant will ensure these beautiful costumes continue to be featured, as well as, compliment the Orpheus presentations to the community at large.