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Mario and Horatio at Ebby's 100th


by Jerome Weeks 6 Mar 2011

The 100th birthday of Dallas real estate legend Ebby Halliday will be marked with a gala this Wednesday at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Headlining it will be international tenor Mario Frangoulis. Halliday and the singer share a connection.

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The 100th birthday of Dallas real estate legend Ebby Halliday will be marked with a gala this Wednesday at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Headlining it will be international tenor Mario Frangoulis. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports that Halliday and the singer share a connection.

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[music up and it continues under]

This is the cabaret song “Youkali,” composed by Kurt Weill, best known for The Threepenny Opera. It’s performed by Mario Frangoulis. He’s the classical crossover or “popera” star who sings opera arias, Broadway show tunes (notably from The Phantom of the Opera) and pop hits, including the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.”

So — what’s a Greek singer who trained in England and here performs a German tango in French – what’s he doing with the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans? Alger, of course, was the novelist whose rags-to-riches tales became a symbol of American pluck and opportunity. Ebby Halliday is a lifetime member of the association. Wednesday’s concert is a benefit for it.

And Frangoulis is its international ambassador. It all began, Frangoulis says, when he met Terrence Giroux, the Alger association’s director.

Frangoulis: “I warmed to him immediately. He wants to help young people come out of adversity and better their situation and, of course, that inspired me.”

That’s because Frangoulis himself hasn’t had the easiest life. At four, his parents sent him away to live with his aunt. He says he particularly values the 87 million dollars in scholarships that the Alger Association has awarded to young students.

Frangoulis: “I remember winning scholarships and how important it was for my education and my performing skills. It made me a better person altogether.”

But no, Frangoulis has not met Ebby Halliday. Yet.

Frangoulis: “I was watching her on the internet, and she has this motto, ‘Do Something for Someone Everyday.’ And that’s been my motto all my life.”

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