Roxy Music Store | The Batavian


Diana Diplarakou Dipson, sits in the foreground, left, with a violin. Photo courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz.

Rose Caccamise will be truly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. About 10 years ago, Rose contacted me and asked if I would do an article on Diana Dipson. We have met a few times and she explained that this famous lady deserves to be remembered. It was so Rose, still thinking of someone else. So, in memory of this beautiful, talented and athletic woman, this is for you, Rose.

– Anne-Marie Starowitz

In 1929, a young girl, who liked her name to be pronounced “Dee-AN’-na”, graduated with honors from the high school of Batavia. She was a member of the National Honor Society, received the Glenn S. Loomis Award for History, and was a member of an orchestra and choir. His ambition was to be a concert violinist.

Diana Diplarakou Dipson was born in New York City but moved to Batavia when she was a child. At the age of 5, she began to study the violin in Batavia with August Fricker. She started giving recitals at the age of 11. Many of his recitals have taken place at the public school for the blind.

She then won a scholarship to the Curtiss Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She graduated with honors from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Julliard Graduate School of Music. His musical career spanned several decades. She studied in Europe under the guidance of George Enesco.

Music reviews of his undeniable talent began in Batavia and followed his career across the country.

“Diana Dipson is a brilliant artist, possessing an amazing technique. It is safe to predict that Miss Dipson will become one of the most accomplished violinists in the country. Daily News from Batavia, NY, May 16, 1928

Diana’s musical career began when she accompanied silent films at the New Family Theater on Jackson Street. His father Nikitas D. Dipson ran the theater. As Diana’s career skyrocketed, her father’s in the theater business grew as well. Nikitas’ name has become synonymous with both cinemas and drive-ins.

Diana performed on radio in Buffalo and Cleveland and prior to WWII she performed in public appearances in Greece.

She then joined the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra in West Virginia, where she was a featured soloist.

In 1939, Diana married George Papulias in New York in a private ceremony presided over by the Eastern Orthodox Bishop of New York. The groom was a lawyer from Steubenville, Ohio, an amateur violinist, and the son of Greek immigrants who, like the Dipsons, worked in the theater business.

The newlyweds sailed the same day on the Italian liner Tale of Savoy for a three month Mediterranean honeymoon. In June 1940, their son Michael was born. When Michael was 2 years old, his parents divorced. He was not raised by either of his parents, but was raised by a family in Wellsville.

Diana went to New York to pursue her music career in the early 1940s. Michael would come to Batavia for Christmas or Easter and stay with his grandfather at 431 E. Main St.

Diana was disappointed that Michael had never learned to play an instrument or read music. According to her, he had a perfect pitch. The only thing Michael had in common with his mother was that she had very sensitive ears and couldn’t tolerate hearing aids being fake. To this day, her son has the same complaint.

When Michael was in elementary school, his mother made arrangements to visit her school in Wellsville and play the violin for her class. She would play tunes the students liked and then add a few classic medleys. The teachers enjoyed his visits and to this day his classmates still remember him.

Diana made her dream come true. Headlines in Daily news On March 1, 1944, read “Batavian Chosen First Violinist in a New York City Symphony”. After very competitive auditions, Diana was chosen first violin and would be a member of the New York City Symphony under the direction of Leopold Stokowski, conductor.

Interestingly, Mischa Mischakoff, concertmaster of the New York City Symphony, was a soloist in the second season of the Batavia Civic Orchestra and was possibly a colleague of Diana.

During and after World War II, she toured military hospitals with the Hospital Music Guild, entertaining wounded servicemen. She had great sympathy for the many servicemen who had been wounded during the war. She found that playing the violin for the soldiers gave her great satisfaction.

Michael also shared that his mother was a born imitator and could easily fall into a variety of dialects. She was fluent in Greek and could also speak French since her stay in Paris. By the age of 30, she had traveled all over Europe and had a very cosmopolitan outlook on customs, culture and cuisine.

While Diana was performing in New York, something musically wonderful was happening at home. Four musicians in the 1940s, John and Helen Grapka, Norman Hall and Muriel Mooney formed a quartet and, along with many talented musicians from the region, helped form the Batavia Civic Orchestra, later known as the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Ironically, their first concert took place at the Dipson Theater * on November 6, 1947 to a sold-out audience.

In 1955, Diana returned to Batavia and became a member of the Genesee Symphony for six years. She served on the board of directors for five years. She was first stand with the solo violin John Bobka. She has also performed in concerts presented by the Fine Arts Division of Geneseo State College and has frequently given court performances for local churches.

Diana continued to teach violin to young people and, in 1964, was principal violin of the Perry Pops Orchestra. She was later employed in the offices of Dipson Theaters, which still owned or rented around 10 theaters operated by her brother, William Dipson.

In the 1970s, Batavia community leaders, especially William Dipson, decided to give Main Street a cultural boost. They organized a live performance of an opera, complete with costumes, sets and a full orchestra to perform on stage at the Dipson Theater.

Everyone attended in their finery as if it were a Hollywood premiere. Michael came to Batavia to escort his mother.

By all accounts, it was a great performance, an unforgettable afternoon. Shortly after the gala, the Dipson Theater, like many other beautiful buildings, became the next target of urban renewal.

Diana continued to live in Batavia in the Dipson house on East Main Street. She was afraid to lock herself out of her apartment, so she never locked her door. One day, on returning home, she discovered that her violin had been stolen; she never played the violin again.

Rose Caccamise from Roxy’s Music store has fond memories of Diana. She describes Diana as artistic, musical, humble, intelligent, gracious, and lover of animals, especially her dog Augie. In Rose’s words, “it was a privilege to have known her”.

Diana also taught students to play the violin at Roxy’s Music Store.

Diana Diplarakou Dipson died at St. Luke’s Manor in Batavia in 1997 at the age of 86. Her son is a lawyer in Madison County, Virginia, where his ashes are buried.

* Editor’s Note: The Dipson Theater in Batavia was located at 38 Main Street. The cinema’s first groundbreaking took place in 1946, and when it opened it could seat 1,325 people, according to a website called Cinema Treasures.


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