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Greek musical odyssey a hit at Newtown High

NEWTOWN: Internationally-renowned Greek singer and musician, Dimitris Basis, joined students from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (NHSPA) to celebrate the musical history of Greece, from Byzantium to the music of modern Greece, on May 15.

Dimitris Basis. Photo:Yiannis Dramatinos

Byzantium to Zorba: A Musical Odyssey was a featured concert in the 2019 Greek Festival of Sydney presented by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW.

Sixty students from the NHSPA orchestra accompanied Dimitris Basis to pay tribute to artists that shaped Greek history including Markos Vamvakaris, Vasilis Tsitsanis, Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis.

Lane Cove residents Ann and Ken Willy, who have spent up to two months on Samos Island in Greece each year since 1982, said the concert was a fabulous celebration of the depth and joy of Greek culture.

“People were swaying and clapping – and we loved every minute of it. We saw Dimitri perform in Samos in 2006 and It is wonderful to have such a great Greek singer visiting Sydney so we can enjoy his special magic here too.”

Two-hundred-and-eighty people packed St George’s Hall on King Street to hear Mr Basis’ sonorous and soulful voice, which is loved the world over.

“I have performed with many fine musicians in many countries over the years,” Mr Basis said. “But this is definitely one of the greatest highlights of my career.”

Mr Basis also thanked Emlyn Lewis-Jones (conductor), George Doukas (guitar), Thanasis Pylarinos (bazouki), Paul Meader (bass guitar), Arlo Sim (NHSPA singer), and the NHSPA senior dance ensemble for their skill and passion as his co-performers.

Festival committee member and careers advisor for NHSPA Ula George said: “It was a phenomenal night, and an honour to have Dimitris perform for us. It was also wonderful to see our young musicians – many of whom are not Greek – drawn out of their comfort zones to play Greek music with such finesse, and to take such genuine delight in it.”

In an email to NHSPA, Irene Sfinas, Head Teacher History at Sydney Distance Education High School, expressed her appreciation.

“It is not an exaggeration when I say (as did many of my fellow audience members) that we have been to many Greek concerts and other cultural events over the years but last night’s performance was just extraordinary. Your students transformed this event into a unique cross- cultural showcase, which left us all very moved and full of admiration. I felt immense pride in our public school system and the extraordinary talent on display.”

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