An event with “body and soul”: One of several life-size images projected throughout the evening on the building walls, giving the feeling of sitting harbour-side and enjoying a night on Kastellorizo.
Report from Dr George Stabelos (scroll to bottom of page for the gallery):
For those who could not make it to beautiful Kastellorizo this summer, it didn’t matter, because this year, Kastellorizo came to Melbourne.
In an event that we will surely look back on as one of the best Kastellorizian of the Year (KOY) events ever, the KAV Events Sub-committee, under the team leadership of Lena Coates, pulled off an incredibly enjoyable evening that had “body and soul”. As a measure of increasing professionalism in how events are being organised these days, tickets went on sale online via “Try Booking” and were sold out within 3 days.
The beautiful Body
Those who were lucky enough to attend, were treated to a night on the Mediterranean, as if harbour-side on a balmy night on Kastellorizo island. The atmosphere created by a combination of dimmed warm blue theatre lighting, huge life-like images of Kastellorizo thrown on white walls by a data projector, white table cloths with a splash of cyan blue from various ornaments and decorations, thoughtfully placed green olive branches and bright yellow lemons, strip lighting on the tables, a live Greek ensemble with amazing vocals and delicious food, made us feel that we were seaside at Alexandra’s, Lazarakis’ or Little Paris restaurants on Megisti.
Maybe the champagne on arrival, the lovely red wine, beer and the company helped as well, however I must admit to being enthused and inspired by both the organisation and execution of the event and also by the attendees and various people who played an important part. The set-up of the venue at South Melbourne was superb, and surprising in how good it looked. It just goes to show what can be done with imagination, vision, professional expertise and when people work together.
The warm Soul
Kastellorizian of the Year (KOY) for 2018, Basil Zemplias, made us proud. Like a true Kastellorizian, he and his family were not flustered by the distance and made a huge effort to travel from Perth to accept the award. An Australian media identity, television and radio presenter and sports commentator, his successful 25 year career in journalism has earned Basil current positions including presenting sport on Seven News Perth, Monday to Friday and being co-host of Seven’s Weekend Sunrise alongside Monique Wright. Since January 2014, he has co-hosted Perth radio station 6PR’s breakfast program with Steve Mills. He is also a member of the Seven Network’s AFL football commentary team. Basil Zempilas has commentated on the Olympics and several other major sporting events including Seven’s Australian Open tennis coverage and is the host of the annual Channel 7 Telethon.
Those listening closely were treated to a humble, funny and well-presented speech from Basil, made from the heart. Basil described interesting, entertaining and pivotal moments in his career. For the benefit of younger members in the room, he shared the secrets of career success, which included having a passion for one’s field and a higher goal, determination, persistence, hard work and family support. Sounds very Kastellorizian?
Basil reflected on our heritage as traders in the Mediterranean. Our forebears had a worldly view as a result of travel and exposure to many cultures, which gave them both breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. This served them well in their future journeys to the antipodes as far as Australia, where they contributed to society, brought up their families, created opportunities and had successful lives.
All of our families have a migration story, often involving sacrifice and the Zempilas story was equally impressive. Particularly touching was the description of Basil’s parent’s lives, including mother Jessie, a twin, who was left behind on Kastellorizo after her siblings and parents first went to Australia and also how sister Roslyn, made the journey back to marry and live on Rhodes and Kastellorizo.
The messages: Determination and Synergy breeds success
There were numerous other beacons of success on display on the night. Our own Cassie Zervos, daugher of Mike and Roslyn Zervos, a Walkley Award winning and now Channel 7 Network Journalist, was in her element interviewing Basil Zempilas in front of the audience. Stasi Adgemis, son of John and Irene Adgemis, senior auctioneer and company director and winner of Victoria’s Domain’s Rising Star Award in Real Estate, took control of the Mercedes Benz model Auction and showed why he is at the top of his field. MC Justin Mastores, son of Christine Mastores- Davidson, was a great ambassador for the club and did an outstanding job on the microphone .
The KOY award was given to Basil Zempilas by last year’s KOY recipient and a person who is an inspiration to us all – Mrs Christine Dimer.
Notable, was also the well-deserved President’s Award, awarded to Evelyn Salvaris, for her longstanding commitment to the club, having served on committees and made an outstanding and selfless contribution to the club newsletter for the greater good. Yes its ” Cool to be Kazzie”, amongst other things.
It was heartening to see and experience the evening together with many long-term supporters at the event, such as the much-loved Marika Bisas, wife of the late Jack Bisas, Nina Mangos and many others.
A major highlight of the night, was the magnificent vocal performance by Elena Josephides, (daughter of George and Effie Josephides,) secondary School Music and Psychology teacher. What a tremendous voice and underlying that a love for music, an impressive control of vocals in the the Greek language and its connection to our heritage.
All these people are the Club’s potential future leaders … and already leaders in their fields. All demonstrated that it is important to be proud of our heritage, see the strengths of it, enjoy it and make it work for you. Congratulations and thanks also to Don and Sue Miriklis for their successful bidding in the auction and for taking home the prized Mercedes Benz model pedal car!
The Challenge: we wish our kids could have been there
It would have been great to have our children, and other generations of various ages, there to listen to the stories and what was said, to experience and share the atmosphere and talk to the various people. Like us, I am sure they would have been inspired. With time, we have both evolved into and perhaps unknowingly promoted a situation where younger people do not see the relevance of clubs such as this, nor value them enough. I think this is both a function of the evolution of society itself and various factors including our inability as volunteer run clubs, to evolve, keep up with societal changes and create settings or initiate programs which attract and make some of these clubs appealing to a wide range of younger individuals from various backgrounds.
There may be no easy solution to the above or there may be. This depends on our potential to be innovative, our unity, the initiatives and direction we provide and take, and whether we can attract younger people into the club, and listen to others.
Certainly, we are always going to find better solutions to things if we work together and honestly, for the greater good, and listen to each other and be able to discuss and find solutions synergistically. There will always be a diversity of opinions and that is an asset, as this can both promote and challenge the status quo and help to ensure we are having checks and balances on what we are doing and are moving with the times.
To me, the biggest challenge for our club is to be able to evaluate our options, discuss and agree on a platform and direction, being able to work in harmony and benefit from the power of many people working side-by side in common purpose, with common values and goals. The most successful clubs are not the ones with the least diversity of opinion in their membership. They are the ones who can communicate and discuss things in a respectful and civil way and arrive at a position of common purpose and common direction and spend their time and energy pushing forward together.
Therefore, as a great example of the above, we must all congratulate the Events Sub-Committee and all involved, in doing such a great job for this event. In particular, the main organisers: Team Leader Lena Coates, Peter Coates, Christine Mastores-Davidson, Phillippa Adgemis and partner Frank, Maria Georgoulas, Marcia Xenitelis, Kathleen and Tony Grosso, John Bogiatzis and with ongoing club support from our President Nik Spartels in particular, Connie Gregory and other committee members.
Underlying the success of the evening however, is the hard work, vision and great leadership, even genius, displayed by our president Nik Spartels, with support of wife Dina, who in bringing all this together, has brought out the strengths of various people on committee and in the community and promoted the benefits of bringing people together.
It is one thing to organise an event or party, however to do so whilst creating a pleasurable atmosphere that rivals other events in its professionalism and organisation, whilst making it entertaining and fun and having a strong sense of meaning with high demand, has things at another level. This event achieved all of the above and the approach will no doubt be a catalyst for more to come for the club, for others in the community young and old, throughout the lifespan.
Get involved in your club and enjoy tangible and intangible benefits of community and culture.
Enjoy the photos of the night in the Gallery.
We look forward to seeing you at the next event.