Music from the Heart: Dimitris Basis unites with Newtown Performing Arts High School

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By Andriana Simos and Takis Triadafillou

It’s the music collaboration no one ever expected or knew they needed in their lives… until now.

Internationally acclaimed Greek singer Dimitris Basis is set to perform on Tuesday, June 4 with students from the Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (NHSPA) in Sydney at a concert titled ‘Music from the Heart.’ Starting from 7pm at St George’s Hall in Newtown, the concert is set to break cultural and language barriers through music.

“This project is the most impressive thing I’ve ever done,” Basis told The Greek Herald exclusively about the upcoming concert.

“To see a Greek singer at an Australian school and having students perform Greek music and being taught about the importance of Greek music – for me that is the most moving thing.”

dimitris basis newtown high school of the performing arts
Basis has performed with students at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in 2019 and 2021.

The unexpected collaboration

Ula George, NHSPA Careers Adviser and Production Coordinator, told The Greek Herald that the collaboration first started in 2008 when Basis was performing on the Greek island of Samos and Emlyn Lewis-Jones (Music Teacher at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts and Musical Director of Concert) happened to be in the audience. 

Emlyn was so impressed with Basis’ performance that he followed his musical journey – but had no inkling that their paths would cross so meaningfully in the future.

In 2018, while Basis was on tour in Australia, the pair finally met with help from the Chair of the Greek Festival of Sydney, Nia Karteris, who arranged a meeting at the school to discuss a possible concert involving NHSPA students and Basis as part of the festival’s program in 2019.

After hearing the orchestra and choir rehearsing, Basis was so impressed by the musical talent of the students that he expressed a strong interest in collaborating in a concert.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Basis has since collaborated with students at the NHSPA on two concerts – ‘Byzantium to Zorba’ in 2019, and ‘200 Years: A Celebration of Greek Music’ in 2021 to mark the bicentenary of the start of the Greek War of Independence. This year’s new concert ‘Music from the Heart’ is set to draw in even more audiences. All have been proudly supported by the Greek Festival of Sydney and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW (GOCNSW).

dimitris basis newtown high school of the performing arts
Past performance.

‘An amazing opportunity’

With any concert comes hard work, something Emlyn says his students at the NHSPA have taken onboard ahead of ‘Music from the Heart’ on June 4.

“Our students are very excited to be part of this unique experience. The orchestra are committed to their twice-a-week 7.30am rehearsals before their school day starts, and the choir rehearses after school until 5pm,” Emlyn told The Greek Herald.

Basis has selected music for the concert from artists he grew up with, including Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarchakos and Dimitris Mitropanos. The songs embody lyrics and music that evoke a range of human emotions such as passion, love, pain, loss, struggle, joy and hope.

Emyln said this unique range of songs is exciting for students.

“Working with such an internationally acclaimed artist in genres outside their usual experience is an amazing opportunity for students from which they learn and will always remember,” he said.

Basis couldn’t agree more.

“I come into contact with young kids, under 18 and 17 years of age, and I see myself in them. They remind me of when I first started performing and had dreams to become a singer… I love it,” the Greek singer said.

“For me, I think this concert is so important because Greek music is heard at an Australian school and kids get to fall in love with Greek music.”

The ‘Music from the Heart’ concert with Dimitris Basis and the Newtown High School of the Performing Arts will take place on Tuesday, June 4 at St George’s Hall in Newtown (354 King Street) from 7pm. Ticket details: https://greekfestivalofsydney.com.au/event/music-from-the-heart/

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