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On the evening of 24 March, the Kythera Cultural Association organised an 80th birthday celebration in honour of Stratis Theodorakakis (“Tsabiras”), the originator, leader and chief inspiration for many
years of the Potamos Philharmonic as well as one of the island’s best-loved and most respected cultural leaders. The event included the opening of an exhibition of photographs of maestro Theodorakakis and of the Philharmonic taken at various times over the last five decades in the Potamos Cultural Centre, followed by a formal celebration upstairs. Chaired by the KCA’s artistic director John Stathatos, this consisted of tributes from speakers including the Mayor of Kythera, Theodore Koukoulis, Eleni Charou-Koronaiou, Manos Tryfilis, professor George Kassimatis, Yiorgos Baveas and Evita Provatari; musical interludes by the band and choir, organised by composer Panayotis Leftheris; and visuals courtesy of video artist Maria Schina, who showed part of an ongoing documentary about Stratis and the Philharmonic, and surgeon Kosmas Megalokonomos, with an illustrated talk about Stratis’ life.

The formal part of the evening was succeeded by a party which went on till well past midnight, fuelled by local wine, champagne and an abundance of mezedes of both local and Australian inspiration. Led by maestro Stratis and with Panayotis Leftheris on the piano, the choir, seconded by a large number of volunteers, sang its way happily through its entire repertory as well as every song anyone could remember even a few bars of. By some miracle of planning and good luck, the whole event had been kept a secret from Stratis until the moment he walked into the exhibition. MAESTRO THEODORAKAKIS’ 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED IN STYLE - Stratis 80th birthday

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on 01.09.2008

Please pass on all my good wishes to the maestro, from a fond clarinet player in England.