MEET THE COMMITTEE

MEET THE COMMITTEE

OGAE AUSTRALIA PRESIDENT: Christopher Dean

Hello everyone, and welcome to a new year for OGAE Australia.

I am happy to announce my election as President of OGAE Australia for the coming year, a role that I’m a little overwhelmed in gaining in such a short time with the club, but one that I am excited to hold.

A little about myself…

I was born in country Queensland one month after the Teach-In “dinged their dongs” in Stockholm, Sweden, giving The Netherlands their fourth Eurovision victory (is it a sign that 44 years later, The Netherlands finally win again, just as I’m elevated to such an important role?). After almost 30 years in Queensland, I decided that I needed a change, and moved to Melbourne where I remain today.

I‘ve followed the Australian pop charts from a very young age, and have quite an encyclopaedic knowledge of them during the 80’s and 90’s. But to find a name I actually recognise in the current Top 50 songs is a challenge - and something that is very sad for me to admit. And so, a love of Eurovision developed, which has definitely filled the void left from my, let’s say “disinterest” in today’s popular music.

Eurovision has always been there; but growing up in a small town of less than 7,000 people, we only had two TV channels, SBS not being one of them. It wasn’t until 2011 that I actually watched an entire Grand Final, most probably because I didn’t really have anyone else to enjoy watching it with. However, I did find that someone to watch it with in 2014, after meeting my partner just a few months earlier. We’ve progressed since 2016, when we woke early to watch our first LIVE Grand Final to attending the “real” Eurovision in 2019.

I joined OGAE Australia last year to attend the 2018 Preview Party. It was at this party that I was talking to someone about running a contest that would highlight the last 10 years of Eurovision. I called it Eurovision All Stars, shamelessly stealing the name from a certain reality TV show. The dedication and organization involved with running All Stars brought me to the attention of the committee at the time, who suggested I should join. I soon became an OGAE Australia Committee member, progressing to Vice President shortly after.

I love Eurovision because I find in it a variety of sounds that I used to experience in pop music during the 80’s and 90’s. I love the individual production of each performance, the unique stage tricks bringing the “wow!”, and the personalities of the artists.

To get personal, I’m split right down the middle as an introvert/extrovert. What you see on the outside is quite the opposite to the “turmoil” happening on the inside…ha ha! While I love to create events, sing Karaoke, or play host, I’m also quite shy – I just don’t let that stop me from doing it. Being part of OGAE Australia has helped me make more friends than I have ever had in my entire life, and helped give me the confidence to come out of my shell a little more with each event. I’m still apprehensive about going up to meet new people, but in this new role, I’m sure I’ll be forced to spread myself around more than I’m used to. Eventually (and feel free to give me a boost there J).

So, that’s really not “a little” about myself at all, but I hope that’s a good enough window into the person helping to take care of you all for the next year. I’m equally nervous and excited to take on this role, but I am definitely here for the long term. You can count on me.

Thank you.

Chris.

OGAE AUSTRALIA VICE PRESIDENT: Danie Tregonning

Hello folks!!

I am so excited to be your Vice President for 2019/2020.

I have been a member of ESCFAN OGAE Australia since 2016 and been an avid Eurovision fan since 2007. Unfortunately our TV was always stuck on Channel Nine when I was a kid (total parental bias) so I had no Eurovision until much later on. Tel Aviv was my first contest away from the couch. It was such an amazing experience for me and felt a little like coming home as I grew up hanging around watching people make live TV.

I used to work in retail and customer service in the international grocery departments at the two major department stores until my body gave in. I miss it but I still really love working in a team.

When I am not doing club duties, I work as a fine artist, voice over actor, produce a podcast, and run the longest unofficial daily Bold and the Beautiful live-tweet on Twitter (Ridge and Brooke are definitely not couple goals).

I’m eager for extra responsibilities this year and working hard to make the club the best place it can be for all our members. Last committee year I worked as the social media coordinator for the club, and my personal highlight was bringing as much Eurovision home to everyone as I could with daily updates, videos, and raffles of ESC 2019 goodies from the Press Centre at Expo with help from our “Dare To Dream Social Media Team”.

I also have a degree in Fine Art and diplomas in Visual Art, and Secondary Art Education so I’m all about creative ideas and thinking out of the box so my door is always open if you want to chat about more stuff for the club, both for events and activities in person and online. Plans are afoot for even more content this year and I can’t wait for you all to see it and get involved!

My Eurosticks and I will see you really soon at the events all over this great land of ours and The Netherlands!

Danie ❤️

OGAE AUSTRALIA SECRETARY: Kurtis Carter

Hello fellow friends of Eurovision.

It is I, Kurtis Carter, better known as Miss Courtesy Act or (future) partner of Kristian Kostov

Here is a little bit about me:
I am now, one of the longest serving committee members on the current committee and also one of the youngest. (I WAS the youngest until the recent election, thanks Jayde, aha).

I am (still) at uni studying Bachelor of Arts with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) majoring in Japanese, Modern History and International Relations. I danced competitively for 11 years and have had some singing and drama experience. I love to travel and love music. In my local area for karaoke, I am known as the one who sings very dramatic and over the top songs in different languages (i.e. Eurovision). This love of languages, music and performing has translated well into my love of both Eurovision and K-POP (any KPOP fans in the group?!)

Here is a bit of my history with Eurovision and the club:

I've been dedicated to Eurovision since 2012 but only went for my first time to Eurovision in 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 19. 2016 was not only a defining moment for Australia when Dami Im was chosen to represent Australia, and placing 2nd! Australia's highest score ever! But it was also a defining moment for me too as my first ever Eurovision and first time travelling overseas alone. Because I enjoyed Sweden so much, I was able to attend Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine and again in 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. Mind you, these trips were during the middle of my university semester. I still remember running across Lisbon searching for a printer to print my Japanese exam.

I joined ESCFAN (OGAE Australia) in 2016, after the Contest was held for that year. I only found out about the club from bumping into fellow Australian fans in Stockholm. By Eurovision 2017, I was able to participate in the tours and activities in Australia and Ukraine held by the fan club. Whilst participating at these events, I was able to develop some awesome friendships.

In March 2018 I was given the opportunity to join the Committee. From then onwards, I was very much apart of the team. As a general committee member, I helped assist in organising Slavko to come to Australia and the Preview Parties in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as being the temporary Social Media Co-ordinator and quickly developing strong ties with SBS.

Then came AGM 2018 where I took over the role of Secretary. As Secretary, I have been key in organising a variety of things for the club; having a strong knowledge surrounding Victorian Law, the rules of the Association, our Social Media policy, minute-taking and organisational skills.

With help from fellow members, I headed up all promotion regarding JESC 2018, running the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ celebration and Artist and Country profiles. I am very excited for JESC 2019!

As apart of the Committee, I helped organise an Australian Tour (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth) for EYECUE from North Macedonia in April 2019 as part of the OGAE Australia Eurovision Preview Parties in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Assisted in the organisation of events on the Gold Coast for Australia Decides 2019. Interviewed Kate Miller-Heidke and her designer at Australia Decides 2019. Organised an interview with Alfie Arcuri. Interviewed Aydan at Australia Decides 2019. Assisted in running the Live Screening of the Eurovision Final 2019 in Sydney, have ties and communicate regularly with SBS (heads of Production, Social Media and Journalists).

With the lead up to the AGM 2019, I assisted John Tzimas with help from Troy Bass, Christopher Dean and Danie Tregonning in reviewing and updating the Association’s model rules to better suit the club and its members; as well as organising all documents needed for the AGM.

I have been super lucky to have been re-elected as Secretary 2019/2020 by our members. I am very excited to take on more responsibilities and work as apart of the events, social media and rules and governance teams to create fun Euro-tastic events both in real-life and online, and to help support a loving and inclusive club culture. I am so happy to be apart of this little Eurovision family and I am super excited to see what 2019/2020 brings!

OGAE AUSTRALIA TREASURER: Christopher Greaves

Hi, Chris here…

About me: I’m originally from the UK and I shall be looking after the club accounts... no pressure since the previous treasurer did such a incredible job!

I was seriously impressed by how quickly the club has grown and how inclusive the membership is. As such, I'm very excited about working towards making things even bigger and even better!

I have attended 6 Eurovisions 2013-2018 and plan to go 2020! I love shlager pop and anything with *clap clap*... *key change* (basically Scandinavian music). As such, I've not been a big fan of any winning songs 2016-2019! 😜

First Eurovision memory: 1993 dancing around and screaming at the TV for Sonia to win!

First Eurovision serious party: 2010

First Eurovision live: 2013

Hope to do a great job and look forward to meeting many of you at future events.

OGAE AUSTRALIA COMMITTEE MEMBER: Jayde Gray

Hi everybody!

I’m Jayde, and I’m so excited to be a general member of the 2019/2020 committee! I’ve officially overtaken Kurtis as the youngest member on the OGAE Australia Committee, and I definitely won’t let you down!

I grew up out in Country Victoria (Phillip Island/Wonthaggi, so you can imagine I hadn’t even HEARD of Eurovision living out there), but moved to Melbourne to study my Bachelor of Music (Music Theatre) at the Australian Institute of Music (which I completed at the end of last year), which often means I take the songs from the contest and analyse the crap out of them musically hahaha. I’ve also just began my Masters of Teaching (Secondary) with La Trobe University to teach music and drama to secondary school children. My passion is singing and performing and I’ve done some crazy things in my performance career (ie. singing for Queen Elizabeth II, singing solo in Hisense Arena to a crowd of 10000 people/being broadcast on channel 7, performing my own cabarets at The Butterfly Club/Chapel off Chapel etc.), but the ultimate dream is to one day compete in Australia Decides and then, heaven forbid, represent Australia at Eurovision!

I started my journey with Eurovision in 2016, where one night in May after stumbling home drunk from a night club (first year uni looked a lot like this), I turned on the TV to go to sleep and there it was: Semi Final 2 of Eurovision playing live. I watched Dami Im perform and I completely sobered up; this competition on an international scale was exactly the type of thing I dreamed about existing. I got up at 5AM to watch the grand final and promised myself that when I finished uni I would see it in person.

I joined OGAE Australia in April of 2018, and FINALLY met my people (my friends were sick of me talking about every single little thing about Eurovision), and its been such a privilege to meet some of you and talk about this competition we know and love all year round! You might have seen me compete in Lipsyncfestivalen, the Eye Cue singing competition and, most recently, So You Think You Can Eurovision.

Flash forward to this year; not only did I attend our national final, but I flew overseas for the very first time to Tel Aviv (my parents crapped themselves, of course I’m the first of us to go overseas and pick a middle eastern country), and it was the most magical 2 weeks of my life. My passion for Eurovision is huge and I have such a love for the size and scale of the contest; from the costumes/set design, right down to the complex musical styles sent each year from different countries. I still have a LOT of Eurovision catch up to do, but I feel like I’m making some good progress and slowly leading myself back to 1956.

I’ve already worked with the committee a little in the past; I have a passion for photography and videography and after my Lipsyncfestivalen video, I was asked if I wanted to come and help film an interview with Australia Decides contestant Alfie Arcuri, and subsequently join the social media sub-committee. I was privileged enough to take photos/film for both Australia Decides and the rehearsals of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest (you would have seen a lot of my pictures floating around the OGAE Australia Instagram at this point), and I can’t wait to take even more pictures of everybody at upcoming events. I really feel like I’ve found a family amongst you all.

I’m hoping that with my time on the committee, I can use it to engage you all more in the lead up to the big day in May, as well as bring a fresh new mind to the club. It’s such an honour to be on the committee with all these amazing members, and to meet all of you over time at the events we do. Feel free to send me a message anytime; I love a good chat! I’m really looking forward to heading to The Netherlands next year and sharing our love of this crazy European song contest.

OGAE AUSTRALIA COMMITTEE MEMBER: Simone McDonnell

Hey! Hey you... (you won't ever hide what you think of me..)

I’m Simone from SA. I’m originally from Mt Gambier, but now reside in good ol’ RADelaide! I’m really excited to have been elected to the committee and thank everyone who voted for me, for the privilege.

I bloody love Eurovision, and have been a pretty massive fan for about a decade. After years of promising myself I’ll go, I *finally* made it to Tel Aviv earlier in the year and it was beyond all my wildest expectations!

I love the diversity of music and performance that makes up the competition, as well as the "peace peace, love love" that Eurovision exudes. I’m also a bit of a political nerd, so I live for all the drama and controversy that it courts each year.

Outside of my Eurovision obsession, I am owned by two rabbits, Wolfgang Von Faust and Penny Wong. I sit on the board of Channel 44 Community TV station, and I would describe my perfect date as April 25th, because it's not too hot, not too cold- all you need is a light jacket!

I have a background in media/communications/policy development/event management and most notably served as the Adviser to the former Minister for the Arts here in SA.

As I admitted at the AGM, I really only joined up because I wanted tickets, but very quickly fell in love with the crazy group of misfits who exist in this space. You're all amazing and I'm so glad I have found you!

I’m keen to build the membership outside of the Eastern States, and would love to hear from anyone who wants to help! Feel free to get in touch, and of course, if any of you ever find yourselves in my neck of the woods, I expect to be hit up for wine and party times!