THE OFFICIAL EUROVISION FAN NETWORK OF AUSTRALIA

MEET THE COMMITTEE

CHRISTOPHER DEAN (VIC) - PRESIDENT

 

Another year has passed us by, which mean we have a new OGAE Australia committee to introduce. I am very proud to continue as President for another year, and lead this wonderful team of beautiful people into 2021.

My interest in Eurovision escalated around 2011, after knowing it existed for a very long time. I was never really one to turn on the telly, but having an interest in the pop charts, always caught most of the winners. It was 2011 when I actually sat down to watch a full contest, which could put me in the late bloomer category given my age. But even then, I was never really die-hard. I mean, I didn’t even know there were a whole stack of others songs in the running that didn’t qualify back then.

In 2014, after meeting my partner, things got serious. We had a group of friends over, laid out some “international” food, and were ready to pick our winners. And what an exciting year to get serious in, with Conchita Wurst winning the contest! You really couldn’t top it. Well, in 2015 it was topped, with the announcement of Guy Sebastian representing Australia. A little fan club known as OGAE Australia was formed, and soon I was part of a great community of Eurovision-loving friends.

I joined the OGAE Australia committee in 2018, helping the club to grow significantly into one of the most diverse, popular and engaging OGAE clubs in the world. Our positive reputation grew even more with a large committee presence in Tel Aviv for the 2019 Eurovision Contest, myself included. Here, I was able to see first hand what it was to be a huge fan of the contest, and what it was to host a grand after party.

My first year as President of OGAE Australia brought with it many challenges. There was a lot to learn, and a great responsibility to hold. Mistakes were made, but a greater education resulted. In the end, I earned a respect I had never experienced before, not just from the committee itself, but from the club members, too.

And then 2020 hit – and it was quite a treat, right? Well, maybe not in general (I have forgotten what the meaning of “work” is) but there were some gains as we all quickly adapted to a most extraordinary situation. I have been able to help move club content to an online format for our widespread membership to enjoy. I have spent countless hours at the video editing table putting just the right clips together for our virtual parties. And I’ve helped create some crazy contests for our members to enjoy.

And so, what’s in store for the year ahead? As was my plan last year before “you-know-what” arrived, I want to put the spotlight on our members. Give our members chances to shine in ways they never thought they would, be it as a guest on radio, interviewing Eurovision artists, writing articles, singing live at a shopping centre, or even guest programming their favourite songs.

But most importantly, I hope to continue supporting fairness, genuine care, and a safe environment that makes everyone feel at home within OGAE Australia.

DANIE TREGONNING (VIC) - VICE PRESIDENT

Hi everyone, it’s a pleasure and an honour to be your Vice President for another term!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a freelance artist who used to work in big department store retail before I retired in 2012 due to chronic illness. When we’re allowed to see each other in person again, you’ll find me (and my Euro Sticks) ready for a chat and a laugh over a good non-alcoholic beverage.

2007 was the first Eurovision I watched all the way through and Push The Button by the Teapacks sold me on the whole concept in three minutes. Yeah, I know, strange choice.

I randomly found ESCFAN (my people) in 2016 and for the last 4 years I have co-hosted a podcast about the contest and been a YouTube reactor since 2019 so every day is a Eurovision day, just the way it should be.

When I am not completely in Eurovision mode, I’m in my home studio drawing and painting, hanging out with our cats, catching up on the lasted episode of some science fiction show, and tweeting about The Bold and the Beautiful.

RICKY LI (VIC) - TREASURER

Hi everyone. For those who don’t know me, I’m the "other" Ricky Li (the not so young diva) 😂. I’ve been a member of this club for a little over 2 years now and it’s a honour to be elected to represent you as your treasurer for OGAE Australia. I might not be as tenured or vocal on social media, but nevertheless, I’m passionate in bringing you all a good year of fun and entertainment, either in person or virtually.

I was born in Hong Kong and migrated to Australia when I was 10. I didn’t speak a word of English when I first came over, and making friends at a private catholic boy school was tough, so Eurovision is especially appealing to me as it is about coming together and celebrating differences through music. I can speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese fluently, and now learning Auslan - not that it’s any use for Eurovision 😂

It was Jedwood who ignited my passion in Eurovision. The music, the campy moments, the controversy, the vast difference in culture, the history. Prior to Eurovision I could barely name any European countries, but now I can point to the map where the 40 something participating countries are at and tell you why Cyprus and Greece will always give 12 points to each other 😜

Going to Tel Aviv for Eurovision for the first time was a dream come true, and hopefully I can go again in the near future when travel is allowed, to once again help the club with more events and gatherings.

Outside of Eurovision, I’m a big geeky gamer. I spend my spare time playing video games or watching Anime with my dog, Olly, sleeping on my lap (by the way, Olly is way more famous than I am on Instagram and has a big fan following his daily calendar post).

I have a background in graphic design and 3D animation but I work in retail for a big tech company. I do a lot of different things at work that gives me experience with Event Management, managing/leading teams, AV setup, and customer service.

But enough about me, this club is about you - the members. I’m keen to get to know you folks better, and hope we can chat in person in one of our next events or gatherings soon. Even a little dance and boogie to our Eurovision favourite tunes.

KURTIS CARTER (NSW) - SECRETARY

Hello my Eurovision family! It is me, again, Kurtis Carter, better known as Miss Courtesy Act (who has been on a forced hiatus since February). I have been very lucky to have been re-elected as Secretary of OGAE Australia. I have been one of the longest serving committee members on the current committee, being previously part of four committees, and being elected 3 times consecutively as Secretary (hey, I must be doing something right then aha). But alas have been again overtaken for the title of ‘The Youngest’ by Lachlan.

I am very proud to be part of a committee that prides itself on transparency, integrity, inclusivity, positivity and just being nice, kind and caring people. That there is always someone to talk to, and I hope that fellow Committee members and our members feel as if they can also approach me as someone to talk to. Our club is not just an organisation, but it is a community, a family. During this current situation, I have been so overwhelmed by the support members have shown towards each other. With club members donating so that other members can continue to stay members.

So, here is a little bit of updated information about me: I am technically still at uni studying a Bachelor of Arts with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) majoring in Japanese, Modern History and International Relations. But I have recently taken on a new role as a Japanese teacher at a Sports High School near Newcastle, NSW while finishing off a little bit of my history teaching requirements needed to graduate (it’s a long story).

If you didn’t know by now, I love to sing (and lipsync), having been on all editions of our fabulous and well-known lipsync festivalen/competitions. I have also had a hand at our Home Concerts, organised by the amazing Christopher Dean (and Ricky). I love to travel (when I can) and I love music. In my local area for karaoke (before COVID), I was known as the one who sings very dramatic and over the top songs in different languages, in other words - Eurovision. This love of languages, music and performing has translated well into my love of both Eurovision and KPOP - 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 – when I was 15 (but knew about the contest earlier, for example my dance teacher was a back-up dancer for Germany in 2009). I 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 us 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 attended Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv and again in 2018 in Lisbon. 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 intended to go to Rotterdam this year, but you know, things happened aha.

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 coordinator 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 Junior Eurovision (among other things). However, I was able to go to Junior Eurovision in 2019 in Poland, representing not only the club but also Australia, being the only Australian journalist (other than the broadcaster – ABCMe). I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with fellow Eurofans, Press, Heads of Delegations and the artists. I am hoping to continue to contribute to the club, helping us continue to grow, evolve and improve.

Over the years on Committee, I have seen enormous improvements made and I would again just like to thank all the previous Committee members and members who have dedicated time to the club and have helped us to nurture and grow it. I am very much looking forward to the year ahead with our wonderful newly formed Committee.

ROWAN QUIGLEY (VIC) – ORDINARY COMMITTEE MEMBER

Hi all. I'm Rowan, one of the new committee members for OGAE Australia!

A little bit about me: Born on the Central Coast in NSW just after Ireland's winning streak. (Ireland hasn't won since, I hope I'm not to blame.)

My music tastes normally lean towards those of Rock, especially during the 1970s but my love of Europop and KPop has allowed me to enjoy Eurovision just as much.

My hobbies include collecting vinyl records, old computers and video game memorabilia. (I hope this doesn't sound like a dating profile.)

I spend far too much time in front of a computer due to my work and as such have a basic grasp on most technology which I hope to provide expertise in for the club.

A little bit about my Eurovision Journey: I experienced my first Eurovision in 2009 watching with my parents.

Moving to the Melbourne area in 2010, I was keen to follow the contest every year afterwards.

When Australia entered the contest in 2015, I started watching all events live (Got to vote!) and have continued since.

Joining the fan club in May 2016, I was finally able to talk about the contest will like minded people as I sadly don't have any friends who are interested in the contest.

I've attended the past two Eurovision Australia Decides events and have attended two Preview Parties in Melbourne and a trivia night.

This year was to be my first Eurovision in attendance and am as disappointed as anyone in not being able to attend in Rotterdam. I hope the next opportunity arises soon!

Joining the fan club and attending events has helped me out of my shell, I'm an introvert at nature but have been able to open up more with fellow members and I appreciate and thank the club members for the opportunity to do so, considering I'm a minority in these parts.

I look forward to getting to know more members over my term and hope we endure the ongoing pandemic with our love of Eurovision. Take care, Rowan

LACHLAN WOODS (NSW) – ORDINARY COMMITTEE MEMBER

Hello there! My name is Lachlan Woods, and I am delighted to be an Ordinary Committee Member for OGAE Australia.

I fell in love with Eurovision at a very young age. I first watched it in 2009 and fell in love with Inga & Anush dancing the Jan-Jan, Hadise belly dancing, and Alexander Rybak fiddling along to a Fairytale win. Since then, I have religiously followed the contest ever since, leading up to joining OGAE Australia in 2018. 2020 was meant to be the first time I went to Eurovision in person, but of course things were not meant to be for all of us. My fingers are crossed (tightly!) that us poor Australians will be able to travel to Rotterdam in 2021!

I can’t decide what my favourite song from Eurovision is, but it’s a toss-up between Loreen’s Euphoria - because it will always be a banger! - and Céline Dion’s Ne partez pas sans moi. However, my favourite moment would have to be seeing Duncan Laurence win for The Netherlands – as someone with Dutch heritage, it was amazing to see The Netherlands actually win the whole thing in my lifetime.

Outside of Eurovision, I am currently in my final semester of a double degree in Law and Communications (Social and Political Sciences) at the University of Technology Sydney. I play field hockey with the Sydney Bentstix, can play the trumpet and piano, and also did community musical theatre and Schools Spectacular back in high school, which means I can sing (apparently).

I am excited to serve on the committee of OGAE Australia, a club that provided me with a place where I can geek out over a contest that brings people together, regardless of their background and life experiences. I hope to bring a future-focused and fresh perspective to the organisation (especially as the baby of the committee at the moment!) and a helping hand to make sure that this organisation serves all its members and its purpose. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! See you around!

MARK PERKINS (VIC) – ORDINARY COMMITTEE MEMBER

Hello Eurofans of Australia. My name is Mark Perkins. This year (2020/2021) is my first time on the OGAE Australia committee but not my first rodeo in the fan club. I’ve been among you for many years embracing the great community we have established together. For the last 2+ years I’ve been helping out previous committees here and there; primarily filming events and assisting with logistics on the ground. I particularly love taking part in the club’s online events and am a big advocate for creative endeavours such as LipSyncFestivalen and So You Think You Can Eurovision.

I came across Eurovision around 2003/2004 but didn’t watch a full contest until 2007. I immediately loved the competitive nature of it all and the fact that dozens of European countries took part. The music, staging, diversity and yes, even the campness of some acts had me hooked. This is pretty significant as I’m generally not a music aficionado; far from it. Outside of Eurovision I’m pretty useless at identifying who sings what.

Around the same time as I joined OGAE Australia I also started a Eurovision podcast (with partner, Vice-President Danie Tregonning) called Wind Machine Podcast. It’s still chugging along after 4+ years.

OGAE Australia has introduced me to a great number of people who I now consider good friends. I want to pay that forward and help introduce new people to the club who can then discover new friends through the love of Eurovision.

I am here to listen. To work for and with you. To help celebrate the fun of Eurovision together.

FLEUR MENEZES (VIC) – ORDINARY COMMITTEE MEMBER

(profile coming soon)