“‘Meraki’ means to have the enthusiasm and love for what you do in life” – Frixos Stavridis by Life Treasure Collector
Mr Frixos Stavridis is the Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Papafio Graduates “Melitefs”, in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Mr Frixos Stavridis and the Orchestra Melitefs took part in a play about the history of the city of Thessaloniki. They are all retired graduates of the Papafio child care centre in Thessaloniki, which has a great history itself.
He talks about his unique experience in taking part in something that he never imagined he would ever be asked to do in his life. He believes that when rehearsing and work on something you really love, like music is for him, the success will follow at any stage of your life.
“I am the Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Papafio Graduates since 1980. I replaced our great teacher Emmanouel Ekaterinis.
This was the first time I took part in a theater play with the National Theater of Northern Greece. I could never imagine that after all these years, I would have this incredible opportunity to go on stage and play music with the Orchestra with all these incredible team of actors and dancers. The play is around the history of our city Thessaloniki. It is something very unique, something new and fresh and the result is amazing. And this is mainly because the whole team of actors and dancers and anyone involved, is incredible to work with as they give the best they have. This harmonic collaboration among all the people participating in the play is the guarantee for success and perfection.
The fact that we were asked to play music at this play was merely due to luck. The Orchestras of the Police and the Army were quite busy with various events. So they asked our orchestra Melitefs of the Papafio Child Care Centre to do it. We are all graduates of Papafio and most of us are now retired so it was easy for us to be there playing music every night. You never know what opportunity lies around the corner for you!
The reality is that you have to be persistent and practice and work hard if you want to see good results in whatever you do. This was the first time there was a live Symphony Orchestra playing on stage and the results were incredible. The comments and the expressions from the audience were very positive. They call it as the best play of the last few years. How incredible is this? We always get very positive comments from the audience. This can only make us happy and satisfied when we see the people who leave the theatre with a smile and enthusiasm at the end of the night. And this is the best satisfaction that we can ever get.
Every day we can’t wait to go back to the theatre and work on stage again. The play is at 8.00 at night and I start getting ready from 5.00 in the early evening. I have a coffee and I go straight to the theatre to start getting ready for the night. This can only show the amount of our enthusiasm for what we do.
To tell the truth we were a bit cautious to start with as we never did anything similar before. You don’t know much about playing on stage or what will happen. Then you have to be very consistent and pay attention to the detail. Every second counts. You have to be very good and lead the orchestra in perfection the second after the actor finishes his line. We did a few mistakes in the rehearsals but in the opening we felt the result was perfect. And the success continued. It is so encouraging to see the enthusiasm in the eyes of the audience. Imagine that we had to extent the dates of the play 3 times.
This play was a great experience for all of us. 5 years ago we went to Malta to play music, where the memorial of our greatest benefactor Papafis lies. We played in a concert there where the whole Government of Malta attended. This was another great experience we had as an Orchestra. Very different one but wonderful as well. The next day after the concert all the Maltese press was talking about us and our music.
It makes us sad that the play came to an end. We will miss everyone involved. We became like a family throughout the months. A real family. This is the other incredible thing with the job we do! The connection between you and your colleagues.
For anyone that would like to get involved and work within Arts, I would like to say that the first thing you need to consider is your Love for what you want to do. Your love and your willingness to work hard are the two most important ingredients in Art. In Greece we call it Meraki, and this means to have the enthusiasm and love to engage with something you want to do, something you have in your heart, and want to succeed. Believe in what you do, work hard, accept the fact that there will be negative as well as positive criticism but this should never put you off and rehearse again and again and again before you go on stage. Then you will succeed! Every second, every detail counts and success will follow you afterwards.
We need to show interest in what we do before others show their interest in our work. In the beginning you may feel cautious and hesitant and doubtful perhaps for your performance, but good practice in your work and your love for it will move you from there to feeling grateful, enthusiastic and happy when your work is complete! And this is the most wonderful thing!”