As you would expect, there can be no Annual Conference without the gala evening to provide a fitting ending to the competitions and the other work of the conference. The Lazar Tanev school kept to this tradition, but also had to meet the formidable challenge of transfering the 600-odd participants from Ohrid to the capital city, Skopje.
The large conference hall of Skopje’s Alexandar Palace hotel was eminently suited to this gala evening held on October 12th. And there was one thing that everyone had to do: wear something that was silver and blue.
The evening’s programme was very full, there was a banquet menu, and as a prelude a French sparkling wine was served as an apéritif. The beautifully laid tables at which places had been allocated by the local organisers gave rise to some amusing searches by their guests for one evening, until everyone was finally seated.
On the platform the lovely Emilija Nikolovska and her partner Vojislav Zdravkovikj provided the announcements throughout the evening, and it was Mr Koce Trajanovski, the mayor of Skopje, who addressed the throng to welcome everyone, while emphasizing that the Skopje city council provided generous support to such events. ‘I am happy to see you, it is an honour to have you as our guests, and I hope the rest of your stay is pleasant’.
The Jonche Hristovski folk dance ensemble then gave its performance, to the great joy of the audience who much appreciated the display given by young dancers, aged around 10.
Next, in the presence of Mrs Elizabeta Todorovska, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Science of Macedonia, came the first series of medals awarded for the culinary arts, pastry, restaurant and wine service and cocktail competitions. Because of the much larger number of medals awarded, the platform was very quickly overcrowded! An in front of the platform, the throng of supporters …
The students from the Naum Naumovski Borce higher education institute performed a medley of French songs before clearing the stage for a second wave of medal awards for the Barista, Tourist Destination, Reception and Management competitions.
On behalf of the Lazar Tanev school of which he is director, Zoran Nikolovski then took great pleasure in inviting to the platform all the judges and sponsors to thank them for all their work by handing them a well-deserved certificate!
Then the show continued with another ‘Ialiana-Severina’ interlude performed by a group of students from the Lazar Tanev school, followed by another hip-hop group, again from the Lazar Tanev school. Then Klaus Enengl spoke to the assembled participants, saying that Macedonia is on the steps leading to the European Union which had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; and turning to Zoran he said that the all participants had had a wonderful evening as well as a wonderful week in Macedonia; he then presented Zoran with a gift, and hoped that he would see everyone again next year. Then picking up a guitar, Klaus Enengl gave a rendering of ‘We are the world’, as the delighted audience joined in.
Zoran Nikolovski gave him a present of a guitar…in imitation wood and containing some fine bottles of Macedonian wine and also a present for Nadine Schintgen.
Then came the solemn moment when the AEHT flag was handed over from Macedonia to the AEHT which, exceptionally will be the organiser of the 26th Annual Conference on board the MS Costa-Luminosa next November.
It was midnight and the musicians of the ‘Fortuna’ orchestra who had provided the background music throughout the evening, now played as the participants made their way to the doors.