By Krikor Pidedjian
As long as God gives human beings the strength and capability to work—and thereby, provide for their families and their families’ required needs for a pleasant life—along with possibilities and a special awareness of helping or sharing his bread with needy compatriots, I would ask from these fortunate and blessed people to help our needy musicians and musicologists, old and young, this year too.
Dear readers, these scholars, artists, and those who are studying to become the future torchbearers of our musical culture are neither lazy nor beggars. They are like you and me, people with dignity, who zealously try to preserve our musical culture. The only misfortune is that they’ve become the victims of the sad reality of our fatherland’s miserable situation. These are people who have not benefitted from our big organizations and telethons.
When I mention old musicians and musicologists, these are the professors who are living their twilight years, who dedicated their entire lives to educating new generations of musicians. Due to their efforts and sacrifices, today’s Armenian musical culture is alive and vivid. The Gomidas Conservatory’s deans, professors, instructors, and teachers have been the students of these professors.
On the list of my young and needy musicians are families that husbands have abandoned. For the moment, put yourselves in the shoes of the mothers. These mothers are musicians. One is a composer and pianist with a teenage daughter, and the other is a singer and pianist with a son who is serving in the army. Both mothers teach a few hours a week in the conservatory. For their service, they receive a meager salary, on which it is impossible to live.
I would like to tell the respected readers of a very moving incident that happened last year. When my wife and I were in Armenia and we made an appointment with the above-mentioned singer and pianist mother to give her monetary help, she told me, “Mr. Pidedjian, God sent me the help of this gentleman. You cannot imagine how much I am thankful to the sender of this help. Early this morning I received a telephone call from the army telling me that my son is sick with pneumonia and that he had been transferred to our neighborhood hospital. This way all the caring will fall on my shoulders. While I was agitated and confused the telephone rang and here you were on the other end of the telephone. With this help, I will buy a bed sheet, pillow and cover, and underwear for my son and run to the hospital.”
Yes dear friends, this is the situation of the Armenian soldier’s parents. When a soldier gets sick, the obligation of taking care of him becomes the duty of the parents. In these public hospitals, which I have visited, the family must provide drinking water and food as well.
Therefore, as I said last year in my article, your monetary help returns to you as a blessing. For somebody who reaches out and helps the needy, there is no higher spiritual reward and satisfaction than this.
A well-known scholar, whose name I will not mention out of respect for his modesty, a really noble Armenian Ph.D. and professor, had sent me a check to help the daughter of one our most famous kousans of the twentieth century, Kousan Ashot. She was carrying the burden of her son’s family with young children on her shoulders due to the untimely death of her son. With her and her daughter-in-law’s meager incomes, they were barely surviving.
When I called their home, the daughter-in-law told me of the passing of Kousan Ashot’s daughter. Nonetheless, I made an appointment and my wife and I met her in a park and gave her the monetary help of the professor. Suppressing my emotions, I promised to continue this year too. This noble professor wrote in his note, “Mr. Pidedjian, I commend your dedication and I ask you to give this small gift to our precious troubadour Ashot…” For me, the most precious word of the lines was the word “precious.” With that word, the professor showed the effect of the art of the troubadour Ashot on Armenian souls. With his gift, the professor expressed his gratitude to the troubadour’s family.
Why don’t all Armenians think like the professor? Your help would also go to four parentless orphan female students of the Gomidas Conservatory.
Dear compatriots, this is the fourth year of this mission for me and my wife. We will go to Armenia at the very beginning of September. This year too, as in the past, I wish to thank the editorial board of this publication for printing my article and allowing my plea to reach the readers.
I ask all of you to help our needy musicians and musicologists. They are our pride. They must live as humanely as possible. The reader must know that the person who receives help must give me his or her “thank you” note with the mentioned amount, the date of receipt, and signature. When I return to the United States, I will mail this thank you note to the donor.
I would like to finish with the following Biblical prescription: “He who gives to the poor, gives to God.”
Please send your heartfelt donations to:
72 Pilgrim Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10710
For more information, please call (914) 793-0913.
Krikor Pidedjian is a member of Armenia’s Union of Composers and Musicologists.