NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—Music through the ages will be the focal point of a 98th memorial observance marking Armenian Martyrs’ Day April 28 in Merrimack Valley.
Titled, “Weaving Armenia’s Story Through Music,” the program will be enriched by three gifted New England soloists: soprano Knarik Nerkararyan, mezzo soprano Victoria Avetisyan and tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan, accompanied by pianist Levon Hovsepian.
The commemoration will take place at 3 p.m. in North Andover High School, marked by a memorial service concelebrated by pastors from different churches throughout Merrimack Valley, accompanied by a combined choir led by Paul Ketchoyian, accompanied by Arsen Russian.
Admission is complimentary and open to the public. A reception will follow in the school cafeteria.
“We’re very fortunate to have attracted three of the more prominent singers anywhere,” said Sossy Jeknavorian, chairman, Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Merrimack Valley. “What better way to tell Armenia’s fabled history than through music and song. Our story knows no lyrical boundaries.”
Winners of a student essay contest will be presented with awards after reading their papers. A visual update will be offered for a $35,000 genocide memorial planned for Lowell. The project is being cultivated through donations from surrounding communities.
“Through voluntary contributions, more than $70,000 has been donated to worthy charities in Armenia,” replied Jeknavorian. “This remains a tribute to the members who have served this committee over the past two decades. It isn’t often you see an event attended by four generations.”
An appearance by Nellie Nazarian as the lone remaining survivor in Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire is expected to highlight the moment. The 102-year-old Methuen resident has attended previous commemorations and has outlived all her peers.
Nerkararyan is choir director of St. Gregory Church in North Andover. More recently, she gained rave reviews for her role of Kupava in the Rimsky-Korsakov opera “The Snow Maiden” with the Lowell Opera Company.
Avetisyan has also built up an impressive resume with performances throughout the world. She made her debut with the Boston Lyric Opera Company, appeared solo at Carnegie Hall, and with the Boston Symphony as soloist for Verdi’s “Requiem.”
Manucharyan more recently reformed Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” with the Charlotte Symphony, following an appearance with the Metropolitan Opera Society where he sang the new production of “Armida” with diva Renee Fleming. His Carnegie Hall debut was with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena.”
Hovsepian performs actively and teaches piano at the Powers Music School in Belmont and Keys for Kids in Lexington. He has appeared with the New England Philharmonic and taught masters classes at La Corunia Music in Spain.
Communities in Greater Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell will commemorate the Genocide throughout the week with proclamation signings, meetings and flag-raising ceremonies with their respective city legislators.