Detroit Celebrates ARS Centennial

Culminating Detroit’s three-year Armenian Relief Society (ARS) centennial celebrations, the five area ARS chapters—Zabel, Maro, Sybille, Shakeh, and Tsolig—and the ARS Mid Council of Detroit hosted an elegant dinner-dance on Sat., Sept. 18 at the Farmington Hills Manor in Farmington Hills, Mich.

A scene from the celebration.

The lobby of the Manor was adorned with old and new photographs and picture boards highlighting the many humanitarian and educational projects sponsored by the five chapters over the years. The display depicted the Armenian earthquake relief efforts, the ARS Zavarian Armenian School, Walk Armenia Walkathon, American Red Cross Blood Drive, Bone Marrow Registry Drive, and many other activities where chapter members worked to meet the needs of Armenians at home and abroad.

The program booklet, entitled “100 Years of Devoted Service: With the people, for the people,” included the history of the ARS from its inception in 1910 to the present, along with brief descriptions of each Detroit chapter, with many pages remembering and honoring past and present ARS members.

Following the welcoming address by Jill Dolik, co-chair of the Centennial Committee, the American and Armenian national anthems were sung by Sona Mishigian and Mary Afetian-George, and accompanied on the keyboard by Hmayag Hovhannesyan. This was followed by the singing of the ARS anthem.

Invited to bless the table was Bishop Anoushavan Tanieliean, vicar general of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America. Area clergy in attendance were Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, and Msgr. Andon Atamian, pastor of St. Vartan Armenian Catholic Church. Also in attendance were Hayg Oshagan, ARF Bureau member, and Shakeh Basmajian, ARS Central Executive member.

Adiss Harmandian

After the dinner, a short video, entitled “100 Years of Service,” was shown, presenting a history of the ARS and its international humanitarian work. It was narrated by Muriel Parseghian, ARS Eastern Region chairperson.

Keynote speeches were given in English and Armenian by Dolik and Ani Attar, a member of the ARS Eastern Region Executive, respectively.

The entertainment for the centennial celebration was headlined by internationally renowned singer Adiss Harmandian who, together with his band, excited the crowd with songs from his repertoire spanning more than 40 years. The crowd of 250 included a large number of youth who had come to hear the legendary singer.

Additional entertainment was provided by the Detroit Johnites with superb violinist Harry Hovakimian.

The ARS Centennial Committee of Detroit worked diligently to prepare for this successful celebration. Proceeds from the event went to the ARS Zavarian Armenian One-Day School. Committee members included Ani Attar, Sirvart Telbelian, Sona Mishigian, Krista Haroutunian, Alice Pilibosian, Helen Darakdjian, Lara Nercessian, Annette Cholakian, Jill Dolik, Seran Tcholakian, Ani Pilibosian, Tamitza Dakessian, Silva Sagherian, Yrgn. Sosi Stepanian, Hermine Manoogian, Mireille Basmajian, and Seta Bedirian.

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