The Knights and Daughters of Vartan recently announced the 2014 recipients of the Man of the Year and the newly established Woman of the Year awards, which will be presented at the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Grand Banquet on Sat., July 5, as part of their national convocation at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego. Both honorees will be in attendance.
‘Man of the Year’: Congressman Adam B. Schiff
The national leadership of the Knights of Vartan has selected the Honorable Congressman Adam Schiff as the 2014 Man of the Year. Schiff is one of the most influential and Armenian-friendly U.S. Congressmen in Washington. “His track record on Armenian issues, including assistance to Armenia and Karabagh; his honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide and sponsoring resolution for the recognition of the genocide; and his calling on the Republic of Turkey to end all religious persecution and return of stolen Christian Church properties, were the reasons that the Knights of Vartan Brotherhood voted to make Congressman Schiff the winner of the 2014 Man of the Year humanitarian award,” said the Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan, Nighohos Atinizian.
Adam Bennett Schiff was born in 1960 in Framingham, Mass., to a traditional Jewish family. He received a political science degree from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Schiff went on to distinguish himself in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles before winning election to the California State Senate, where he served a four-year term. While State Senator, he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Joint Committee on the Arts, and the Senate Select Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Schiff is the U.S. House Representative for California’s 28th Congressional District and has served in Congress since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party. In 2007, he became a member of the House Appropriations Committee and also served on the House International Relations Committee for six years. Schiff is a long-time member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
The Knights of Vartan applaud Congressman Schiff for his strength of character, his convictions, and his actions in support of Armenian people throughout the world.
‘Woman of the Year’: Lucine Amara
The national leadership of the Daughters of Vartan has selected legendary soprano Lucine Amara as the inaugural recipient of the Daughters of Vartan Woman of the Year award. Widely considered one of the greatest sopranos of the 20th century, Amara is an American success story. Her name has become synonymous with the Metropolitan Opera.
She was born Lucine Armaganian in Hartford, Conn., before moving to San Francisco, where she grew up and trained as a vocalist. After only one year of voice training, she was accepted in the San Francisco Opera Chorus as a contralto. Three years later, she became a dramatic soprano singing the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos and Lady Billows in the opera “Albert Herring.”
Shortly thereafter, Amara joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, singing 882 onstage performances, 5 opening nights, 9 new productions, 57 radio broadcasts and, incredibly, 56 roles. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the “Voice from Heaven” in Verdi’s “Don Carlos” and appeared regularly as Micaëla in “Carmen,” as Cio-Cio-San in “Madame Butterfly,” and Tatiana in “Eugene Onegin,” Antonia in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Nedda in “Pagliacci,” and Mimi in “La Bohème.” Her repertoire also included Leonora in “Il Trovatore,” as well as Aida.
Amara appeared in the 1951 MGM film “The Great Caruso” with Mario Lanza and has made various recordings, including “Pagliacci” with Franco Corelli and Richard Tucker. Her credits are immense: She has performed in 33 opera houses and with 25 symphony orchestras throughout the United States.
The national chair (Grand Matron) of the Daughters of Vartan, Lisa Kradjian, said the feeling was unanimous among the national officers. “There are, of course, many remarkable Armenian women serving our community today, but we felt that for the first recipient of this award, no other Armenian woman has graced this world with more accomplishment, artistry, spirit, and service for her people than Lucine Amara.”
Starting in 2014, the Daughters of Vartan Woman of the Year award will be given annually to a woman who has served Armenian people and heritage with excellence, just as the Knights of Vartan have similarly honored a Man of the Year.
For more information about the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, visit http://www.knightsofvartan.org, or their pages on Facebook and Twitter.
The Grand Banquet and Man and Woman of the Year awards are part of the Grand Convocation of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, which occurs in a different city each year and welcomes hundreds of members and patrons from across the country. This year’s convocation is being presented by the San Diego chapters of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, One Market Place, San Diego. The banquet is open to the public. For tickets and more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 742-2719.