Merrimack Valley to Host Genocide Commemoration Program Sept. 20

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—A commemoration bearing the theme, “Weaving Armenia’s Story through Music” will take place Sun., Sept. 20, at 3 p.m. at North Andover High School.

Haigaram Hovsepian
Haigaram Hovsepian

The Centennial observance is being sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Merrimack Valley, and is expected to draw a large number of patrons.

Highlighting the program will be young violin virtuoso Haig Aram Hovsepian, accompanied on the piano by his mom Ani, featuring popular and classical favorites.

The main speaker will be Dr. Henry C. Theriault, a professor in and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Worcester State University.

Winners of a student essay contest will read their papers. Students in various schools were asked to address the subject of what the Armenian Genocide Centennial means to them. Monetary prizes will be distributed that afternoon.

Noted radio personality Janet Jeghelian will serve as mistress of ceremonies.

A synopsis of genocide education throughout the schools and libraries of Merrimack Valley will be presented by Dr. Ara Jeknavorian and Tom Vartabedian, members of the Armenian Genocide Education Committee of Merrimack Valley. Visits were made to more than 15 institutions, drawing a host of positive feedback.

A reception will follow. There is no admission charge.

Net proceeds raised through voluntary contributions and program ads will go toward worthy Armenian causes. Since the group’s inception more than two decades ago, some $75,000 has been donated to charitable encounters in Armenia as well as in the United States.

“In what has been a significant milestone in our history, Merrimack Valley remains at the forefront of genocide education and the culture and history which surrounds it,” said Sossy Jeknavorian, committee chairwoman. “We involve the youth and just recently saw the end of a survivor legacy in our midst with the passing of Nellie Nazarian. It is to them—our survivors as well as the persecuted victims of 1915—that we owe this debt of allegiance. Future generations have kept the momentum going in our community. For that, we remain grateful.”

Fresh off an exhilarating debut with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, Haig has been impressing listeners since the age of 4. He is currently a junior at Belmont High School and studies at the New England Conservatory of Music.

He is also an avid saxophonist and a member of the high school Wind Ensemble as well as the prize-winning Jazz Collaborative. Two years ago, Haig won the Armenian Youth Talent Music Competition, which resulted in a performance at Carnegie Hall. This year, he became a finalist in the highly prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competitions with the Waltham Philharmonic and Belmont High.

Ani Hovsepian is her son’s favorite accompanist. Together, they serve as the perfect complement. She studied at the Komitas (Armenia) and St. Petersburg (Russia) state conservatories, as well as at Brandeis University (Waltham). She holds separate graduate degrees in performance, education, music, history and art criticism.

Throughout her distinguished career, she’s appeared in piano and ensemble performances in Armenia, the former Soviet Union, and the United States, including with the Komitas Choral Society of Greater Boston.

Dr. Theriault is in his 17th year of teaching. He coordinated the university’s Center for the Study of Human Rights. He has published numerous journals, articles, and chapter on genocide studies and has earned an honorable reputation among great scholars of the Armenian Genocide and human rights.

He chaired the Armenian Genocide Reparations Studies Group and co-authored its March 2015 final report. Theriault has traveled the world, speaking on behalf of Armenians and looks forward to his visit in Merrimack Valley with great anticipation.

Jeghelian is well known to the Massachusetts Armenian community as a Boston talk show hostess, a political candidate for U.S. Senate, and lieutenant governor. She’s been a 35-year member of the choir at St. Stephen’s Church.

For the past 20 years, she has worked as a physical therapist and rehabilitation department director at the Stone Institute in Boston. Over the years, she has been extremely involved in a number of Armenian-American causes, which includes the nursing home in Jamaica Plain and the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association. She has been a member of the Erevan Choral Society of Greater Boston for the past 20 years.

North Andover High School is located at 430 Osgood St., off Route 125. The public is invited to attend.

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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