LAS VEGAS—The Las Vegas Armenian-American community and local government representatives gathered at the Clark County Library Theater on Sept. 24 to celebrate the independence of Armenia. The evening, with over 400 in attendance, highlighted both the history and the culture of the Armenian nation, as well as the strength and unity of Armenians in the Diaspora.
Hosted by Joseph Djavairian and Grisha Sandalyan, the celebration commenced with a colorful procession by the Las Vegas “Artsakh” Homenetmen Scouts with national anthems sung by Naree Asherian. Very Reverend Father Sassoon Zumrookhdian of the Western Diocese, Very Reverend Father Torkom Donoyan of the Western Prelacy, and Pastor Sam Agulian of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Las Vegas blessed the celebration with a prayer and remarks encouraging the community to be active both in the Diaspora as well as the Armenian homeland. Also present were representatives of the Nevada consular corps.
The cultural program included violin and piano performances by Elizabeth Bedrosian and Levon Aghadjanian. The Saint Geragos Church Seta Tajirian Saturday School students and the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) “Shoushi” Chapter Verjine Koujakian Saturday School students sang songs and recited poems demonstrating the strength and determination of the Armenian youth. Sixty dancers of both the Armenian Dance School of Las Vegas and the Armenian Dance Academy of Las Vegas highlighted the national dances celebrated despite generations of war, genocide, and efforts to overcome such hardships. Directors of both dance groups, Izabel Martirosyan and Gohar Markarian, were presented with certificates of gratitude presented by Danny Tarkanian and Sarkis Kotanjian on behalf of Hranoush Hakobyan, Republic of Armenia Minister of Diaspora.
Special guests included Grisha Asatryan, grandson of Armenian singer Aram Asatryan; professional rhythmic gymnast Silvia Hayrapetyan; and ballroom dancer Jolene Yeghiayan.
The evening concluded with closing remarks by Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Las Vegas Andy Armenian, who emphasized the continuous growth of the Armenian community in Las Vegas and each audience member’s civic duty both in Nevada and in Armenia and Artsakh.