WORCESTER, Mass.—The Greater Worcester Armenian Chorale presented its annual special Christmas concert last month in the Sanctuary of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. The program consisted of Christmas carols and songs in Armenian and English. The Chorale is under the direction of Maestro Konstantin Petrossian, Artistic Director and Conductor, with organ accompaniment by Mari Panosian.
The guest soloist was Mezzo-Soprano Gohar Manjelikian (nee Khandanyan), a native of Yerevan, Armenia, who began her singing career in 1981 as a member of Armenia’s State Academic Chorus. She graduated in 1986 from the Arno Babajanian School of Music and completed her requirements for a master’s degree in Voice Proficiency at the Gomidas State Conservatory of Yerevan 1993. She has performed with various theater groups as a leading player and soloist, becoming a member of Armenia’s State Symphony Orchestra Chorus as a soloist until December 1995 upon coming to the US, singing in many Armenian evangelical, apostolic and Catholic churches, American churches and Jewish synagogues as well as appearing in several concerts throughout the country. In 1997 Gohar participated in the New Jersey Verismo Opera Society voice competition and sang as a soloist during their gala performance concert. Her extensive repertoire includes a wide range of European, Russian and Armenian operas, classic, romantic and sacred music. She lives in Cranston, Rhode Island and is married to Rev. Hagop Manjelikian, Pastor Emeritus of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Cranston, RI.
A reception and fellowship provided by the Chorale preceded the concert and included a lecture presented by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Worcester Chapter: The Armenian Legionnaires – Sacrifice And Betrayal In World War I by Dr. Susan Pattie, Honorary Senior Research Associate, University College in London, England.
The traditional carol Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, beautifully performed by the Chorale, opened the concert followed by Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Ave Maria (by 16th century Italian composer Giulio Caccini), Winter Wonderland, Carol Of The Bells and Silent Night. Armenian songs included the following: Park Ee Partzoons (Gloria In Excelsis) by Movses Kertogh from the sixth century; Ov Zamamanalee (How Wondrous) by Grigor Pahlavuni from the 12th century with solo by Deacon Vazken Yaghmourian; Aysor Dzaynum Hayragan (Today, The Paternal Voice) by Hovhaness Yerzngatsi from the 13th century. The Chorale also presented its signature piece, Yegeghetsin Haygagan (The Armenian Church) by Vahan Bedlian and Vahan Tekeyan. In honor of the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan, the capital of the Republic Of Armenia, the group sang Erepornee Yerevan by Edgar Hovhannisian.
Selections by guest soloist Mezzo-Soprano Kohar Manjelikian included Aysor Don Eh, arranged by R.Grigorian); Diramayr by Maestro Konstantin Petrossian; and O, Holy Night. The last was the classic Christmas carol which brought much applause from the audience for her thrilling rendition.
The free concert was enjoyed by parishioners, friends, and guests who gave the performers a well-deserved standing ovation following the conclusion of the final numbers: Joy To the World and the Hayr Mer. Board Of Trustees Chairman George Aghjayan of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church (which co-sponsored the event) congratulated Maestro Petrossian, the members of the Chorale, organist Mari Panosian and soloist Mezzo-Soprano Kohar Manjekilian for the wonderful holiday season performance. He thanked the audience for their attendance and encouraged them to continue to support the Chorale, noting the importance of preserving and promoting the rich musical heritage of the Armenian people.
For information regarding membership in the Chorale, please call 508-963-2076. All are welcome.
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