The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society’s Eastern Region Committee along with the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and Columbia University’s Armenian club recently hosted a celebration in honor of the 150th anniversary of Komitas.
More than 120 students, intellectuals and musicians from the Diaspora of the Eastern US attended the event at Columbia University last month.
Columbia University’s Dr. Khatchig Mouradian served as the host. Musicians Lusine Musayelian (soprano), Vagharshak Ohanian (baritone) and Arsen Ketigian (violin) honored Komitas with their stirring performances.
In her formal remarks, the chair of the music department at Franklin and Marshall College and guest speaker of the event Prof. Sylvia Alajaji beautifully described Komitas’ life and musical contributions, in which his patriotic songs about the Armenian Genocide influenced thousands of Armenians from Bolis to Etchmiadzin to Europe. Alajaji also described the way Komitas was a spiritual influence in the Armenian community, in Armenian families as well as his own. She also noted that Komitas’ writings served as a bridge connecting all sections of the Armenian nation, equally belonging to Eastern Armenians and Western Armenians.
Attendees were later given the opportunity to ask questions and briefly exchange ideas.
After the event, several guests gathered at Dr. Mouradian’s home, where they celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Hamazkayin. The Hamazkayin Eastern Region Committee recognized seven prominent community members who have selflessly served the Armenian community to advance the Hamazkayin’s mission.
Hamazkayin Eastern Region Chairwoman Arevik Caprielian and Hamazkayin Central Committee Board Member Hrair Baronian presented the awards. New Jersey teacher Azad Aprahamian-Kalayjian was recognized for his ten years of service, as well as Zemroukhd Markarian-Strauss (New York) for his commitment to education. George Aghjayan (Massachusetts) was honored for his remarkable work in the genealogy of Armenians, as well as for the establishment of the Hamazkayin’s new chapter in Worcester, Massachusetts. Architect Dikran Tingrian (New Jersey), who has been a longtime advocate for the Armenian community, was honored for his professional design work. Noubar Yeremian (Philadelphia) expressed his gratitude for the people around him who have been full-fledged contributors in the Armenian community, the Armenian church and Armenian organizations. Armine Minassian (New York), who was recognized for her professional and personal abilities, has been involved in the New York Hamazkayin chapter since its founding and has been a committed member since the very beginning. Finally, Dr. Khatchig Mouradian (New York) was noted for playing a large and important role in the annual art and literature workshops of the Hamazkayin’s ArtLinks organization.
Among the guests were Hamazkayin Eastern US Regional Central Committee member Aram Tramblian, the New York ARF Armen Karo committee representative Armen Kaprielian, ARS-Eastern Region Board member Mary-Anne Bunjuklian, who all congratulated the Hamazkayin on its anniversary and offered their heartfelt wishes on the future of the organization.
In her remarks, Hamazkayin Eastern US Regional Chairwoman Arevik Gabrielian talked about how the Hamazkayin preserves nation-building. “The Armenian people forever live on because of their culture and their community. Without its culture and community, the nation will not exist. It is impossible to instill a sense of national belonging to the rising generation without a well-grounded foundation. This foundation is the beginning of our literature and our national heritage. All of our Armenian organizations try very hard to keep the youth within the community so that they learn our language, our music and our dances, as well as participate in the Hamazkayin Armenian Knowledge Bowl. Don’t falter when it comes to preserving your children’s Armenian identity. Always teach your children the importance of being Armenian. Everyone should find value in serving and supporting the Hamazkayin; it’s a shining example of our Armenian identity,” said Gabrielian.
Everyone enjoyed a beautiful evening together with friends, celebrating Hamazkayin’s 90th anniversary and looking forward to the 100th.