BOSTON, Mass. — On Sunday, November 14 at 2:00 pm, all are invited to Giving Thanks! Together in Celebration at Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, Boston. The newest program of the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park is offered in collaboration with the Boston Children’s Chorus and The Greenway Conservancy.
The idea for the new program was sparked by North End newcomer and former Boston Public School teacher Jean Gibran who shared with several other Friends of Armenian Heritage Park that she enjoyed discovering the Park and recalled how children’s voices brought harmony and unity to her former school’s neighborhood. While stepping on the “magical Labyrinth at the Park,” Gibran shared with Dr. Armineh Mirzabegian of the Friends Programs Planning Team, “Why don’t we all, young and old, express the Park’s dedication to immigration? What better way than to sing together in the spirit of Thanksgiving?”
A Boston Public School teacher for 25 years and co-founder of the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail with Susan Goganian and others, Gibran brings a lifelong commitment to the arts, children and community. She is the author of Love Made Visible Scenes from a Mostly Happy Marriage and co-author with her late husband, artist and sculptor Kahlil George Gibran (1922 – 2008) of Kahlil Gibran Beyond Borders and most recently actively supported a recent show of his works, The Surface and Below at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine. Mr. Gibran was the godson and cousin of the late Lebanese American poet Kahlil Gibran.
Andrés Holder, executive director of the Boston Children Chorus (BCC) welcomed the idea of the chorus performing at the Park and engaged Robbie Jacobs, BCC executive producer, who was as delighted and suggested that the chorus learn an Armenian folk song to perform and include in their repertoire.
The BCC was founded in 2001 by Hubie Jones, then dean of Boston University School of Social Work. Some children in the chorus are attending a Boston Public School that is implementing Geometry as Public Art: Telling A Story, the curriculum inspired by the Park’s design and geometric features that tell the story of the immigrant experience.
Manneh Ghazarians, actively involved on the Friends’ Program Planning Team, chose an Armenian folk song with the music and lyrics annotated. When introducing the song, she would speak about the Park and Armenia, its cultural heritage including the work of Gomidas who documented thousands of Armenian folk songs and was revered for his role in creating the Armenian church divine liturgy.
Several years earlier in her senior year at Lexington High School, Ghazarians arranged for the Lexington High School Chorus to travel to Armenia to sing and perform with the Children’s Choir of Armenia.
Presently, Ghazarians is a senior quality improvement consultant at Boston Children’s Hospital. She and husband Jason Behrens, founder of Sun Bear Local and teacher in the Somerville Public Schools, are parents of a young daughter. Both serve on the Friends’ Curriculum Development Team.
With an Armenian folk song selected, Jacobs introduced the Friends to BCC director Krystal Moran. When Jacobs initially suggested that the children learn an Armenian folk song, he did not know what Moran was about to reveal in her introductory email to the Friends. “I actually went on a choir tour to Armenia – Yerevan, Lake Sevan, Vanadzor, and a few other places – and our group actually worked with the Little Singers of Armenia chorus and Tigran Hekekyan (founder and director) while we were there. I have such fond memories of the wonderful people we met and collaborated with, the history we learned, the amazing food, the beautiful Mount Ararat,” wrote Moran, who is also a full-time music teacher at Boston Green Academy.
Preliminary discussions are underway for a joint virtual concert with the BCC and Little Singers of Armenia.
In the spirit of giving thanks, appreciation is extended to the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park Giving Thanks! Planning Team: Ann Babbitt, Victor Brogna, Susan Deranian, Tom Dow, Jean Gibran, Barbara Jakob, Eleice Latham, Cathy Minassian, Rita Pagliuca, Marchelle Raynor and Barbara Tellalian together with the Boston’s Children’s Chorus under Moran’s direction.