November 29, 2023
On Sunday November 12, the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Performing Arts Center was awash in the captivating melodies of the AGBU LA Choir concert, aptly titled “Postcards from Armenia.” The anticipation in the air was palpable as over 400 attendees gathered to experience an evening that promised not just music, but a show of solidarity in support of the Armenians of Artsakh who fled en masse to Armenia in the last phase of a deadly ethnic cleansing campaign.
Setting the stage for the musical odyssey were the acclaimed composer and conductor Maestro Greg Hosharian and the Armenian Pops Ensemble in concert with the AGBU LA Choir, now in its second year as a local cultural gem.
The evening unfolded with the AGBU LA Dance School, in which children displayed their budding talents to open both acts.
Garine Seuylemezian, Chair of AGBU LA Choir, set the tone for the evening with heartfelt opening remarks. “Together, let us heal through music; let us love one another, remain united, and feel a sense of pride through music,” she declared, emphasizing the power of music to bring people together. She acknowledges that the organizers considered the sensitivities of going forward with the concert in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in the homeland. “We decided that while so many in our community were focused on the welfare of the Artsakh Armenians, the concert would send a message that while we can’t carry guns and go to war, we choose to be protective and fight back with our voices. We keep the culture alive by passing it to the young generation and introducing it to the world, Seuylemezian added.
The stage was graced by the soulful voice of Razmik Baghdasaryan, a popular singer and composer. His rendition of “Yeraz im Yerkir Hayreni,” a beloved song written by Robert Amirkhanyan, created an immediate connection with the audience.
Instructor Taguhi Bezatyan from the AGBU LA Dance School added a visual dimension to the performance with graceful solo dance renditions that beautifully complemented the choir’s vocals. Maestro Greg arranged all the music and seamlessly alternated between performing original pieces with the Armenian Pops Ensemble and accompanying the choir on piano.
Choir Master Nektar Mirakyan skillfully wove storytelling into the show, providing the audience with a deeper understanding of the historical significance behind each song. Engaging the crowd, she frequently encouraged them to join in, turning the concert into a communal celebration of Armenian music.
A highlight of the evening was the powerful performance by young Soprano Natalie Buickians, whose rendition of “Oror” left the audience in awe of her vocal prowess. The collective talent on display throughout the concert was a testament to the dedication and discipline of each performer and their desire to help benefit a worthy cause.
AGBU Western Region Executive Director described the mood of the night. “There was a beautiful energy of togetherness. The AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Performing Arts Center became a space where barriers between the stage and the audience dissolved, and everyone rejoiced in the sounds of Armenian music.”
Stambolyan also noted that, beyond the inspiring musical elements, the event held a deeper purpose. Proceeds from the concert were dedicated to the AGBU Global Relief Fund for Artsakh families, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to making a positive impact on Armenian lives, in this instance, through the universal language of music to inspire support.
As the final notes reverberated through the hall, it was clear that “Postcards from Armenia” had not just entertained but had become a vessel for unity, pride, and healing.
ChoirPR- AGBU LA Dance School open both acts of the concert.
ChoirPR1- AGBU LA Choir accompanied by Maestro Greg Hosharian and Armenian Pops Ensemble
ChoirPR2- Choir Master, Nektar Mirakyan and Maestro Greg Hosharian
ChoirPR3- AGBU LA Choir led by Nektar Mirakyan and accompanied by Greg Hosharian and Armenian Pops Ensemble
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit www.agbu.org.
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