Salute to Armenia


Ambassador Garen Nazarian

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — September 10 was the occasion of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. The performance was presented by The Armenian Music Festival of Rhode Island, Inc., and it was supported by Saints Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, Saints Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church. The program, titled “Salute to Armenia,” was held at the Catholic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence. Approximately 1,000 people were in attendance for this program under the auspices of The Embassy of Armenia to the United States and the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations.

Co-chairs were Aram Garabedian, Ara Bohigian and conductor Konstantin Petrossian.

Many members of the clergy as well as local politicians were in attendance lending their support to this event. Garen Nazarian, Armenia’s ambassador to the United Nations was the guest speaker. Guest composers, Martin Vardazarian and Levon Chausyan, from Armenia, whose works were performed, attended. Many soloists and the Armenian Chorales of Rhode Island and Greater Worcester along with the Philharmonic Community Symphony Orchestra of Rhode Island comprised the talent for the evening.

Konstantin Petrossian, David Alexander and Ara Boghigian, co-chair

The daunting task of coordinating all of the talent for this evening fell to Petrossian. He has great vision concerning the assemblage of such musical talent. Due to the number of standing ovations, it was apparent that the audience agreed.

With such a huge number of soloists, space dictates that the comments be as succinct as possible.

The concert opened with the soulful Dzon Hayrenikeen for Chorale and Orchestra by Chaushyan. Joanne Mouradjian, soprano, along with Alexan Tokatlyan, violinist, performed Gomidas’ Groong with incredible expression. Kate Norigian, soprano, accompanied by David Griego, flautist, performed the folk tune Dzidzernag, Gakavig, seemingly creating the beautiful effect of the delicate birds. Garo Nichanian, bass-baritone, seems to evoke verve. Gohar Manjelikian, mezzo-soprano performed Siro Khosk Hayastaneen by Varazaryan with her mellifluous tones. David Ayriyan, performed the traditional folk tune Dele Yaman on the kemancha, the Armenian string instrument. Soprano Debra Pjojian delivered a skillful performance of Khachatourian’s Karoon Yerevan. David Gevorkian and Mher Saribekyan each played the Armenian wooden wind instrument, the duduk. Victoria Avetisyan, mezzo-soprano, provided a superb rendition of Petrossian’s Diramayr. Tenor, Yeghishe Manucharyan, performed a demanding aria from the opera “Anoush” with incredible clarity. The youngest of the evening’s performers, just 9-years-old, David Alexander, sang beautifully America the Beautiful, in honor of 9/11 victims.

The soloists of the chorale

A special reception was co-hosted and sponsored by Sylvia Long and Sondra Pitts. A reception for the public was sponsored by Aram Garabedian. A reception for the performers was sponsored by the Urartu Society.

The evening was pitch perfect — a night to be proud to be Armenian.

— Shirley Ventrone