A Collaboration of Art and Music to Commemorate Armenian Genocide


OAKLAND GARDENS, N.Y. — On Saturday, April 13, the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs and the Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School came together to present an “Evening of Remembrance” to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It was a musical program presented in the church sanctuary to an audience of about 150 people.

Students Danielle Ashbahian and Nicole Mark opened the evening with a welcome for Fr. Abraham and Yeretzkin Karine Malkhasyan, Genocide survivor Charlotte Kechejian, and the rest of the guests.

Mark played the Komitas’ piece, Karoon, on the violin with Arthur Ipek accompanying her on the piano. Their performance was delightful and meaningful.

Immediately following her was concert pianist, Tanya Gabrielian, who played the Mansourian piece, Nostalgia. Her performance was sharp and dramatic. The Zvartnotz Quartet, with members Cecee Pantikian, Nikita Morozov, Aleksandr Nazaryan and David Bakamjian performed String Quartet No. 1 by E. Mirzoyan. The beauty of the sanctuary and the power of the performers made the audience feel as if they were in a formal concert hall.

Guests were then moved by Gabrielian and the quartet coming together to present Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major. The emotion that it evoked was so powerful that some guests were even crying.

As the program came to a close, Malkhasyan brought back Ipek, who recited in Armenian, the poem “In Memory of the Million- Nerga- We Are Present!!” by Jacques S. Hagopian.  Malkhasyan then proceeded to thank everyone who participated in the evening and all in attendance. He most especially thanked Kechejian, a 100-year-old survivor of the Genocide, for being with the assembled. As he continued he too delivered a message about forgiveness. Short and yet powerful he repeated these words: “We must forgive, but we must never forget.”

With the program over, everyone was invited to Kalustyan Hall for a reception. With foods presented by the event committee, the reception also offered a lovely display of art work by the students of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School, the Holy Martyrs Armenian Language School and the Holy Martyrs Sunday School. The work was representative of the feelings of the students regarding the Armenian Genocide. It was their emotional connection to a significant piece of their heritage. Some of the student-artists were present to answer questions about the work and many photographs were taken of both the children and the performers.

Many thanks must be given to all who contributed to this evening of remembrance. The donations received before and during the concert were accepted in memory of all the victims and survivors of the Genocide. They were a special generation who, despite all that they had endured, showed the world they could still contribute to all life activities and that their faith was a powerful guide in their difficult journey.