Komitas Choir Performs for Baroness Cox’s HART Concert


 

LONDON — A Christmas Carol Concert was organized by the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) in St. Cyprian’s Church in London on December 4. Every year Baroness Caroline Cox, founder of HART, initiates such concerts for the representatives of ethnic minorities of countries that receive humanitarian aid from the trust.

This year the Christmas concert featured four choirs, the Armenian Komitas Choir of the Tekeyan Trust London, the Ugandan Acholi London Choir, the St. Martin Singers and the University of London Chamber Choir.

At the concert the choral art, music and languages of different nationalities were introduced to the British audience.

While inviting the Komitas Choir to perform, Father David of St. Cyprian’s Church recalled vividly the choir’s perfect performance dedicated to the 145th birth anniversary of Komitas (the concert was held in St. Yeghishe Church, London, on October 18). The priest also introduced the life and activity of the great Armenian composer and the founder of Armenian classical music. He particularly mentioned the horrifying scenes of the 1915 Armenian Genocide because of which Komitas experienced a nightmare and witnessed the brutal extermination of the nation’s bright minds. Unfortunately, it left a deep ineradicable impression on his soul and after 20 years of sufferings his life came to an end in psychiatric hospital in Paris.

At the concert, the Komitas Choir performed songs by Komitas (Today Is Christmas), Marty Nystrom (As the Deer Pants for Water) and Stepan Lusikyan (New Armenia). The latter was interpreted and presented to the audience by Sipan Hakobyan, artistic director and conductor of the choir.

The Komitas Choir performance was followed by honourable Baroness Caroline Cox’s welcoming speech. Once again she praised the choir, Conductor Sipan Hakobyan and Chairman Vartan Ouzounian who initiated such an important project and on the threshold of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide founded a longed-for choir, the first Armenian one in the UK. Baroness Cox also spoke about the Genocide denial policy of the Turkish government and condemned it. She presented the past and present situations of Karabagh and mentioned historical injustice and deprivations of the Armenian nation. Baroness touched upon current challenges to Armenians, such as atrocities and ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan, as well as the future of Karabagh and the achievements of Armenians. Caroline Cox’s long speech was a good opportunity to raise the awareness of the British audience.

At the concert among the audience present were representatives of a number of British-Armenian organizations, and there was a guest from Karabagh Vardan Tadevosyan who presented his plan to build a new hospital in Karabagh.