By Charles K. Der Kazarian
WORCESTER — The Greater Worcester Armenian Chorale presented its annual special Christmas concert on Sunday, December 4, 1:30 p.m., in the Sanctuary of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. The program consisted of Christmas carols and songs in Armenian and English. The Chorale is under the direction of Konstantin Petrossian, artistic director and conductor, with organ accompaniment by Mari Panosian.
Soprano Joanne Mouradjian was the guest soloist. She has appeared as a soloist in the New England area in oratorio, recital, and operetta. In 2004 she traveled to Armenia and in 2007 released her CD, Songs of the Armenian Soul. Her repertoire includes many lead soprano roles of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, performing them mainly with the Ocean State Light Opera and the Courthouse Light Opera. She has performed as oratorio soloist with the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island Civic Chorale, sings at Temple Beth-El, is soloist at the First Church of Christ Scientist and with the Gregorian Concert Choir of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, all in Providence. In addition to her stage work, Mouradjian is assistant professor of music in performance at Wheaton College, teaching voice classes and a voice workshop.
A medley of traditional carols beautifully performed by the Chorale, opened the concert:Oh Come, All Ye Faithful; Hark, The Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night. Armenian Christmas songs included the following: Ov Hayots Asdvadz by Makar Yegmalian; Park Ee Partzoons (Gloria In Excelsis), Khorthoort Metz (O Great Mystery) both by Movses Kertogh from the 6th Century; Ov Zamamanalee (How Wondrous) by Grigor Pahlavuni from the 12th Century; Aysor Dzaynum Hayragan (Today, The Paternal Voice) by Hovhaness Yerzngatsi from the 13th Century; and and the hymn Metsatsooste. The Chorale also presented its signature piece, Yegeghetsin Haygagan (The Armenian Church) by Vahan Bedlian and Vahan Tekeyan.
Selections by Mouradjian included Aysor Don Eh, arranged by Rouben Grigorian); Kisherayeen Megheti, by Konstantin Petrossian and Rev. Mesrob Tashjian and Go Tell It On De Mountains. The last was the classic Christmas Spiritual which brought the audience to its feet.
The free concert was enjoyed by parishioners, friends, and guests who gave the performers a well-deserved standing ovation following the conclusion of the final numbers: Carol Of The Bells, Ave Maria (by 16th Century Italian composer Giulio Caccini). Joy to the World, and Hayr Mer. Petrossian and the pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church (which co-sponsored the event), Rev. Sahag Yemishian, were both presented with a City Proclamation by Mayor Joseph Petty which declared December 4 to be “Greater Worcester Armenian Chorale Day” in Worcester, “…with the wish for success in today’s event and in all future endeavors of this most notable cultural organization.”
The mayor also presented Mouradjian with a key to the city in recognition of her contributions to the various fields of music as a performer and as a teacher.
Yemishian congratulated Petrossian, the members of the chorale, organist Mari Panosian and Mouradjian for the holiday season performance. He thanked the audience for their attendance and encouraged them to continue to support the Chorale, noting the importance of preserving and promoting the rich musical heritage of the Armenian people. The fellowship in the Church Hall which preceded the concert was provided by the chorale.
For information regarding membership in the chorale, call 508-963-2076. All are welcome.