Celebrating our language


Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

May 21, 2004


The setting was modern: the Eastern Diocese’s Haik and Alice Kavookjian
Auditorium, with parents and friends waiting for students in the
Diocesan Khrimian Lyceum educational program to showcase their talents
on stage. But the message was one from the past: the importance of the
Armenian culture and language, and the need to vigorously pass it on to
the next generation.

To open the Khrimian Lyceum’s 2004 “Gala des Amateurs” — the annual
opportunity for students in the six-year program to display their
Armenian language skills, musical ability, and cultural knowledge — the
group of students led the audience in singing “Mer Hayrenik”.

About 60 students attend the Diocese’s Khrimian Lyceum in New York City.
(Similar programs were opened this year in Boston and Chicago.) During
the Gala, they sang songs in Armenian, such as: “Ov Soorp Mesrob”,
“Asdvatdzhshoonts”, and “Eentchoo”. Several students also performed
solos during the show, including Grace Tcholakian who sang “Hayerenuh
Eem Baberoos”. The choirs sang an ode to St. Vartan Cathedral, with Ani
Nalbandian accompanying them on the piano.


During the school year, the Diocesan Khrimian Lyceum — a six-year
program designed to train12- to 18-year-old graduates of Diocesan
Armenian schools to become the next generation of leaders for the
Armenian Church — brings experts to the students through monthly
classes, lectures, and workshops. The program also organizes an annual
symposium, which this year took students on a “virtual tour” of Armenia,
past and present.

The speakers opened the world of Armenia to the students. Arto
Vorperian, who has worked for Armenia’s tourist industry and now works
with the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), took the participants to
Armenia through a lively presentation. Artemis Nazerian spoke about the
talented musicians who have come from Armenia for more than 15
centuries. Armenian arts and crafts came to life with a hands-on
discussion led by Mariam Atarian. Armenian literature and journalism in
the Republic of Armenia and the diaspora was covered by Vehanoush

The students got an authoritative exploration on the Armenian Christian
faith from Fr. Haigazoun Najarian, who told them about its role in
historic Armenia and for Armenians today.


Along with language lessons, the students also get lectures on what it
means to be a leader, and take non-academic studies such as orchestra
and drama. During the “Gala des Amateurs”, the Khrimian Lyceum
orchestra, joined by pianist Deanna Gulmezian , performed a number of
lovely Armenian-themed pieces, such as: “Zeytoontsener”, “Arpa Sevan”,
“Azk Parabandz”, and “Gakaveek”. Other solo instrumental performers
included Nareg Naviters on the saxophone, and Sharis Aiazian on piano.

Along with the orchestra and choir groups, the program’s dance troop —
under the direction of Talar Zokian — also took the stage, and
performed a number titled “Ov Hahyots Ashkhar”, in beautiful costumes
borrowed from the Shushi Dance Ensemble.

The school’s actors took the stage to perform a play called “Ahnpahn
Hooren”, which recreated a slice of Armenian village life.


Along with being a celebration of the Armenian spirit, the Gala was also
a chance to honor those students who completed the six-year program.
The 2004 graduating class includes: George Chahinian, Grace Cholakian,
Laura Dulgerian, Mary Gulmezian, Talar Parisian, Roy Seter, and Ida

“My parents were surprised to see how much we had learned,” Ida
Zohrabian said that night, when the students thanked their instructors
by approaching them and presenting them with red roses.

For more information on the Khrimian Lyceum programs in New York,
Massachusetts, and Illinois, and to sign your child up for next year’s
classes, contact Sylva der Stepanian, coordinator of Armenian education
at the Diocese, by calling (212) 686-0710, ext. 48.

— 5/21/04

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