Merrimack Valley Plans Genocide Theme With Music

By Tom Vartabedian

April 18, 2013

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.-Music through the ages will be the focal point
of a 98th memorial observance marking Armenian Martyrs’ Day April 28
in Merrimack Valley.

Soprano Knarik Nerkararyan Titled, “Weaving Armenia’s Story Through
Music,” the program will be enriched by three gifted New England
soloists: soprano Knarik Nerkararyan, mezzo soprano Victoria Avetisyan
and tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan, accompanied by pianist Levon Hovsepian.

The commemoration will take place at 3 p.m. in North Andover High
School, marked by a memorial service concelebrated by pastors from
different churches throughout Merrimack Valley, accompanied by a
combined choir led by Paul Ketchoyian, accompanied by Arsen Russian.

Admission is complimentary and open to the public. A reception will
follow in the school cafeteria.

“We’re very fortunate to have attracted three of the more prominent
singers anywhere,” said Sossy Jeknavorian, chairman, Armenian Genocide
Commemorative Committee of Merrimack Valley. “What better way to tell
Armenia’s fabled history than through music and song. Our story knows
no lyrical boundaries.”

Winners of a student essay contest will be presented with awards
after reading their papers. A visual update will be offered for a
$35,000 genocide memorial planned for Lowell. The project is being
cultivated through donations from surrounding communities.

“Through voluntary contributions, more than $70,000 has been donated
to worthy charities in Armenia,” replied Jeknavorian. “This remains a
tribute to the members who have served this committee over the past two
decades. It isn’t often you see an event attended by four generations.”

An appearance by Nellie Nazarian as the lone remaining survivor in
Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire is expected to highlight
the moment. The 102-year-old Methuen resident has attended previous
commemorations and has outlived all her peers.

Nerkararyan is choir director of St. Gregory Church in North Andover.

More recently, she gained rave reviews for her role of Kupava in the
Rimsky-Korsakov opera “The Snow Maiden” with the Lowell Opera Company.

Avetisyan has also built up an impressive resume with performances
throughout the world. She made her debut with the Boston Lyric Opera
Company, appeared solo at Carnegie Hall, and with the Boston Symphony
as soloist for Verdi’s “Requiem.”

Manucharyan more recently reformed Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” with
the Charlotte Symphony, following an appearance with the Metropolitan
Opera Society where he sang the new production of “Armida” with diva
Renee Fleming. His Carnegie Hall debut was with the Opera Orchestra
of New York in Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena.”

Hovsepian performs actively and teaches piano at the Powers Music
School in Belmont and Keys for Kids in Lexington. He has appeared
with the New England Philharmonic and taught masters classes at La
Corunia Music in Spain.

Communities in Greater Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell will commemorate
the Genocide throughout the week with proclamation signings, meetings
and flag-raising ceremonies with their respective city legislators.

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