Over 300 Community Members, Guests, Friends and Supporters Attend the Annual Event
PASADENA—Over 300 enthusiastic Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena Chapter (ANCA Pasadena) members, friends, supporters and guests of honor gathered at the Pasadena Armenian Center in Pasadena, California on the evening of Saturday, August 6, 2016 to collectively recognize and celebrate yet another year of accomplishments and successes. This annual gathering has been a much anticipated tradition of the ANCA Pasadena since its inception 37 years ago and provides a warm and congenial atmosphere to bring its supporters, activists and community members to honor the rich history of the chapter, its proud plethora of current activities and accomplishments and its most promising and bright future.
This year’s celebration, proved to be just as joyous, entertaining and memorable an affair for all who were in attendance as in years past. The evening’s program was opened by its Master of Ceremonies and Pasadena ANCA Executive Board Secretary Boghos (Bo) Patatian, who welcomed activists and guests, introduced honored guests and dignitaries and then invited Reverend Father Boghos Baltayan, Pastor of the St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Pasadena, who delivered the invocation and conducted the traditional ‘Blessing of the Table/Meal’ prayer. Following the Blessing, the customary Flag Ceremony and the performance of both the American and Armenian National Anthems were conducted, after which Patatian invited the Chairman of the ANCA Pasadena, Vahe Majarian, who opened his remarks by asking the assemblage to observe a standing moment of silence to honor the memories of the fallen heroic Armenian soldiers who lost their lives during the recent Azeri attacks on the Mountainous Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh Republic.
Majarian then invited to the podium, one of the evening’s many honored guests, member of the U.S. House of Representatives Congresswoman Judy Chu [D-CA-27], who welcomed the gathering and graciously presented the Majarian with an official ‘Certificate of Recognition/Appreciation’ from the United States House of Representatives. Majarian then welcomed and thanked the attendees, and delivered his remarks highlighting the ANCA Pasadena’s activities, achievements and successes over the last year and outlined the organization’s goals, objectives and priorities in the year to come.
Following Majarian, Patatian invited to the podium Hilda Saliba, the Chairwoman of the Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF) of Pasadena, who commended the ANCA Pasadena for the critical role it plays in the community and for its years of service and dedication to its constituency, the city and the region. Patatian then invited to the podium Garin Kevoian, who along with Krikor ‘Greg’ Abajian, served as Co-Chairs of the event’s Banquet Committee. Kevoian thanked all the members on her committee and all of the attendees for their support of the organization and its efforts.
The Honorable Mayor of the City of Pasadena, Terry Tornek, was then invited to the podium, who shared his thoughts with those who were gathered, stating that he valued his close relationship with the ANCA Pasadena and the large Armenian-American community here. The Mayor also expressed his pleasure in being among such an esteemed assemblage of friends, elected officials, public servants and activists and commended the Pasadena ANCA for all it does for its community. Majarian then joined Kevoian at the podium and presented Mayor Tornek with a very special hand-woven embroidery of the Armenian Alphabet, crafted by our community’s very own Margaret Frangian Ourichian, as a keepsake and as a token of the Armenian-American community’s deep and profound appreciation to Mayor Tornek for his steadfast leadership, support and friendship to both the city and its Armenian-American community.
The formal program of the banquet was followed by the dinner and entertainment portion of the evening’s program, during which guests were treated to musical performances by Vatche Hagopian and Krisdapor Arabian in accompaniment with the Greg Hosharian Band.
Following dinner, Patatian returned to the podium and invited the evening’s keynote speaker, the former Chairman of the Pasadena ANCA and recently elected National Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, Mr. Raffi Hamparian. In his comments, Hamparian stressed the importance of activism and highlighted the mission, efforts and goals of the ANCA and as a proud Pasadena resident commended the efforts of the Pasadena ANCA, its Board of Directors and its activists and supporters.
A powerful multimedia presentation featuring the ‘With Our Soldiers’ Campaign was screened, after which Patatian invited Chairman of the ‘With Our Soldiers’ Campaign Task Force David Arakelyan to outline the mission and activities of the campaign. As outlined in its mission statement: the campaign is focused on the fundamental aim of providing support to the families of the Armenian soldiers who were killed during the Azeri aggression against the people of Artsakh and in the aftermath of the Four Day War between the two countries in a coordinated efforts to show solidarity with those who are currently defending the Homeland. As the banquet was being planned, the Board of Directors of the ANCA Pasadena committed to donate a significant portion of the banquet’s proceeds to this effort. Individuals who wish to make additional individual contributions to the campaign are encouraged to do so by visiting the campaign’s website.
The rest of the evening’s program, which continued well into the night, was then placed in the care of former ACF Western US Central Committee Representative Hovig Saliba, who dutifully an diligently encouraged and oversaw the donation offerings and commitments which were pledged during the banquet, while renowned performer of Armenian patriotic songs, Kristapor Arabian entertained throughout.
“We were very pleased with and proud of hosting this event” remarked Majarian. “Collectively we put in a lot of time, energy and effort into it and are extremely proud to host this much anticipated banquet year in and year out and look forward to hosting it for many years to come” he stated. “We thank all of our guests, sponsors, attendees and participants, but particularly our Board of Directors who worked tirelessly to put this powerful and impressive event together but particularly our 2016 ANCA Pasadena Banquet Organizing Committee Co-Chairs Garin Kevoian and Krikor ‘Greg’ Abajian, who lead this effort and were integral in its overall success” Majarian continued. “This was a remarkable event, one that we hope to continually grow and build upon as we endeavor to expand the scope, profile and reach of our venerable organization, always striving to increase its sustainability, significance and contributions to and within our City of Pasadena and beyond.” For his part, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek stated “the ANCA Pasadena, with its community involvement, represents exactly the kind of organization that makes Pasadena great!”
The event was also attended by distinguished group of dignitaries and honored guests which included: Lieutenant Vasken Gourdikian representing Pasadena Police Chief Philip L. Sanchez, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald and Board Member Roy Vruyr Boulghourjian, former State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, ACF Western Region Board Member Aida Dimejian, and Press Secretary for California State Assemblymember Chris Holden, Garo Manjikian.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena Chapter is the oldest, largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization of its kind within the City of Pasadena. Founded in 1979, the Pasadena ANCA advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s thriving Armenian-American community and promotes increased civic service and participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.