GLENDALE—On Tuesday, October 4, the Lark Musical Society in partnership with the California Armenian Legislative Caucus hosted California state legislators who were on a visit to learn about an organization that has come to be known as a hidden treasure of culture and music in the heart of Glendale.
In attendance were California state assembly speaker Anthony Rendon, members of the staff of Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, 46th District Assembly member Adrin Nazarian, 25th District Assembly member Kansen Chu, 35th District Assembly member Katcho Achadjian, 50th District Assembly member Richard Bloom, Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Fiona Ma, and Karo Torossian of LA Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s office. Joining the delegates were Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, Chair of the UCLA Music Composition Department Dr. Ian Krouse, President of the Armenian Missionary Association Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, and Director of the USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies Salpi Ghazarian.
This historic visit comes on the heels of Governor Jerry Brown’s approval of the state budget allocating $500,000 to Lark Musical Society. Assembly member Adrin Nazarian, who played a key role in securing this funding, organized this trip for the California legislators to meet with members of the Armenian American community to establish personal connections and strengthen ties. Lark Musical Society announced that the funds will be used to build The Museum of Armenian Culture (TMOAC) at its headquarters in the heart of Glendale. The endorsement of Lark Musical Society by the State of California will strengthen Lark’s ability to serve as the ambassador for western classical music and Armenian culture to the community.
Lark chairman Andy Torosyan welcomed the guests and legislators and treated them with live results from the organization’s 27 years of community service in education, performance, and research and publication. Lark alumna and internationally acclaimed soprano Shoushik Barsoumian enchanted the audience with an art song by R. Strauss expressing gratitude for receiving blessings from friends, and a song by H. Ayvazyan expressing joy for the fatherland. Lark students then amazed the listeners with a coordinated performance of hand chimes and singing featuring Komitas thanks to arrangements by Lark alumnus A. Kartalyan who also serves as the principal of the Lark Conservatory of Music. Finally, virtuoso violinist Movses Pogossian led the Dilijan Chamber Music ensemble, a division of Lark’s performance wing, in a delightful performance of a Mozart minuet and two dance songs by Komitas/Aslamazian.
The legislators then toured the campus with Mr. Torosyan, and Lark’s executive director, Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian, as they discussed the organization’s $1.5 million plans to renovate and upgrade the campus with The Museum of Armenian Culture. The project aims to make Lark a destination for people to experience art and music alongside important treasures that have been preserved in the Armenian Diaspora. The museum will exemplify the ability of the human spirit to survive and evolve and inspire new generations to reach higher ground.
Speaker Rendon then spoke from the heart when he expressed admiration for the vitality and energy he had witnessed at Lark. Together with Assembly Member Nazarian, speaker Rendon thanked Lark for its contributions to the community and commended it for its commitment to the arts, its vision and the ambitious projects to support them.