Lark Musical Society Stages Decimal Surprises

Glendale–An evening of decimal surprises launched the celebration of ten years of musical endeavors and successes for the Lark Musical Society–an Armenian music institution headquartered in Glendale–CA. The event–the first of ten to be staged during 2001–was free to the public and took place on Sunday January 28 in the Glendale High School Auditorium.

Showcasing the musical talents of its Conservatory students and staff–the celebration began with the spellbinding–pulsating decimal rhythms of ten drums in a "Festive Overture," under the direction of percussion instructor–Artashes Sinanian–culminating with ten peals of a bell. The well-known pianist–Vatche Mankerian–served as Musical Master of Ceremonies–and Mrs. Nova Hindoyan–who chaired the event’s organizational committee–gave words of welcome to the packed auditorium.

Building on the deca-theme–an ensemble of ten folk instrumen’s–and groupings of ten dancers–ten piano instructors–ten violinists–ten choir chime players–and ten student composers performed in succession–presenting variations on the works of Armenian and Western composers.

The keynote speaker was Professor Peter Cowe–newly appointed chairholder of the UCLA Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Studies. Bringing greetings from Armenia was Dr. Prof. Armen Smbatyan–Rector of the Komitas Conservatory of Music in Yerevan. Prof. Smbatyan also presented Lark Music Director–Vatsche Barsoumian–with a certificate awarding him the title of Honorary Professor in the famed institute of music–where many of the Lark Conservatory instructors have received their training.

Forty Decennial Laureates–in the award categories of Masterful Alumni–Founding Instructors–Distinguished Service–Trail-Blazing Pioneers–Lark Champions–Scholars Musicians and Literati–and Exceptional Merit–were called to the stage by Vladimir Karapetyan to receive a newly designed Lark medal and certificate to the appreciative applause of the audience. Special recognition was given to Alexander Harutiunian and Edward Mirzoyan–internationally acclaimed Armenian composers whose works have been presented by Lark on stage; Professor Alina Pahlevanian–director of the Folk Music Faculty of the Komitas Conservatory of Music; and deputy director of the Armenian Academy of Sciences Art Institute–Professor Georg Geodakian.

The event was punctuated with choral numbers performed by the Dziadzan (‘Rainbow’) Children’s Choirs–and the Lark Adult Chorus–and a video entitled "We are Ready!" emphasizing the Society’s commitment to rise to greater musical heights–provide significant avenues to enrich the cultural life of the Armenian community–and share its long-lived Armenian heritage with the ethnically diverse communities of Southern California and beyond through the universal language of music.

The evening ended with ten variations on the musical theme of the Lark Conservatory Hymn–especially composed by Artashes Kartalyan–and arranged by his youthful students–followed by all of the program participants joining in singing the lyrics of the hymn–written by Conservatory Vice-Principal–Tagui Arzoumanian. "It was a happening not to be forgotten soon," said many of the attendees leaving the auditorium. "Everyone was so enthralled with the program–they just wanted it to go on and on."

The second of the Decennial Concerts–"Visions of St. Gregory: A Celebratory Offering of Sacred Music Proclaiming the 1700th Anniversary of Armenian Christianity," will take place Sunday–February 25–2001–at 6:00 P.M.–in the Glendale High School Auditorium–1440 East Broadway–Glendale.

A 72-page–illustrated Decennial Anniversary Celebration booklet chronicling the Society and its accomplishmen’s from 1990 to 2000–and including information about the Conservatory and its programs–letters of congratulations from distinguished clergy–government representatives–composers–musicologists–and community organizations–and a schedule of future programs is available.

For information on the Conservatory and its curriculum–or for details about future events–visit the Lark Musical Society office–411 East Acacia Street–Glendale–CA 91205–call (818) 500-9997–or e-mail: vatsche@aol.com.

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