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LOS ANGELES—Following its tour-de-force performances at the Space Shuttle Endeavour arrival ceremony, held in Los Angeles on September 21, the Open Music Society Foundation (OMSF) received enthusiastic acclaim for its role in the historic event.
The artistic program of the ceremony drew praise from celebrities, elected officials, the leadership of the California Science Center, and event sponsors, who witnessed the homecoming of the spacecraft up-close at Los Angeles International Airport.
In her opening remarks, Mistress of Ceremonies Nichelle Nichols, a singer and actress famed for her role as Uhura in the Star Trek series, asked for a big round of applause for the Open Music Fest Orchestra, artistic director and conductor Aram Gharabekian, the Open Music Fest Dancers, and tenor Steve Amerson.
As the Open Music Fest Dancers presented a flash-mob performance, led by Aida Amirkhanian, during the ceremony, audience members who grooved to the beat included actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, star of the movie Fame. Later in the event, following an impassioned performance of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” synchronized to the touch-down and taxiing in of Endeavour, a tearful June Lockhart (Lost in Space, Lassie) approached Gharabekian to congratulate him for “by far the best rendition of the Fanfare” she had ever experienced.
In the eight months leading up to Endeavour’s arrival ceremony, the OMSF collaborated with the City of Los Angeles and the California Science Center to design an original, integrated artistic program.
“The City of Los Angeles, the Mayor’s office, Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s office, and the California Science Center were instrumental in the success of the program, and we sincerely thank them for their support,” said executive producer and OMSF COO Alina Koutnouyan.
On September 21, after enjoying the resulting performances, several officials, including California Science Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rudolph and Food and Event Services vice-president Christina Sion, gave the OMSF rave reviews for its meticulous planning and execution of the program. Conveying her gratitude to the artistic and production team, Sion echoed the impression of other guests when she said she could not imagine the ceremony without the seamlessly integrated dance and music performances.
Aileen Adams, deputy mayor of Los Angeles, also expressed gratitude to the OMSF, for rendering an extraordinary public service and carrying out a remarkable artistic program. Adams stated that the dance and music presentations were programmed perfectly and accentuated a rare moment in L.A. history, the homecoming of Endeavour.
The shuttle-arrival ceremony was attended by several sponsors whose contributions were pivotal for the realization of the OMSF’s artistic program. The Major Event Sponsor was Primex Clinical Laboratories, Inc., represented by CEO and president Oshin Harootoonian, vice-president Ara Hartoonian, and vice-president Erik Avaniss-Aghajani. Primex is a leader in the medical-testing field, employing the latest innovations and techniques. Other event sponsors included Hovig Kurkjian of SAS Systems Engineering; Eugean and Roubina Hacopians, co-founders of ANRE Technologies, Inc.; Randy Bellous of the Stratton-Petit Foundation; and Kevin and Jasmen Kazarian.
“It has been a very humbling experience to have sponsors approach us to express their gratitude for the invitation to be a part of this historic moment,” Alina Koutnouyan said. “They were the reason the arrival ceremony was so powerful. And we thank them for their vision and passion.”
Oshin Harootoonian described the event as “out of this world — human ingenuity at its best.” He continued: “I hope the federal government would fund the next [space] program soon so we can see the next generation of these shuttles in our lifetime.”
Describing the occasion as an “amazing experience,” Eric Avaniss-Aghajani said he was thankful for the opportunity to be a sponsor.
Also offering impressions at the event was Eugean Hacopians, who said, “The shuttle’s arrival was so breathtaking and mesmerizing that about 800 people were silent, and the only thing one could hear was the sound of the 747’s engines and the beautiful music that was performed by the Open Music Fest Orchestra.”
“They did a phenomenal job,” Hacopians continued. “The music, which was beautifully conducted by Aram Gharabekian, gave the shuttle a true Hollywood treatment. My wife and I are very honored to be Open Music Society Foundation sponsors and wish it great success.”
In the run-up to the Endeavour event, the artistic program’s sponsors responded enthusiastically to the appeals of the specially created OMSF Board Task Force, which led a coordinated fundraising and publicity effort to rally community support. The Task Force, led by Alina Koutnouyan, included Meline Sirounian Berube, Eugean and Roubina Hacopians, Arsine Shirvanian, Annette Malek Andrasians, and Nairy Ghazourian.
Speaking on behalf of the OMSF, Aram Gharabekian thanked “all the individuals and institutions that have made it possible for the foundation to participate in the magnificent shuttle ceremony through the language of art.”
About the OMSF: The Open Music Society Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing musical education and mentorship for young talent, and increasing public interest in the arts through Open Music Fest, an unprecedented and unique series of arts festivals in which artistic collaboration embraces cultural diversity, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation. Artistic entities of the OMSF include the Open Music Fest Orchestra and the Open Music Fest Dancers. For more information, please visit openmusicsociety.org