MONTEBELLO, Calif. — The legendary Kef Time Band is getting back together in Montebello this November for the much-anticipated Armenian Youth Federation Alumni Reunion, an event which boasts nearly 1,000 attendees spanning the 80-year-long, nationwide network of the AYF and the broader Armenian community.
The AYF Alumni Reunion will take place on Saturday, November 22, in Montebello’s Baghramian Hall. The event will feature Kef Time Band members Richard Hagopian, Hachig Kazarian, Jack Chalikian, Ed Derderian and Jason Sadoian.
The reunion is organized by the AYF Montebello “Vahan Cardashian” Chapter as a celebration of the local chapter’s 56-year history and as a tribute to the larger AYF organization’s 81 years of worldwide service and action for the Armenian people and cause.
“We’re definitely going to sell out this event,” said Nick Cabraloff, a member of AYF Montebello, who is spearheading the committee made up of AYF Montebello members and alumni to make this reunion a reality. “We are coordinating with people from across California and even the nation to bring together as many people as possible. This is an event that’s open to anybody in the community, from current AYF members and alumni, to friends and family.”
The Kef Time Band is a long-time community staple, having gained fame in the 1960s and 1970s. They have performed for over 30 years at events drawing 500-1,000 people at “kefs” across the United States from Los Angeles to Cape Cod, Mass., Hartford, Conn., and Detroit.
They are regarded by many as America’s favorite Armenian-American dance band, integrating rhythms and modes from the Near East and Armenian homeland with jazz-inspired solos. Their music reflects its members’ unique experiences as the sons of Armenian immigrants growing up in America.
In addition to the “kef” celebration, the weekend presents an enormous opportunity for learning and growth for the AYF organization. With 80 years of institutional memory in one room, the “Vahan Cardashian” Chapter plans to host informal events over the course of the weekend where youth and alumni can sit together and share their organizing experiences.
“This is a chance for both young organizers and alumni to learn from one another,” explained Harout Achekian, another AYF Montebello member. “The youth can learn how things were done in the AYF, and the alumni can see how things are being done in the AYF.”
To purchase tickets for the AYF Alumni Reunion via PayPal, visit tinyurl.com/k3oh8ga. Tickers may also be purchased by e-mail at Vahan.Cardashian@ayfwest.org or by telephone at 323-482-5053.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.