LOS ANGELES–Amid the hustle and bustle of life in Los Angeles, several of the brightest stars of the Armenian community came together at Hollywood’s Ford Amphitheater Sunday evening for a "Concert Under the Stars" in benefit of the Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City Association.
The concert, sponsored by Prana Cafe and organized by the Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City Association (LAYSCA), featured an eclectic array of artists that came out to sing in support of a cause they all described as their responsibility.
The evening’s line up featured the stand-up comedy and musical impersonations of Michael, the Man of Many Voices; the emotive prose of Armen Movsessian, the oriental vibes of near-east rock band VISA; the national and folk music of Nersik Ispirian and his Daron Band; and a surprise performance by famed lyricist Elon, who performed on his acoustic guitar.
"I hadn’t performed for over a year, and my involvement in this event almost didn’t work out due to scheduling conflicts, but I just couldn’t miss out on such a unique event as this," Elon remarked.
"The performers we selected to be part of this event were very excited and enthusiastic about getting involved," explained Raffi Ganoumian, the chairman of the concert’s organizing committee. "They all decided to contribute their time and perform because of the mission of this concert."
As the first major event organized by the LA-Yerevan Sister City Association (LAYSCA), the concert’s primary aim was to raise funds to support various projects currently being planned by the organization, according to LAYSCA board member and Vice President Baydzar Thomasian.
The concert, which Ispirian explained as a perfect way to bridge the two cities through music and culture, was the first major fund-raising initiative planned by the LAYSCA.
“The main goal of the concert was to raise funds for our school revitalization program, which will upgrade old and outdated furniture and equipment at a number of Yerevan’s schools,” explained LAYSCA President Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian. “The LAYSCA is also working to create the framework for an LA-Yerevan exchange program that will provide students and professionals in Yerevan with scholarship opportunities to study and intern in Los Angeles.”
“It’s because of these goals that I couldn’t resist helping with the concert," Movsessian explained. “I felt a sense of responsibility to help any organization that is working for the betterment of these two Armenian communities."
“This concert should be considered as a milestone in the cultural exchange of these two cities,” noted Los Angeles Vice Consul of Armenia Sahak Sargsyan. “Events like this not only help present Armenian culture to Los Angeles, but also to help raise funds and support for activities.”
One of the organization’s hallmark projects currently in the planning stages is a joint venture with the City of Los Angeles to build a Little Armenia Gateway. The Gateway will stand as a monument to Armenian culture and heritage in the heart of Hollywood and promote Armenian culture in Los Angeles.
Such projects are vital to the life of this community and it’s important for artists to lead by example and motivate the community to action, exclaimed Michael.
But good causes and ideas are only as good as the work that is put into making them happen, noted VISA’s lead singer K’noup, who explained his band’s consistent readiness to get involved with and support worthwhile projects like the LAYSCA.
The Los Angeles-Yerevan Sister City Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes friendly ties between Yerevan and Los Angeles, as well as between the United States and Armenia. Established in 2007, the organization works to foster cultural links, educational opportunities, commercial ties, and scientific collaboration between the two cities.