BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN EAGLE ROCK–The Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School chorus–under the direction of maestro Professor Ara Manash–performed to a packed audience of 800 last Sunday at Occidental College’s Thorne Auditorium.
The more than 90-member chorus–accompanied by a full orchestra took center stage from the moment it began to sing–captivating the audience through renditions of folk–national and patriotic songs.
The two-part program demonstrated the students’ versatility in performing traditional Armenian songs and the Prof. Manash’s adeptness in arrangement and direction.
The first part featured such favorites as "Lorig" and "Hoy Nar" and solemn renditions of Gomidas and other traditional Armenian composers and song writers.
The program began with the performance of the American and Armenian national anthems–which segued into the performance of the Alex Pilibos anthem.
On behalf of the organizing committee Pilibos teacher Garbis Shekherdemian welcomed the audience and thanked Prof. Manash for his commitment and dedication in providing and teaching a new generation about the importance of keeping Armenian music alive and the relevant role music plays in cultural preservation and the sustenance of the Armenian heritage.
Shekherdemian then invited school principal Viken Yacoubian–who in his welcoming remarks outlined the various successes the school has had during the past academic year–among them the school wins at county and state science fairs–and the most recent–the participation of Pilibos student Amir Kasouha in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington.
He counted the concert as one of the great inroads made by the school and thanked Sourp Garabed Armenian Church Board of Trustees and Mr. and Mrs. Haig Setrakian for–once again–sponsoring the concert.
Yacoubian also thanked Pilibos teacher Lusine Gasparian for her dedication and devotion to making the concert a reality.
The Pilibos principal also outlined the important role Prof. Manash has played in educating and instilling an Armenian identity through his understanding of music.
The second part of the program featured a variety of old and new patriotic songs. From the solemn "Zartir Vortiak," to the vibrant "Menk Angeghdz Zinvor Enk" and "Getashen," the students excited the audience to applaud and in conclusion appreciate the concert via several standing ovations.
The upbeat and resonant sounds of the Pilibos students provided unique detour from the usual musical events and reinforced the community’s trust in the Armenian schools for nurturing and educating an generation aware of its national identity and heritage.
Pilibos school officials also stated that the concert was being recorded for a possible Compact Disk release in the near future.
Alex Pilibos School–its chorus and conductor Ara Manash must be applauded for their hard work.