HyeAID2 Continues To Show The Southland’s Determination to Help Syrian Armenians
HOLLYWOOD—The Dolby Theatre has now been imprinted in the Armenian psyche as yet another location for showing the determination of southern Californians’ that they still care for the survival of the Armenians in Syria. Nearly 3,000 supporters, 300 dancers, entertainers from Armenia and the southland and 56 sponsors came together to raise funds for the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) with the HyeAID2 concert on June 9, 2013.
Since October 2012, SARF has transferred $500,000 to Syrian Armenians. Following a SARF Executive Committee (EC) meeting after the concert, Zaven Khanjian, the Chairperson of the SARF EC, reported that the next transfer would be for $150,000.
A thank you letter from the Syrian Armenian Committee for Urgent Relief and Rehabilitation dated June 1, 2013, in Aleppo, Syria, published in the concert program confirmed that the effort is reaching those in need in Aleppo, Damascus, on the western coast (Lattakia, Kessab), and Jezireh. Funding is being provided for food essentials, health care, housing and education. The letter also hoped that the efforts will continue to the same vigor for the sake of the existence of the Armenian community in Syria.
Manoug Seraydarian, as emcee, welcomed everyone seated on all four levels of the Dolby Theatre and invited Zaven Khanjian, Chairperson of the SARF Executive Committee, to the stage. Khanjian welcomed the guests and speaking in a poetic fashion in Armenian, remarked that the purpose of the concert is to help the enduring Syrian Armenians with songs and music as symbols of our wishes for light, hope and prayers for peace, and with each call and scream it is an invitation for the white dove with an olive tree branch in its beak to come back and perch on the facade of the fort, the dome of the church or the minaret of the mosque in Syria.
The event dignitaries included the SARF member representatives including Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Prelate of the Western Diocese, Most Rev. Bishop Mikael Mouradian of the Armenian Eparchy in United States and Canada, the Western Prelacy Prelate was on an overseas trip and was represented with Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, Rev. Joe Matossian of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Avedik Izmirlian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation of Western USA, Gabriel Moloyan of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party-Western U.S.A., Hagop Nazarian of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Lena Bozoyan of the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Krikor Karaguezian of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Manoug Choukhajian of the Hamazkayin of Western USA, sponsoring Armenian school principals, event sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Eddie and Talin Amroyan and Mr. & Mrs. Krikor & Marlene Yerevanian, media representatives, and volunteers who provided technical services.
The Gevorkian Dance Academy, with Directors Vartan and Siranush Gevorkian, and Choreographer Sona Gevorkian, filled the stage with scores of children. Their excellent performances ranged from the fun dances by the very young children to the vigorous acrobatics of “Bert” (fort) with eight male dancers standing on the shoulders of the other eight in a circle configuration. The dances evoked both joy and sadness, particularly with the massive “Genocide” performance, which was based on the poetry “Hoyots Danteakane” by Hovhannes Shiraz, read by Nune Avetisyan, music by Arthur Meschian and Elon, with solo dancers Sona and Ninel Gevorkian. The Gevorkian Dance Academy reaffirmed that Armenian dance was alive and well, with colorful costumes and boys and girls of all ages giving their best to an audience who appreciated their efforts.
The anticipation and excitement was infectious for the soloists who traveled from Armenia to perform at the concert. Their performances, along with those who live in the Los Angeles Basin will be dearly remembered. They were an amazing group, who could switch from nostalgia to delightfully fun solos, as if to match the changing colors of the stage.
Soloist Leyla Saribekyan performed some of her own songs, “Yergir Hayreni” and “Hayortiner Miagam” (the latter lyrics were by Sergey Haroutunian), and “Zinvori Mor Yerge” by Robert Amirkhanyan. Silva Hakobyan was surrounded by the Gevorkian Dance Academy dancers as she sang “Sasna Bar” and “Ashkharhi Hayerov” by Mane Hakobyan. She also performed “Tnits Pakhle em” by Mane Hakobyan.
Andre, as someone who lived through the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, connected with the audience worried about the Armenian community in Syria. He performed “Hayastans” and “Horizonner”. The Aram Avagyan’s Music Studio had a group of six young singers perform “Hayastan Ashkar”, while Avagyan accompanied them on the keyboard.
The trio led by Rouben Haroutyunyan performed “Hovern Engan” on the duduk. Harout Pamboukjian showed his dynamic style with a performance of “Menk kich enk sagayn mez hye en asum” lyrics by Barouyr Sevag and music by Levon Katrjian. Razmik Mansouryan performed “Patrangi Teverov” by Marine Ales. Hovhannes Shahbazyan performed “Horovel” by Komidas, and Armenchik performed “Ashkharhi Hayer”.
The concert concluded by Leyla Saribekyan’s “Arakadzi Shurchbar” which portrayed the unity of the Armenian people. The Honored Artist of Republic of Armenia asked the audience to stand up and hold hands in the spirit of collective solidarity with the Syrian Armenians.
For over three hours, the concert was a grand event to show the great love that this diverse community in Southern California has for the people who are suffering in Syria. They came together with the hope that their performances will uplift the spirits both here and in Syria, and provide sustenance for the physical existence in Syria.
The following churches, charities and organizations came together to form the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund: Armenian Catholic Eparchy in North America; Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; Western Diocese of the Armenian Church; Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Armenian General Benevolent Union; Armenian Missionary Association of America; Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S.A.; Armenian Democratic Liberal Party; Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Western U.S.A.; and Social Democrat Hunchakian Party-Western U.S.A. The web site address follows: www.SyrianArmenianReliefFund.org.