PICO RIVERA, Calif.—On Friday, October 21, an enormous crowd gathered at Armenian Mesrobian School to celebrate 25 years of independence in Armenia and Artsakh as Mesrobian students performed during their annual Armenian Cultural Night.
“Everyone had an amazing night as our student body showcased the Armenian culture with songs, poems, and dances,” shared Mesrobian High School Senior Alex Manoukian, the school’s Student Council President and the evening’s emcee.
“Part of our school’s mission is to keep Armenian culture thriving and spread the love of our people to the student body. Without our culture and language we have no homeland,” said Mesrobian Senior David Khachatryan who gave the evening’s student message Khachatryan welcomed all the event’s guests.
Special guests included former educators from Mesrobian School, educators from other schools, and local Armenian community organizations.
Armenian Cultural Night is an annual event organized by Mesrobian’s Armenian Department along with the Parent Faculty Club. The Armenian Department incorporated Armenian Studies education into the production and preparation of the evening, as well as the program itself.
Armenian Language teachers honed their students’ language and recitation skills by working closely with their Armenian language teachers Shaghig Artinian, Marina Cherchian, Arpy Hamparian, and Zepur Ohannesian.
The evening’s traditional Armenian folk dances for High School were choreographed by Mesrobian parent Eliz Grigoryan. Middle School and Elementary dances were choreographed by Mesrobian Armenian Language teacher Shaghig Artinian and her husband Koko Artinian, both dancers and choreographers. Before moving to the United States from Armenia early last year, Shaghig and Koko Artinian were well-known within the Syrian-Armenian community’s Hamazkayin dance groups.
Artwork by Studio Art students was displayed, including an “Armenian Folk Photobooth,” created under the guidance of Mesrobian art teacher Malvina Mkrian.
Students dressed in authentic Armenian folk costumes, including the High Schooler’s costumes which were handmade and sewn with love and pride by Grigoryan.
Food booths were run by Mesrobian parents and included traditional Armenian food, such as Harissa and desserts. Vendor booths ranged from mixed nuts to jewelry and included the popular artistic creations of Mesrobian Alumna Arpi Krikorian.
A slideshow behind stage displayed photo memories from last year’s Junior Trip to Armenia, providing context to the evening’s celebrations and giving the current Mesrobian Seniors pangs of nostalgia from the Armenian homeland.
“Our culture is alive and well,” shared former Mesrobian Armenian Language and Armenian History teacher Khatoune Pakradouni, “In a way, the evening reminded me of the Cultural Nights we used to host when I was working at Mesrobian, with the same enthusiasm and excitement. Our sacred work of educating students in the Armenian language and culture is clearly continuing at Mesrobian. That makes me feel very happy. What made me especially happy was seeing the look on the students’ faces as they were performing and the enjoyment of their proud parents. I could see clearly how much fun they were having and how happy they were!”
“Hearing those words from Mrs. Pakradouni meant so much to me,” explained Mrs. Cherchian. “I am happy that she and others enjoyed the Cultural Night, which our students learned so much from.”
In her closing remarks, Parent Faculty Club President Ani Cinquegrani thanked parents and students and community members.
“The success of this evening is the result of the hard work and dedication of Mesrobian and the tireless volunteers. Of course Cultural Night would not have been complete without our honored guests, family members, and community.” she said.
Below is the program detailing the performances by students:
- “Mer Hayrenik,” the Armenian National Anthem, performed by the Choir (Elementary), with recitations during the singing performed by Victoria Cinquegrani (11th) and Serli Shanlian (11th)
- Poem “Hayasdan Aselis,” by Hamo Sahyan, performed by Anush Ghoogasian (11th)
- “Yerk Azadootyan,” by Mikael Nalbandian, performed by Alex Manoukian (12th), Jonathan Cinquegrani (10th), Alik Artinian (7th), Soseh Keuroghlian (4th), Saro Manuelian (1st), Mher Manuelian (K), and Aram Manuelian (Pre-K) throughout the evening’s program.
- “Mer Anounn eh Haygagan Panag,” music by Armen Mardirosian, lyrics by Hagop Rupinian, performed by Zaven Savoyan, Armen Papikyan, Araz Kelleyan & Choir
- Song “Mesrob Mashdots,” performed by Ron and Goharik Gabriel Pre-School & Pre-Kindergarten
- Dance “Hayasdani Yerk,” performed by 1st Grade
- Song “Menk Al,” performed by Kindergarten
- Song “Mesho Aghchig” & Nazbar, solo performance by Eva Mooradian (12th) and dance by High School Girls
- Poem “Sassountsineri Bareh,” by Kevork Emin, performed by Vazrig Yaralian (8th)
- Dance “Eem Anouneh Hayasdan Eh,” performed by 2nd and 3rd Grade
- Duet “Harousd Eyir Sennengatsar,” by Ashough Sheram, performed by Armen Khachigian and Noah Perumean.
- Dance “Hay Enk Menk,” performed by 4th Grade