SALT LAKE CITY–The Desert News has reported the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir will travel to Armenia in September to perform as part of the 1,700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity. The 100-member choir–which will also take along gifts of clothing–school and medical supplies–was invited to be the only U.S. representative at this year’s celebration–which also commemorates the 10th year of freedom the nation has experienced following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Nor Sarkissian–a former Armenian resident and a local employee of Huntsman Chemical–arranged for the January invitation after hearing the choir perform a Christmas concert.
The choir’s commitment to raise $750,000 in goods and funds to benefit Armenian orphans and schoolchildren will help bring hope to her people–said Sarkissian. The group will visit several orphanages during their tour of the country.
The choir has already begun gathering winter clothing to be shipped to Armenia–which has a climate similar to that of northern Utah. Several schools and orphanages will be specific targets for fund-raisers.
The Armenian minister of culture has also requested donations of musical instrumen’s for school children–including violins–cellos and other symphonic instrumen’s. It was announced that each of the 80 choir members planning to go and their family members will take a personal suitcase and another suitcase full of supplies.
The visit will be the latest in a series of Utah-based initiatives to help the Armenian people. Governor Mike Leavitt recently proclaimed April as Armenian Awareness Month.
Philanthropist Jon Huntsman has been helping rebuild Armenia’since the earthquake more than a decade ago. His efforts include a cement plant that has provided materials for homes and other buildings.