On September 21, 2016, at the Ealing Town Hall in London, a great cultural evening was initiated by the Tekeyan Trust London (TTL) and the TCA London branch to celebrate the 25th Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia. Many people amongst who the Right Revd Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate and Pontifical Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Armenia to the UK Armen Liloyan, other representatives of the Armenian Embassy, the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UK Euripides Evriviades, UK Parliament MP Steven Pound, diplomats, clergymen, social, political and cultural figures, representatives of the Armenian community as well as many Britons gathered to share common happiness and to enjoy the memorable evening of Armenian culture.
Mr Vartan Ouzounian, Honourary Secretary of the TTL opened the official ceremony and extended his heartfelt congratulations to all Armenians on the great occasion of the 25th Independence of Armenia. He made a brief historical review of Armenia starting the early 1990s and underscored the thorny but glorious road to Independence. V. Ouzounian also referred to the forty-year cultural and charitable activities of the TTL and the TCA London aimed at preserving and promoting Armenian cultural identity, as well as serving the Motherland.
In his congratulatory message Minister Armen Liloyan spoke about the 25 years of independence full of achievements and challenges. He highly appreciated the great contribution the Armenian Diaspora made to the formation of the Independent Republic. “Without the support and active participation of worldwide Armenians, the successful Motherland could hardly be imagined. The whole Armenian nation should continue uniting to make the country stronger, more prosperous and developing”, concluded A. Liloyan.
The celebration continued with a cultural program which had been rehearsed for eight months. The evening featured well-known London Armenian singers, dancers and poetry recitalists. The concert started with the newly formed Batikyan String Quartet playing music by Komitas and A. Khachaturian. The young composer and pianist Kristina Arakelyan performed “Toccata” by S. Jrbash and “Expromt” by A. Babajanyan. Tenor Sipan Olah sang “How joyfully pass our days on the hills” by E. Abrahamyan and “Sing for me” by A. Harutyunyan. The audience greatly appreciated the renowned violinist Ani Batikyan’s performance of “Aria” by Gh. Saryan and “Fantasia on an Armenian Theme” written by K. Arakelyan specifically for this concert. Mezzo-soprano Anais Heghoyan performed “Song of River Araks” by A. Achemyan and “Yerevan” by V. Kotoyan. As part of the cultural program the acclaimed actress, receiver of M. Khorenatsi medal and the Gold medal of the RA Ministry of Culture Jenia Nersisyan recited excerpts from the epos “David of Sasun” by H. Tumanyan. The first part of the concert was concluded with A. Achemyan’s “Evening Yerevan” edited by S. Olah and performed by A. Batikyan (violin), S. Olha (tenor), A. Heghoyan (mezzo-soprano) and K. Arakelyan (piano).
Akhtamar Armenian Performance Group (Artistic Director – A.Zakaryan) started the second part of the program. 18 young dancers perfectly performed “Bert”, “Krunkner”, “Karabagh” and “Enzeli” by A. Spendiaryan.
The four-part Komitas Choir (Chairman – V. Ouzounian) of the TTL
continued the concert and impressed the audience with high quality performance. The Choir co-founder, artistic director and conductor Sipan Olah together with the choir pianist Ella Babayan had been rehearsing with the choir since the beginning of the year to make it perfectly ready for the great event. 30 choir members all sang in tune some excerpts from the opera “Anush” by A. Tigranyan, as well as the songs “Yerevan Nights” by A. Dolukhanyan and “Khumar” by Komitas. One of the surprises at the concert was A. Achemyan’s song “Blossom Cherry Tree” edited by S. Olah and performed by the Komitas choir, soloist soprano Hayarpi Yeghikyan and Akhtamar Performance Group. “Armenian Folk Songs” by S. Shakaryan and edited by S. Olah was performed by the Komitas choir accompanied with Ani Batikian’s violin. Both the Armenian and English audience was touched with S. Lusikyan’s song “Free Armenia” edited by S. Olah and translated by L. Hayrapetyan. The concert was concluded with the Komitas Choir performance of E. Hovhannisyan’s “Sardarapat” which was greeted with a storm of applause.
During the evening, the congratulatory message of the RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan was read by Liana Hayrapetyan. The Minister highly praised the contribution of the British Armenian community to the development of Independent Armenia and the Armenian British relations. “The most important achievements of the Armenian nation within the last few centuries are the two Armenian states – the Independent Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic. The Armenian people are the creators of our Motherland. So, we all must save, strengthen and develop our country and pass it on to the future generations,” said the Minister.
The Right Revd Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate and Pontifical Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland concluded the celebration. Referring to the 25th Independence Day, he extended his best wishes to the whole nation and spoke about the unity of Armenia, Karabagh and the Diaspora. The Revd Bishop also highly praised the initiative of the Tekeyan Trust and the TCA to organize such a unique and successful evening which made a great impression on everyone.