Mother’s Day Concert by “Aleppo” CCO

A Tribute to Mothers:

The Month of March is representative of the bloom of spring flowers in the awakening nature. It is not a coincidence that the same month has become a trademark for new beginnings, through the celebration of international women’s day by global organizations, government bodies and individuals alike.

Throughout Syria, this particular month has been dedicated to the image of the mother as well. As such, the newly established “Aleppo” Compatriotic Charitable Organization took it upon itself to revisit the Syrian tradition of commemorating the mother figure, organizing it’s first public event which took the form of a concert which highlighted the honour of being a woman, as a wife and childbearer, as well as payign tribute to the suffering that has been inflicted through the crisis of the Syrian war.

The event, held under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees Affairs Administration, took place on March 26, 2014, at 19:00, within the Komitas Chamber Music House.

Ani Balkhian, President of the “Aleppo” CCO, gives the opening message wherein she highlights the organization’s roots stemming from the fierce warfare that has put the community into crisis in Syria, and the need to secure the necessary aid, whether through finances or otherwise, for those affected by this tragic turn of events. The possibility of having lodging set aside for refugees flooding in from Syria was also stated.

Following this speech, the Volunteer Women’s Committee Chair, Mrs Shaghig Pyuzantian presented the mother figure in Arabic, as a pillar of strength on which society is built. To be a mother is to be a fountain of life, while the suffering Syrian woman was personified as struggle herself, an image of sacrifice and dedication and, most importantly, of love.

The organization’s youth wing’s Chair of External Affair, Mr Sarkis Balkhian, speaking in the English language, placed the mother figure under the spotlight, stating that this event is dedicated to all the mothers of the world, integral to the organization itself, with an active role in shaping a child’s education, discipline and, ultimately, the future.

Referring to the Syrian conflict, he stated that victory can only be realized in Syria through the suffering and deprivation experience by the Syrian mothers. In all three speeches, a mother’s role in shaping the generations was expounded and explored, particularly that of the Syrian mother.

The following speech was given by Mr Christoph Bierwith, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who welcomed the congregation and honored the woman as a mother and the necessity of her existence in one’s life. Building on this speech, UNHCR External Relations Officer Anahid Hayrabedian and UNHCR Legal Affairs Officer Kate Pooler spoke about the virtues of a mother and presented Chairperson of “Aleppo” CCO Mrs Dzovig Baytarian with an award in commemoration of Mother’s Day.

The day’s agenda deserves special attention as it comprised multiple local and Syrian-Armenian talented artists.

The first part of the agenda included Syrian-Armenian pianist, Sarkis Tufenkjian’s breathtaking talent, wherein those present were treated to Rakhmaninov’s “Elegya” and A. Babajanyan’s “Kiprichyo” pieces.

Hagop Fakjian presented Siamanto’s “A Mother’s Dream” prose in Armenian, while an Arabic rendering of another such poem was given by Mher Keshishian. Berna Karagyulian sang her heart out with “You Raise Me Up”.

Syrian-Armenian young adults took part in a short film wherein they shared their sincere thoughts and wishes on Mother’s Day. The audience then was presented with two Syrian-Armenian mothers who had lost children in the crisis of the Syrian war.  This was followed by a performance by the National Opera and Ballet Academic Theater’s song artist, Syrian-Armenian Mr Boghos Beyazbegian, where we sang Saharouni’s “To My Mother” and “Kurtis Kanta Per Me”.

UNHCR national follower, Armenian singer Zaruhi Babayan, presented “Spring Memories”, after which the youth choir joined in to create beautiful renditions of “Hope and Love” and “To my Mother”. The well-known artist spoke sincerely to the mothers in the crowd and congratulated their Mother’s Day with much aplomb.

The program continued with Syrian-Armenian Levon Karagyulian’s Arabic language “Maoutini” meaning My Homeland, accompanied by Duduk player Artak Asatryan and a silent film about Syria playing in the background. This was followed by a presentation of donors from during that day.

The last section of the event was dedicated to the “Dagharan” Music Ensemble, under the direction of Setrak Yerganian.

The National Opera and Ballet Academic Theater after A. Spendaryan’s solo singer, Syrian-Armenian Berj Karazian, brought his contribution to the event by singing “Lara-Granada”, while Dagharan solo singers Hasmik Asadrian and Hovsep Nshanian joined in. This was followed by “Where are you my mother?”, “Yerkshar”, “Tsayn Me Hnchets”, “Veri Arderoum Karin”, “Cilicia”, and “Hoy im Nazan”.

With the final notes sung came the end of the event, where in a special note of gratitude was spoken:

To UNHCR, Mr Christoph Bierwirth in particular,

To the Komitas Chamber Music House staff, Principal Arman Tsaturyan in particular,

To “Dagharan” Music Ensemble, Director Setrak Yerganian in particular,

UNHCR National Artist, Zaruhi Babayan,

Composer Sarkis Atamian,

Painter Nigol Kuyumjian,

Diroector Arthur Saripegian

Operator Vahe Hagopian

Hagop Fakjian, Hahop Kazanjian, Razmik Dirarian, Baghdadian family, as well those who took part in the event, including: Lilit Pandourian, Diana Karazian, and all those organizations who extended a helping hand in making this event a success.

The event ended with the Mother See of Echmiadzin’s spiritual father and Aleppo’s long-time leader Archbishop Datev Sarkissian speaking his heartfelt praises for mothers and congratulated Mother’s Day as a whole.