Fiftieth-Anniversary Celebrations of the Founding of AGBU Montreal Chapter Culminate with Gala Banquet

Montreal_Anniv_02 (Small) The series of programs dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the founding
of the AGBU Montreal Chapter, which began with a special celebration and
ceremony honoring its past chairmen on March 9, culminated in a gala
banquet, which took place on May 18, 2008, in Chateau Vaudreuil with
some 300 guests in attendance.
As with the previous events, the banquet enjoyed the patronage of the
Primate of the Diocese of Canada, His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian.
AGBU President Berge Setrakian presided in absentia, while Arden and
Kristine Dervishian served as honorary godparents. Remarks befitting the
occasion were delivered by Boghos Kichian, Chairman of the Jubilee
Committee; Garo Nshanian, Master of Ceremonies; Harout Shitilian,
Chairman of AGBU Montreal Executive Committee; Armen Bechakjian,
Executive Committee Chairman; and Artoun Hamalian, AGBU Director of
Education.
A lovely musical program was presented, consisting of a nice selection
of operatic arias performed by soprano Isabelle Metwalli, tenor Eli
Berberian, one of the promising young talents in the Montreal community,
as well as bass-baritone Garo Nshanian.
On this occasion, the sum of $100,000 was secured for the construction
of the AGBU Youth Complex on the grounds of the Alex Manoogian Center.
Former chapter chairman Boghos Kichian was presented with a special
memento in appreciation of his considerable effort in connection with
the jubilee celebration. In addition, the AGBU Central Board of
Directors, in appreciation of the $150,000-plus donations made to the
AGBU Montreal Chapter by national benefactors Jirair and Eliz
Dervishian, honored them with the title “AGBU Benefactor” and a special
certificate. In the absence of Jirair Dervishian, the certificate was
handed to his wife and their grandson, Jirair Arden Dervishian, by
Artoun Hamalian from the New York Central Office.
Nshanian then invited on stage the honorary godfather of the banquet,
Arden and Kristine Dervishian, as well as godfathers Arto and Minush
Artinian, Vatche and Ani Bechakjian, Diran and Sylvia Boyadjian, Jirair
and Eliz Dervishian, Mike and Karin Giragosian, Houri Hakimian, Harma
and Janine Kulian, Alex Gunther, Noubar and Hera Mouradian, and Aram and
Belinda Yacoubian, who received 50th-anniversary souvenirs.
The lighting of the candles on the 50th-anniversary cake was done in the
presence of His Eminence the Primate; Arman Hagopian; Artoun Hamalian;
Armen Bechakjian; former chapter chairmen, Boghos Kichian, Megerdich
Malkhasian, Garbis Aposhian, Vicken Attarian, as well as members of the
Montreal Chapter Executive Committee, Aram Yacoubian, Levon Kavaljian,
Kevork Piloyan, Mike Giragosian, Sylva Mangasarian and Harout Shitilian.
Published on this occasion was a Golden Book, an album-memorial book
containing a brief history of the chapter.
Honoring Past Chairmen
The celebration that was held on March 9 in the Alex Manoogian Center
began with a display of panels depicting the history of the AGBU
Montreal Chapter. A more extensive presentation thereof, including
slides highlighting the cultural, athletic, youth, scouting and Golden
Age group activities, was then given by three past chapter chairmen:
Megerdich Malkhasian, Eddie Yeghiayan and Boghos Kichian.
AGBU scouts Lori Boyajian and Razmig Barbarian recited poems by Vahan
Tekeyan. Well-known singer Arthur Apkarian and his band performed a
bunch of popular and patriotic songs, much to the delight of the guests.
Vahan Kazanjian, a veteran member of AGBU and one of the former chairmen
of the athletic committee, read the heartfelt messages of former
chairmen Garbis Aposhian, Vicken Attarian and Rita Kuyumjian.  Shahe
Tanashian, director of Manuel Keoseyan Armenological Studies, spoke on
behalf of the organization’s youth. Current Executive Committee Chairman
Armen Bechakjian expressed gratitude to all those who had a part in the
organization of the event, as well as conveying congratulations from
executive secretary Rahel Ourfalian. Arshavir Gundjian, Vice President
of the AGBU Central Board of Directors, also expressed words of
congratulations on this occasion, as did the Primate, Bishop Bagrat
Galstanian, whose benediction preceded the reception ending the evening.
More 50th-Anniversary Festivities
The 50th-anniversary celebrations of the AGBU Montreal Chapter continued
with a performance of 51 members of the Shushi Dance Ensemble of St.
Vartan Cathedral, New York, under the direction and choreography of Seta
Paskalian-Kantardjian, at Vanier College on April 12.  This event, which
was initiated by chapter chairman Armen Bechakjian and chaired by Boghos
Kichian, featured stellar performances by prominent musical director
Andranik Mouradian, and renowned singers Hovig Krikorian, Armen
Hovannesyan, Salpi Mailian, Rima Karapetyan, and Sosie Avakian
Mardirossian, along with a moving poetic recitation by Noune Avetisyan.
Haig and Shake Majarian sponsored the performance. Krikor and Rose
Dikranian’s generous contribution greatly helped to make it possible.
Still another event marking the chapter’s 50th anniversary was the
Mother’s Day banquet featuring the one-man show of veteran
director-actor Krikor Satamian. This most successful program, which was
attended by several hundred people, was held on May 11 in the Arshavir
and Nadia Gundjian Hall of the AGBU Alex Manoogian School. During the
banquet portion of the program, the following mothers were honored:
Vartouhi Avannes, Mary Kulian, Araxie Hakimian, Alice Manoogian, Eliz
Nahabedian, Lucy Boghosian, Ani Soukiassian, Sirvart Soukiassian and
Makrouhi Vasilian. Also honored was the chapter’s executive secretary,
Rahel Ourfalian.
Other Local Events
Following on the heels of these anniversary events were the commencement
exercises of the Armen-Quebec AGBU Alex Manoogian School and the “kef”
night organized by the AGBU Montreal Dance Club.
The commencement exercises, which were held on Father’s Day, June 15,
not only marked the end of the “Year of Excellence” but also were
equivalent to a true cultural festival dedicated to the centennial of
the birth of William Saroyan. On this occasion as well, school principal
Robert Kechayan informed that new computers had been installed in each
of the classrooms and that the nursery section would be complemented
with an annex, allowing for the admission of more pupils in the
kindergarten division. This year, there were 23 graduates from the
eighth grade, bringing the total number of graduates to roughly 2,000 in
the school’s 38-year history.
Finally, the “Keff Night” on June 16 constituted the spring season’s
finale of the AGBU Montreal Dance Club. Contributing to the evening’s
success were Jasmin, the Baladi dance teacher of the club; ballroom
dance teacher, Mrs. Gurlain; Hagop and Anahid Amirian; and club leader,
longtime AGBU volunteer Hasmik Khachikian.

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