Ararat Center News
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(NEW YORK, NY) – “Exquisite does not even begin to describe the elegance and beautiful detail of these Armenian costumes displayed at the Armenian Heritage Collection show,” described one attendee.

This event, presented by the Ararat Center Board of Directors of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), was held at the Kavookjian Hall in New York City on October 29. It was the first time in 25 years that this collection was brought back to the New York Metropolitan area.

The Armenian Heritage Collection features 26 hand-crafted costumes, which were made in the late 1970s by three skilled and dedicated women from Detroit, MI, with a vision to retain the historical accuracy and the proud traditions of their ancestors. The collection of St. John’s Armenian Church in Detroit and the Armenian General Benevolent Union, is presented to the public in the form of a production that incorporates the music, culture and life-styles of the Armenian people.

The audience’s attention was indeed captured by the details of these superb costumes gleaming with gold threading, ornamental designs and rich colors infused within the materials, all while taking a journey back through time in celebration of the various Armenian regions in which the costumes represented.

The young men and women who modeled the clothing were chosen specific to the costume size and design. These talented volunteers, who rehearsed several hours throughout the week under the direction of Paulette Apkarian, included: Sharis Aiazian, Mary Ajamian, Maria Barsoumian, Aram Bashian, Sevan Chorluyan, Nickolay Danev, Elizabeth Demaria, Nairi Hartounian, Lori Hovsepian, Zabel Isassi, Arno Isnar, Emily Karian, Ara Kasparian, Nairi Kasparian, Jackie Kazarian, Ashley Kechian, Lia Khatchadourian, Vramshabouh Kherlopian, Artin Manikyan, Melissa Stepanian, Nicole Stepanian, Heather Stolnick, Aleen Tovmasian, Stanzi Vaubel, Kristen Vosbikian, and Alina Zoraian. These models performed like professionals on staging that was draped by rugs donated for the evening by James Tufenkian.

Rose Najarian-Kedeshian and Dr. Sam Mikaelian served as hosts for the evening, guiding guests through the flawless program and sharing heart-warming insights into the hope that’s held for the purpose of the Ararat Center.

Evening Incorporates Armenian Dance & Food
The audience continued to be entertained by the Antranig Dance Ensemble which followed the Heritage Collection showing. More than two dozen dancers filled the stage to exuberantly perform several Armenian dance routines.

However, even prior to the Heritage show, guests were awestruck as they entered the Diocesan hall to be greeted by an extravagant exhibit of food catered by Suren Kilerciyan of Cornetta’s Restaurant and Marina in Piermont, NY. To the right of the entrance, an enormous canoe abundantly filled with seafood delights was featured. In the midst of the cold hors d’oeuvres section was a majestic ice-carving of Mount Ararat with Noah’s Ark sitting on top. Then to the left of the hall were various carving and hot stations that included homemade manti as well as other mouth-watering Armenian delicacies. The evening’s feast was topped off with scrumptious Armenian desserts and beautifully displayed fruits presented to each table.

Sponsors Add to Event’s Success
The success of the affair was not only attributed to the many volunteers who worked effortlessly to assure the show would go on, but also to the generosity of numerous sponsors. The Ararat Center wishes to acknowledge Carolyn Mugar who graciously underwrote the evening as the official Event Sponsor. In addition, Thomas & Carol Ashbahian, Ara & Lorig Chorluyan, Karnig & Karen Durgarian, Stephen & Nancy Hovnanian, Dr. Sarkis & Rose Najarian Kedeshian, and Randy & Corinne Sapah-Gulian served as Heritage Sponsors. Costume Sponsors included William & Florence Cirino, Zaven & Arline Dadekian, Gap International Incorported, Thomas & Dora Verne Garabedian, Rev. Fr. Caring & Yn. Arpene Hallajian, Dr. Nabet & Suzanne Kasabian, David & Ani Kasparian, James & Sandra Leitner, Dr. Sam Mikaelian, Jon & Charlene Simonian, Joseph & Diana Strazzulla.

Among the guests and sponsors that attended this event, the Ararat Center wished to encourage participation from the Armenian youth throughout the Diocese. To do so, raffles for complimentary tickets were held during each St. Vartan Camp session. Congratulations to the raffle winners Garo Balian of Darien, CT; Raffi Bhardwaj of Glastonbury, CT; Zachary Haydenek of Mansfield, MA; Christine Najarian of Far Hills, NJ; Christine Parnagian of Cranston, RI; Derek Voskanyan of Watertown, MA.

Ararat Center Benefits from Show
The Ararat Youth & Conference Center, located in Upstate New York, is considered the crown jewel of the Diocese by many. Purchased in January of 2004, this majestic 65-acre facility has already seen two successful seasons, including six weeks of the St. Vartan Summer Camp program. The use of this facility is endless as several groups, both within and outside of the Armenian communities, have already discovered its potential.

The Heritage Collection showing was the first major fundraising effort by the Ararat Center Board of Directors. This event, which illustrated Armenian history through costumes, tied in perfectly to the vision of the Ararat Center. The buildings and recreational areas at this facility have recently been renamed to incorporate Armenian regions including Aintab, Marash, Adana, Gesaria, Malatya, Sepastia, Kharpert, Erzerum, Bitlis, Ani, Van and Dikranagerd. These areas will serve as a “walk through history” with the eventual posting of facts, figures, villages and more found within each region.