CARDIFF — On November 6, 2016, a unique joint concert of the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, founded in 1964, and the three-year-old Komitas Choir of the Tekeyan Trust London was held in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The long-awaited event was initiated by Vartan Ouzounian, the Chairman of the Komitas Choir, Sipan Olah, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Choir, Michael Pepper, the representative of the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, the Choir Conductor David Young and John Torossian, the Chairman of the Parochial Church Council in Wales.
Before the concert the Komitas Choir with the guests from London visited the Armenian khachkar (cross-stone) in Cardiff, the memorial honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The great concert symbolized the Welsh and Armenian friendship and aimed at the promotion of the choral music and the cultural heritage of the two nations. The musical event was unprecedented since the Komitas Choir was the first Armenian choir to perform in Cardiff.
Present at the concert were clergymen, political figures, musicians, intellectuals, representatives of the Armenian cultural associations in London, the Welsh audience from Cardiff as well as Armenians from Bath, Tetbury, Plymouth, Salisbury, and Swindon.
The concert program had been worked out in details by conductors S. Olah and D. Young so that the songs and their interpretations would clearly present the history, culture, traditions and beliefs of the Armenian and Welsh nations to the audience.
In the first part of the concert the Komitas Choir under the baton of Sipan Olah, performed only Armenian songs (“Blue Nights of Yerevan” by A. Dolukhanyan, “Cherry Tree Blossom” by Al. Achemyan, soloist H. Yeghikyan, “My Pretty Lover” by Komitas, “Ampi Takits” and “Hambardzum” from the opera “Anush” by A. Tigranyan, “Armenian Folk Songs” by S. Shakaryan. The first part of the concert was concluded with the joint performance of the Komitas Choir and the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir which impressed the audience with high quality performance in Armenian. 85 singers of the joint choirs sang in tune the songs “New Armenia” by S. Lusikyan and “Sardarapat” by E. Hovhannisyan.
The second part of the concert started with the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir under the baton of David Young. The choir performed songs in English and Welsh (“Lisa Lan” by G. Webber, “I Love My Love” by G. Hoist, “Four Welsh Folk Songs” by W. Mathias, “Justorum Animae” by R. Vaughan who was present at the concert. Once again both the Armenian and Welsh audience was surprised at the concert, since the last two songs “Suo Gan” by P. Ayres and “Y Tangnefeddwyr” by E. Jones were performed in the Welsh language by the Komitas Choir and the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir.
At the end of the event, the Right Revd Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate and Pontifical Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland, together with Revd Father Torgom Tonoyan held a special gift-giving ceremony. Singing Armenian medieval psalms, they presented a book to the Director of the Wales Temple of Peace Stephen Thomas for his great contribution to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Wales. The ceremony continued with the blessing of an icon dedicated to the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The icon was presented to Canon Patrick Thomas for his written works on the Armenian nation, Armenia and Karabakh.
All the funds raised during the concert and the fundraising dinner will go to the Syrian charity to help one more Armenian family to move from Syria to Armenia.