MONTREAL — The Montreal chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) celebrated the closing event of the association’s 60th anniversary by honoring 10 renowned Canadian-Armenian artists.
Held in the prestigious 19th-century mansion Club Mount Stefen in downtown Montreal, the Awards Gala was held under the auspices of Quebec’s Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women Christine St- Pierre. Proceeds from the ceremony will go toward the establishment of a cultural fund to promote young talented Canadian-Armenian artists.
The caliber and the elegance of this event was definitely a first in the history of the Canadian-Armenian community. Never before had 10 such Canadian- Armenian icons been under one roof to be acknowledged and honored by their own community. Those who could not make it that night sent a DVD, written or verbal message highly appreciative of the organizers and their initiative.
Following a champagne reception and hors-d’oeuvres, the guests were ushered into the Elizabeth Ballroom of the mansion. The program, which lasted three and a half hours, included a lavish dinner.
The two MCs that hosted the evening, popular French TV and radio host and commentator of Armenian descent Patrick Mazbourian (in French and English) and a rising star, Raffi Yeretsian (in English, French and Armenian), conducted the show with humor and professionalism. In her DVD message. Minister St.-Pierre apologized for her absence and praised the efforts of bridging cultures in a multicultural society. A brief DVD projection of the 10 honorees was then screened embellished by the lively music of Ara Gevorkyan.
The award-winning novelist Agop J. Hacikyan, whose books are translated into a score of languages; the best coloratura soprano of Canada and winner of the Metropolitan Prize Aline Kutan; the only Armenian admitted to the Canadian Royal Academy and one of the best known painters in Canada Armand Tatossian; internationally renowned sculptor Arto Tchakmakchian; worldfamous filmmaker Atom Egoyan; lyric soprano and winner of four Juno awards Isabel Bayrakdarian; founder of Canadian contemporary music and educator Maryvonne Kendergian; violinist and conductor of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Peter Oundjian; composer, conductor and director of Montreal’s Conservatory of Music Raffi Armenian; and children’s singer Raffi (Cavoukian), were introduced by a DVD projection of 2-3 minutes each.
Hacikian, Tatossian, Kutan and Armenian received the Tekeyan Trophy, a creation by Tchakmakchian — a bronze statuette symbolizing the confident artist standing tall in the world surrounding him, united by cultural ties. The sculptor himself was awarded by the Prize of the Ministry of Culture by the minister’s representative, Kevin Cogland. The artists that were not present — Egoyan, Bayrakdarian, Oundjian, Raffi and Kendergian (the 94 year old music educator was hospitalized a few days earlier) — received the trophy through persons appointed by them.
Slightly modified versions of the trophy were awarded to two sponsors of the event: Souren Adjemian of Toronto and Hagop Vartivarian of New York. Brief comments of appreciation were offered by the recipients, by the Chargé-d’affaires of Armenia Arman Akopian, by the chairperson and the moving force of the organizing committee Karine Vehouni, by Vartivarian and by the chairman of the TCA Arto Berge Manookian. In his DVD message, Egoyan reminisced about the role of the TCA when he produced his first film, “Next of Kin.”
Among other dignitaries were Concordia University President Dr. Judith Woodsworth, Chair of Department of Education of Concordia University Prof. Arpi Hamalian, International Vice President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and President of Montreal TCA Dr. Arshavir Gundjian.
A booklet was also published on this occasion containing messages by dignitaries, a historical perspective of the Tekeyan Cultural Association, brief biographies of the honored artists and lists of benefactors and organizers.