TCA Los Angeles Chapter Pays Tribute to Yervant Babayan

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By Kevork Keushkerian

GLENDALE, Calif. — Well known long time educator, prolific writer, public speaker and author of many books, Yervant Babayan, was honored jointly by the Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Los Angeles Chapter and the Armenian Aintabtzy Cultural Association on Sunday, March 7, at Glendale’s Central Library. The program was held under the auspices of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. A capacity crowd had filled the hall from early on to pay tribute to their teacher, principal and colleague.

The event honored Babayan for 75 years of public service to the Armenian communities in Syria, Lebanon and the United States and the presentation of his latest book, They Should Not Be Forgotten. Master of Ceremonies Parsegh Kartalian made the opening remarks, and then presented the honoree’s biography.

The chairman of TCA’s Los Angeles Chapter, Vatche Semerdjian, was notable among the host of speakers. Semerdjian first dwelled upon Babayan the writer and publisher, enumerating his many books published over more than half a century, then he presented his latest publication, They Should Not Be Forgotten. This book includes the biographies of many prominent figures in the Armenian communities in the Middle East and the United States; such as Kersam Aharonian, Antranig Antreasian, Alexander Saroukhan, Alec Kledjian, Noubar Agishian and Antranig Tzarougian.

Armenian General Benevolent Union’s Central Board of Directors member Sinan Sinanian took to the podium and reminisced about Babayan, who had been his principal. He then read AGBU President Berge Setrakian’s congratulatory letter and presented the honoree with the President’s Medal of Honor.

Takouhi Arzoumanian spoke on behalf of the Armenian Aintabtzy Cultural Association and Dr. Kevork

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Keshishian presented Babayan as an educator, public speaker and ADL party member. Frank Quintero, mayor of Glendale, congratulated Babayan on his many accomplishments as a cultural icon and then honored him with a recognition plaque. Next, Hagop Mardirossian presented ADL’s recognition letter and finally a congratulatory letter was read, which was sent by his former students, Serop and Maro Bedrosian from Houston, Texas.

Derderian rendered the Benediction, comparing him to the Steward of the fourth Sunday of Lent, who has served well his Lord and the community at large. Babayan’s closing remarks touched everyone in the audience as he said: “My wealth is my students, scattered all over the world.”

The musical interlude included Salpi Kerkounian on the flute and an instrumental trio composed of Sarkis Kurkdjian on the violin, Vahe Hairigian on the cello, and Alice Der Kevorkian on the piano. A light reception followed the program.

One-Woman Show

Lori Tatoulian’s hilarious one-woman show, “Everything You Need to Know about Armenians,” took place on Saturday, March 27, at the Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Beshgeturian Center in Altadena. It was a comedic journey through Armenian history from Noah’s landing on Mount Ararat to Armenians landing on the hills of Glendale.

After dinner was served, Vatche Semerdjian, chairman of TCA Los Angeles Chapter, took to the podium and welcomed every one to this unique show. He then invited Arno Yeretsian to introduce the comedian. It was a breath of fresh air to see young people take over the role of leadership in our organization, and to witness their success as they are trained to take on more complex responsibilities in the future.

Tatoulian created a virtual school, where she was the teacher and the audience became her students. Her interaction with the audience involved sing-alongs, questions and answers, witty remarks, and amusing pictures depicting the journey of Armenians throughout time, history, and geographic boundaries. For example, she described the Battle of Avarayr as a match between the famous California college rivals, USC and UCLA.

She began with classroom rules and regulations and then continued with more specific topics such as religion, language, and culture. She said that Armenians living in different countries were bound to be affected by local traditions and flavors of verbal expression. She mimicked how the French, the Middle Eastern, the Persian and the American Armenians would talk and communicate, leaving the guests mesmerized.

Tatoulian gave everyone a coffee break, after which she appeared as the substitute teacher. She claimed that the teacher had fallen ill and that she was going to conduct the class. This portion of the show began with her making predictions about a lady in the front row, whose coffee mug she pretended to read. She then gave a spelling test, sang a song she had written about what is shameful among Armenians, to the tune of Italian song That’s Amore, and on and on.

This show differed from the ones that we had experienced before, especially those of the well-known Krikor Satamian, but nonetheless it was entertaining and amusing. Congratulations to her for an hour of sheer ecstasy and to the Tekeyan Cultural Association for organizing this event.

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