FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Friends of Onnik & John organized a tribute dinner to honor two of the community’s most beloved Armenian performers: Onnik Dinkjian and John Berberian, on Saturday, September 27, to a sold out capacity with more than 300 people.
Although the event was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., to everyone’s amazement, excited guests started arriving 30 minutes early and clamoring for photos with the two guests of honor. The champagne hour lasted nearly two hours as four generations of friends and family mixed and mingled, hugged and mugged for the photographer and videographer capturing all the special moments the night would hold. The feeling in the room was palpable as many in the room had over 60 years of shared milestones and memories among them. It was a magical evening by all accounts.
A very traditional Armenian meze, shish kebab dinner and dessert followed. As dinner service started winding down, some touching retrospectives of the lives of the two musicians began. Nikki Berberian-Whittlesey, Kristi Berberian-Markarian and Adam Berberian presented a beautiful reflection of their father’s life, taking turns to speak. This was followed by Ara Dinkjian, who presented a moving tribute to his father, Onnik.
The evening culminated with a special and well-deserved honor. The honorees were presented with a formal proclamation from the Armenian Minister of Diaspora for their worldwide promotion and as maestros of the preservation of traditional Armenian folk songs.
Berberian and Dinkjian were visibly moved throughout the evening and each took the microphone to express their sincere and humble gratitude for the honor presented to them by their Armenian community.