Let The Trumpets Sound!


By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

YEREVAN — “The world is changing, and so are human values. Only music remains a constant spiritual island.” These wise words are those of Diana Hovhannisyan, director of the Anahit Tsitsikian Music School, in Yerevan. In a message to readers of the school’s home page (http://anahitmusicschool.com/ ), she points to the responsibility of parents and teachers in guaranteeing that the younger generation preserve “timeless human values,” and emphasizes the crucial role that musical education plays in this process. Music shapes the cognitive powers of a child, as well as its moral attitudes. Instead of wasting time and energy on senseless TV programs or video games, a child who learns to play a musical instrument develops intellectual rigor, learns to define goals and acquire the power of concentration to achieve them. The aim of her school, she writes, is “to foster the young generation’s spiritual development” through musical education. Whether or not a child may become a professional musician in the future, he or she “will inevitably become part of the world of music, keen to behold everything that is beautiful, devoted to things that are harmonious, kind, and timeless. He/she will learn to think, feel and live touched by the truly exquisite magic of Music.”

Founded in 1987, the music school, N 21, was named after the well-known violinist, Anahit Tsitsikian in 2007. Among its graduates are prize-winning students, many of whom have continued their studies in Armenia and abroad. In 2014, the U.S. Embassy’s organization Helping Hands and the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia renovated the recital hall, where students have the opportunity to perform for family and friends, gaining valuable experience. Although the school had pianos and string instruments, wind instruments were lacking and most students from the local community who attend this school are not able to purchase their own. In response, AYO! (https://weareayo.org/music-school/) launched a crowd fundraising drive in late 2014. As AYO! wrote in its project presentation, “The school now has a beautiful performance space” and “tremendously dedicated students and staff. What could be missing? Instruments!”

The Fund for Armenian Relief (http://farusa.org) backed the effort and invited the Mirak-Weissbach Foundation (www.m-w-stiftung.org), among others, to join. The funds needed for the instruments came together, and in early March it was announced that the school had received a shipment of new wind instruments, including trumpets, flutes, clarinets and saxophones. The only other item missing was furniture: to allow parents and friends to enjoy the concerts in the renovated recital hall, funds were needed to buy 120 chairs. If all goes according to plan, a concert will take place during the commemoration events around April 24th this year. (If it is “standing room only,” then not for lack of chairs….)


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