WATERTOWN – The Zangakner Performing Arts Ensemble gave its final performance with founder Hasmik Konjoyan as director on June 3 at St. James Armenian Church. Konjoyan is moving to California at the end of June.
Konjoyan established Zangakner in 2010 in Boston with the goal of offering a unique venue for children of diverse Armenian backgrounds to preserve their Armenian language, culture and heritage through music and lyrics. As master of ceremonies Mark Arkun declared in his introduction, “She ended up doing much more than that. She of course is very talented musically, but she also has the unique ability through her personal warmth and skilled guidance to bring us together and make us feel loved and valued. She created a venue for us to come together as part of the broader Armenian community while making friends and learning about what it really means to be Armenian. She gave us the self-confidence to appear and perform in public. We cannot thank her enough.”
Konjoyan said that in Armenia graduation, “verchin zange,” was being celebrated at this time, and it coincided with the “verchin zang” of Zangakner. She expressed her thanks to all the individual supporters of Zangakner as well as institutions like St. James Armenian Church and Holy Translators Armenian Church.
As a surprise to Konjoyan, the children of Zangakner sang a special song in Armenian to say goodbye to their teacher and modified the final words of “Verchin Zang” by Tata Simonian. Konjoyan was given a special album with messages from the children and photos from Zangakner over the years. Certificates of recognition were presented to Konjoyan from both Rep. David Muradian of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, sheriff of Middlesex County.
It was a bittersweet occasion for the audience, which lamented the departure of the talented and personable Konjoyan. The parents prepared a sumptuous reception at which many lingered long after the performance in order to say their farewells.