By Nancy Kalajian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
FALMOUTH, Mass. — Spirits and supporters were Hye for the Armenian Church of Cape Cod’s Second Annual Kef Time Fourth of July Weekend held at the Cape Club in North Falmouth. From Armenians living in the greater Cape Cod area to visitors from as far off as California and Florida, with a baby in her mother’s dancing arms to a woman holding the hands of her mom to lead her into a Sebastatsi dance, from the sun-deprived to the weathered, from those dressed casually or to the hilt, revelers came, began or renewed acquaintances, and shared in an Armenian ambiance and experience that can only be matched by warm memories made years ago at East Coast summer kefs on Cape Cod. The twist was that this event was also a fundraiser in support of the Armenian Church of Cape Cod.
The elegant clubhouse surrounded by a golf course provided an interesting juxtaposition of two types of seemingly endless Armenian-themed musical experiences with traditional Kef Time style music played in a rotunda-style room by Leon Janikian on clarinet, Harry Bedrossian on oud , Charlie Demenjian on dumbeg , Kenny Kalajian on guitar with special guests: oudist Harry Minassian and oudist / violinist Johnny Berberian sitting in for a few numbers; at the same time at the other end of a long hallway was the more modern style of contemporary music popular in Armenia today, played by DJ Shaeen of New Pulse Entertainment. In between both rooms was a food station, and a bar area where hors d’oeuvres and colorfully packaged raffle and auction items were set up. The wide-ranging raffle items included handmade crafts and even a handsome roster of Cape Cod and Watertown restaurants and retail establishments. With dining, hugging, dancing, conversing and auctioning aplenty, there seemed to be something for everyone. With music playing in the background, the advantage of such a large space was that you could easily move to various other event spaces or corridors to chat and network if you wanted to converse in between dancing.
This well-planned event was the brainchild of Andrea Barber, a resident of North Falmouth, who for years frequented the extremely popular Fourth of July Kef weekends formerly held at the Sea Crest at Old Silver Beach in Falmouth that were organized by Charles Krikorian. With the old Kefs in mind, along with the great financial needs for the church to grow and flourish, this fundraiser to benefit the Armenian Church of Cape Cod seemed a good fit for a popular summer weekend. Some of the food served during the evening even had an Armenian flare. Andrea Barber reports that this year’s event was very successful as was the inaugural Kef last year. Word of mouth even drew some first time participants like Lucine Bahtiarian of Bedford who was pleased with the event. She said, “We heard so many good things about it.”
Artak Sahakyan, chair of the Cape Cod Parish, was enjoying Armenian pilaf and chicken with his wife, Meri, and daughter, Nareh. Sitting with his family as the DJ played, Sahakyan, a builder by profession, shared his thoughts on this “awesome, very successful event. Andrea Barber came up with this idea. The Armenian community makes sure everyone knows and supports each other, to keep our culture together, to know Armenians in the community and learn from the older generation and preserve our culture and language. We’ve created an Armenian Sunday School with Eliza Gevorkyan working with eight kids. There are about 10-15 families here from Yerevan and about 100 families from the older (earlier) generation.”