A Happy Musical New Year for Dilijan Students

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DILIJAN, Armenia — Students at the State Art College of Dilijan are ringing in the New Year with music, and with brand new instruments, thanks to the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Relief (FAR). FAR, established in 1988 as a relief effort after the earthquake, has continued to raise funds for economic, social and educational programs in Armenia and cooperates with other foundations on specific projects. One of them focuses on music education.

Staff applauds the arrival of new Instruments

The State Art College of Dilijan is a special institution that plays a unique role in the musical education of Armenia, as it is the only one that trains teachers of music. Established in 1997, it is an outgrowth of the Dilijan Musical School, which had been operating since 1945. Over the past two decades, the College has become the cradle of musical education in the entire marz (province)  of Tavush (in the northeastern part of Armenia) and coordinates 15 music schools there.

The college provides two levels of musical education, the first comprising a seven-year curriculum for students attending classes after their regular school, and the second consisting of a four-year vocational curriculum, open to the graduates of the seven-year program and others. It is these students who go on to become teachers themselves and develop careers in music schools throughout the nation.

Both in the first and second levels, the curriculum offers instruction in vocal and instrumental music, winds, piano, string and national instruments. The college has a choir, and ensembles for wind and traditional national instruments. Currently there are 178 pupils in the first level and 63 students in the second level.

How does it sound?

The College students take part in contests, festivals and competitions. The ensembles and the choir are frequently invited to perform at diverse celebrations in Dilijan, the marz and beyond. Since the College functions as the coordinator of the marz music schools, it frequently hosts master classes by prominent musicians from Yerevan and thus ensures continuing education to teachers from all the music schools in the marz. It also hosts concerts at the College for all official, international delegations, guests of Dilijan and/or the marz. Its dedicated and professional staff have earned the respect and gratitude of the entire community.

A Wish List

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The building that houses the facility is quite adequate, as it is big and sunny, with lots of light. But, it is old, has not been renovated for over twenty years, and, despite the care given it by its staff, has fallen into disrepair. In hopes of finding support for an overhaul, a team of teachers and their supervisor drafted a wish list, detailing what the school would need to be able to perform at the highest level. The entire building would have to be renovated, including the 300 square meter concert hall; once that were done, the concert hall would need new chairs and the classrooms would have to be equipped with new furniture. Most importantly, the school required new instruments, as well as training manuals.

Lots of light inside the school

Thanks to a donation by a benefactor, FAR was able to purchase and provide the school with the 200 new chairs for the concert hall, but the facility itself still awaits renovation. This is an urgent task, considering the school’s function not only to educate its students but also to provide adequate conditions for visiting musicians who come to give concerts and master classes.

FAR also purchased the quality instruments after matching an initial donation by the Mirak-Weissbach Foundation with a contribution by the Galust Galo fund. Shortly before Christmas, the shipment of instruments arrived, 37 in all, and the students were excited. Margarit Piliposyan, FAR’s Deputy Country Director and Program Director, reported on December 19, “the teachers and students are happy! They called it a gift from heaven.” The new instruments include pianos, string, wind and traditional national instruments, as well as some devices for the sound system in the concert hall. The school expressed appreciation “for the priceless assistance to the younger generation, who love and study music,” and promised to prepare concerts to greet the benefactors in the New Year.

(See www.farusa.org and www.m-w-stiftung.org)

 

 

Topics: Dilijan, Music
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