TCA Greater New York organizers and chapter leaders with TCA Central Board members, benefactors Ed and Carmen Gulbenkian and UN Amb. Mher Margaryan

Tekeyan Cultural Association of Greater New York Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Valentine’s Day Dinner-Dance


LODI, N.J. — The Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of Greater New York, under the auspices of the TCA Board of Directors of the United States and Canada, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its chapter through a Valentine’s dinner-dance on February 9 featuring international Armenian superstar André and DJ Shant (Babikian). The event was held in the elegant banquet hall of the Elan events and wedding center.

Carmen Gulbenkian, left, and Hilda Hartounian

At the start of the formal program, guests were welcomed by TCA Greater New York chapter Vice Chair Vartan Ilanjian, who introduced the chapter’s chair, Hilda Hartounian. Hartounian recognized the roles of past chairmen and members in reaching this golden anniversary as well as the members of the fiftieth anniversary committee, which included Talia Bouldoukian, Katia Buchakjian, Sylvia Buzantian, Aline Madalian, Nanor Kradjian and Margaret Janikian, along with Hartounian, Ilanjian, TCA Greater New York Treasurer Barkev Kalayjian and chapter adviser Nadya Boyadjian.

Hartounian acknowledged the generosity and support of event benefactors Ed and Carmen Gulbenkian, and Vartan Nazerian of Los Angeles, and emphasized that “Our mission has always been and will always be to promote Armenian cultural and educational activities around the world.”

From left, Vartan Ilanjian, Carmen Gulbenkian, Ed Gulbenkian, Hilda Hartounian and Edmond Azadian with the 50th anniversary cake

Ilanjian then read a congratulatory letter to the chapter from the TCA Central Board, which stated, among other things, that “You have invigorated and enriched our culture through many projects in theater, arts and literature. You have projected your activities well beyond the circle of your membership, serving the needs of the entire community.”

From left, Vartan Ilanjian, Saro Hartounian, Varoujan Avedikian, Rosalyn Minassian, Mihran Minassian

Fr. Norayr Kazazian, a vartabed now serving in the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America who previously was Director of the Gulbenkian Library and Dean of Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School in Jerusalem, took the podium to add his congratulations. He spoke with pride of his days as a student in the TCA Vahan Tekeyan School of Beirut and voiced his joy in seeing Armenians coming together in the diaspora in the name of their culture and heritage.

Carmen and Ed Gulbenkian benefactors’ table: From left, Assad Samaan, Harout and Lucine Tikranian, Carmen Gulbenkian, Amb. Mher Margaryan, Ed Gulbenkian, Miriane Dikranian and Manoushag Samaan

Special guests that evening included Ambassador Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, and TCA Central Board President Edmond Y. Azadian, Executive Director Aram Arkun, and board members Hagop Vartivarian, Kevork Marashlian and Mihran Minassian.

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One of the highlights of the evening was when Ambassador Margaryan, President Azadian and benefactors Ed and Carmen Gulbenkian were called forth to participate in the cutting of the fiftieth-anniversary cake.

Singer André Hovnanyan energized the crowd with his lively musical presentations. He and DJ Shant kept the audience dancing and clapping throughout the evening. In a video interview of the event, André thanked TCA for inviting him to this event, and in several Armenian television programs aired in following weeks, André expressed his amazement and pleasure that even some fourth-generation Armenian-Americans had come to the Tekeyan event to enjoy Armenian music and dance that evening.

André singing at the TCA celebration

André is extremely popular in Armenia. He was born in Stepanakert, Artsakh, in 1979, and began singing at the early age of three. He wrote his first song at the age of nine and won the “Road to Renaissance” musical contest six years later. In 1998, he began to work as a professional at the State Theater of Music in Yerevan, while studying at the Yerevan State Conservatory, and eventually obtained his doctorate.

In 2006, André was the first artist to represent Armenia in the Eurovision song contest in Athens, and finished in eighth place. He has served as a judge in various television shows in Armenia such as “Pop Idol,” “My Name Is…”, “Premiere,” and “The X-Factor,” and had his own reality show called “Andrenaline.” He has been living in Los Angeles for about three years and soon he will open his own Andre Art Academy school for music and dance there.

The evening included an extensive silent auction.

From left, Hagop Vartivarian, Katia Buchakjian, Nadya Boyadjian, Sylvia Buzantian, Barkev Kalayjian, Talia Bouldukian, Aline Madalian, Hilda Hartounian, Vartan Ilanjian and Margaret Janikian

TCA Greater New York chair Hartounian after the event declared it to be a complete success. More than 250 tickets were sold for the venue, so that full capacity was reached. Hartounian said, “This was a wonderful event that allowed us to celebrate our golden anniversary in an enjoyable atmosphere. Our community rallied together once more to show its support for Tekeyan’s activities. We remain invigorated and ready to continue our mission in the greater New York area and invite all who share the goal of disseminating Armenian culture to join us.”


From left, John Mardirossian, Anahit Ghazaryan, Madlene Andonian, Hagop Vartivarian, Hilda Adil, Jacques Gulekijian, Nora Markarian, Henry Dimijian, Jacques and Maggie Hajjar

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