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Tekeyan Cultural Association celebrated 70th anniversary of founding at Kensington United Reformed Church in London.

The Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) was established in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1947, in honour of the renowned Armenian poet and man of letters Vahan Tekeyan. The TCA is a network with chapters and sister organizations around the world that are committed to the educational advancement of Armenian literacy, history, music, and culture. The TCA London Chapter was established in 1975 and is affiliated to the Tekeyan Trust London (TTL), a registered charity since 1979. In furthering their mission, the TCA London and the TTL organize cultural events, concerts, exhibitions and public debates. They are also engaged in the rehabilitation of schools and supporting needy schoolchildren through various educational, cultural, sports, social and humanitarian programs.

The celebration was organized by TTL and TCA London. It was under the honorary presence of the Right Revd Bishop, Hovakim Manukyan, Primate and Pontifical Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, Minister Plenipotentiary of Armenia to the UK, Armen Liloyan, in addition to other representatives of the Armenian Embassy, clergymen, social and cultural figures, members and representatives of the Armenian community in the UK.

Honorary Secretary of Tekeyan Trust London, Vartan Ouzounian, delivered a speech conveying the main objectives of TCA which are to love the Armenian people, homeland and church, to be a decent human being, Armenian and citizen, to boost Armenian unity, to preserve the Armenian identity, values, history and dignity, to educate and engage Armenian youth of the Diaspora in the Armenian culture, and to maintain strong intellectual ties among Armenian communities.

He recalled the founding of TCA two years after Vahan Tekeyan passed away when his close circle of friends initiated this association in Beirut in 1947. He said: “Created for the Armenian Diaspora and touched by its concerns, TCA’s birth was an imperative need for the Armenian communities.” He highlighted the awards granted by TCA to Armenian authors and journalists; such as TCA’s Hagashen Ouzounian Award that has been running for 51 years. He underlined the various activities that TCA London had organized for 42 years, including inviting the National Armenian Song and Dance Ensemble in 1985 to the UK where 22,000 people attended the five events that the TCA organized. Another major event was in 1988 where TCA London invited the Armenian National Dance Ensemble, organizing 21 events across the UK where 62,000 people attended.

Chairman of TCA London, Garen Arevian, delivered a speech. He confirmed that TCA endeavours to continue to maintain, promote and propagate the very best of Armenian cultural heritage and Armenian language in the Diaspora. He also highlighted the activities of TCA in recent years including concerts and events held at prestigious venues throughout the UK and lectures covering topics in music, art and history.

The celebration continued with a cultural program featuring performances by Armenian singers, musicians and poetry recitalists. Mezzo Soprano, Anais Heghoyan, dazzled the audience by her astounding voice while singing Handel’s Xerxes and Ombra Mai Fu and Haro Stepanian’s Hey Aragats. The audience was touched by the performance of professional violinist Ani Batikian who played Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No.2, Khachaturian’s Nocturne and Monti’s Czardaz.

The audience greatly appreciated choirmaster Grigor Najaryan’s Acappella of “Failed Days” by Gousan Djivani. Violinist Angel Najaryan, Clarinettist Paul Evernden and pianist Thomas Ang performed A. Khachaturyan’s Trio.

Renowned Armenian poet, Anoush Nakkashian, was invited to recite poems written by Vahan Tekeyan. She recited Armenian Church, Hashvehardar and Your Name that she said Vahan Tekeyan had carried in his pocket for seven years, each time changing a word or shifting a comma.

Komitas Chamber Choir, under the artistic direction of conductor, Grigor Najaryan, took the stage to sing seven Armenian cultural songs most of which were composed by renowned Armenian composer Komitas whose name the choir carries. The choir, that comprises 15 Armenian singers, was accompanied by violin, piano and clarinet. Komitas Choir is the first Armenian professional choir in the UK. It was founded in 2013. Its repertory includes a wide variety of songs including folk, classical, spiritual and international.

The event was concluded by the blessing of the Right Revd Bishop Hovakim Manukyan who praised the activities and efforts of TCA London and wished more prosperity to this association in the future.

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