[VOAH]: ‘Autumn Sounds’ Visits Vanadzor Old Age Home.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) recently hosted the wonderful choir “Autumn Sounds.” Its singers are all members of the Old Yerevantsi Resident’s Association NGO, which is nearly seven years old. There are 30 members, most of whom are women. The group varies in age, and the participants also come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. Yet, any differences between them do not prevent members from uniting through song and spreading their kindness all around.

Autumn Sounds’ art director is engineering professor Karlen Babayan. In spite of the lack of any musical education, he has written many beautiful songs, some of which were performed for VOAH residents during their visit. Compositions by Khachatur Avetisyan, Barsegh Kanachyan, and others were also performed. The concert concluded with “Lord’s Prayer” by Komitas.

After the concert ended, the group stayed until evening, dancing, singing and talking with residents. Some even took walks around the VOAH premises.

All were in a festive mood when Autumn Sounds came to visit VOAH.

all are in festive mood, dancingThe eldest member of Autumn Sounds sings the Russian song Katyusha

Autumn sounds oldest member sings Russian song Katyusha

Singing Autumn Marsh by Karlen Babayan

Choir sings Autumn Marsh by Karlen BabayanVOAH resident Grandma Nina with choir member

Grandma Nina dancing with Autumn Sounds choir memberChoir leader Karlen Babyan addresses the crowd.

Karlen Babayan, head of Autumn Sounds choirCredit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Music Education Program in Held at Vanadzor Old Age Home.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Yerevan State Conservatory implements a project called Musical Interlocutor, which aims to promote classical music and other forms of art in society, particularly to those who have little or no access to the arts. Musical Interlocutor is held in kindergartens, special education schools, orphanages, and now in old age homes, where outstanding composers and experts come to give talks and perform for audiences.

Based on a directive from Armenia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Musical Interlocutor is now held in old age homes in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor. On October 4th, a meeting was held with VOAH’s residents. (A previous one was held during the summer.) This time our guest was the head of Yerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan. The title of the talk was “Statue and Poetry.” An instrument known as the fife was introduced to the elderly and residents were able to get acquainted with the organ and the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach. All of the residents were pleased and delighted by the meeting.

Yerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan
playing fife at the Vanadzor Old Age Home

Yerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan playing fife (flute) at the Vanadzor Old Age HomeYerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan during
his talk on art at the Vanadzor Old Age Home

Yerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan during his talk on art, at the Vanadzor Old Age HomeYerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan talks about
Johann Sebastian Bach with residents of Vanadzor Old Age Home.

Yerevan State Conservatory Professor Armen Budaghyan introducing (talking about) Johann Sebastian Bach, at the Vanadzor Old Age HomeCredit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Vanadzor Old Age Home Celebrates the International Day for the Elderly.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

The International Day for the Elderly is the most anticipated day of the year for the residents of Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH). This year, it was solemnly celebrated along with Vanadzor Day, a town festival held the first Saturday in October. Guests at VOAH included Lori Regional Administrator Artur Nalbandyan; Bishop Ter Sepuh Chuljian the Head of the Gugark Diocese; National Assembly member and citizen of Vanadzor Karen Saribekyan and many others. Lori’s regional administration organized a concert and a festive dinner for guests, which was made possible through the support of Lori Governor Artur Nalbandyan.

The Horovel Dance and Song Ensemble soloist Stepan Dallakyan honored the guests with the performance of many Armenian songs. Children from Vanadzor # 3 Cultural House, including 15-year-old Narek Ayvazyan, a talented kanon player, also performed in the concert. The show also featured duduk players, poets, violinists and many others. VOAH residents enjoyed the concert immensely.

Three TV channels – Yerkir Media TV, Lori TV and MIG channel of Vanadzor – broadcasted the event.

Within the framework of the Fund for Armenian Relief, the sponsorship of VOAH has been carried out by the Kevork and Sirvart Karamanuk Foundation. The foundation is also supportive of many active charitable programs in Armenia as well as educational institutions in Turkey.

Residents toast to a celebratory meal.

Happy mood at VOAHThe Culture House Dance ensemble performed as part of
the celebration for the International Day of the Elderly.

Dance Performance during the celebration of International Day for ElderlyEveryone participated in the celebration.

Our resident Kolya is also dancing (the man in the wheel chairs)Bishop Ter Sepuh Chuljian, head of the Gugark Diocese,
blesses the dinner.

Bishop Ter Sepuh Chuljian the Head of the Gugark Diocese blesses the dinnerCredit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Artin and Aghavni Kalpakian Visit Vanadzor Old Age Home.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Recently, the people of Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) had a remarkable day when they received a visit from some honorable guests – Artin and Aghavni Kalpakian, relatives of our beloved benefactor Sirvart Karamanouk,* who visited VOAH from Argentina. FAR Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan accompanied them during their visit. The aim of their trip was to get closely acquainted with the lives of the residents, from the activities that make up their everyday routines, to their thoughts, concerns and feelings.

Mr. and Mrs. Kalpakian generously donated $1,000 to VOAH, an amount that will be used to cover important needs of the home.

* Within the framework of the Fund for Armenian Relief, the sponsorship of VOAH has been carried out by the Kevork and Sirvart Karamanuk Foundation. The foundation is also supportive of many active charitable programs in Armenia as well as educational institutions in Turkey.

VOAH Director Tigran Kocharyan with Artin Kalpakian
and FAR Country Director Bagrat Sargsyan

Tigran Kocharyan VOAH Director, Artin Kalpakian and Bagrat Sargsyan, FAR Country DirectorArtin Kalpakian and Bagrat Sargsyan

Artin Kalpakian and Bagrat SargsyanArtin and Aghavni Kalpakian at the entrance of VOAH

Artin and Aghavni Kalpakians at the entrance of VOAH buildingCredit: FAR staff

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[VOAH]: Cultural House Performs Concert.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

Members of Stepanavan’s Cultural House recently traveled to Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) to spend a day with the elderly residents, which became a grand celebration. They prepared a program of dancing, singing and poetry. Armenian folk music and dances added to the atmosphere and warmed the residents’ hearts. Our elderly participated, as well. For example, artist Volodia cited an excerpt from Hamlet by Shakespeare while grandma Angin brilliantly performed an Armenian folk song, even though it was her first time holding a microphone.

In addition to the songs and dances, our guests also brought books, sweets and biscuits with them. Young performers from the Cultural House treated the grandmothers and grandfathers to dessert.

The day flew by and by the end everyone was sad to see them go. We will remember this day with fondness. We are grateful to the organizers of this benevolent event, particularly Sargis Gharakeshishyan, the mayor of Stepanavan, who organized it.

A visit from members of Stepanavan’s
Cultural House delighted VOAH residents

Even though it was her first time holding a mic,
grandma Angin brilliantly performed an Armenian folk song.
Credit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Honey for VOAH.

By Gayane Gevorgyan

For quite awhile, all of us at Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) have been discussing the idea of using small development projects to help us make the home more self-sustaining. Recently, we received assistance from our friends at the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), with whom we have cooperated on different projects in recent years. Within the framework of UMCOR’s project “Fighting Hunger Through Sustainable Livelihood Development,” we developed a three-year business plan for VOAH. Through UMCOR, VOAH was given five beehives and the materials to care for them. Rafik Tjantjapanyan, a well-known beekeeper from Ashtarak, also came to give a tutorial to residents. Within the next two years, we at VOAH hope to have 15 to 20 beehives, which will fully meet our demand for honey.

Our “new economy”
Rafik (left) and the beekeeper

Master Rafik (left) and young beekeeper Robert, photo by Gayane GovorgyanCredit: Gayane Gevorgyan

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[VOAH]: Profile – Margarita Hovsepyan.

By Veronika Mkrtchyan

Our visit to Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH) with FAR scholarship students delighted and inspired residents. While there, a vivacious woman named Grandma Maro immediately instructed us as we did volunteer work around the premises. I was greatly surprised by the youthful spirit of this 76-year-old. Later, when the two of us had a chance to talk, she told me that the secret of staying young comes from deep within a person’s soul.

Margarita Hovsepyan, or “Grandma Maro,” has been living in VOAH for the past seven years. She does not remember her past with bitterness. Instead, she lives in the present. In the 1950s, her parents, along with her eight sisters and brothers left Kirovabad, Azerbaijan, and settled in Vanadzor. In 1967, she married but never had children. Yet, this woman who has so much kindness in her heart has channeled all of her tenderness and care to the children and grandchildren of her sisters and brothers. Most of them have grown up and for various reasons have left for foreign countries. “What can I do?” she said. “These are the times. People can hardly meet their own needs and many do not have resources or the financial means to support their relatives. My only dearest and closest relative was my deceased husband, who I miss so much.”

It is at least a comfort to know that that Grandma Maro is safely supported at VOAH. Here all residents are surrounded with warmth and care from employees and visitors, even if not from their own children.

Grandma Maro with FAR Scholarship Students

Credit: FAR Staff

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