WATERTOWN, Mass.—Hundreds celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of famed “All-Armenian Poet” Hovhannes Toumanyan on Tuesday night.
“Every time a child opens a book written by Toumanyan, he comes back to life and accompanies him or her through their journey of life,” said Hamazkayin Boston Chapter Vice Chair Verginie Touloumian during her opening remarks at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC).
Like many that night, Touloumian recalled childhood memories learning about Toumanyan, including his famous poem “Shoun ou Gadou” (“The Dog and the Cat”). But she said Toumanyan is unique in that he is one of the few writers whose works evolved with his reader. “We read about the tragedies, so he moves on through life with us and is always accompanying us,” said Touloumian.
Sponsored by the Hamazkayin Boston Chapter, the event—”Celebrating a Legend”—showcased the renowned writer’s unique ability to inspire generations young and old. The program began with a short film titled “Our Literary Crossroads,” a depiction of the struggles and successes in creating and maintaining an active Armenian literary life post-genocide. Then, Meghedi Youth Choir, led by Dr. Marina Margarian Kavlakian, astonished the crowd with their melodic musical performance to written works by Toumanyan. “Meghedi” Youth Choir member Izabell Tenekedzhyan said her favorite part of performing was understanding more about Toumanyan’s music. “The primary goal of Meghedi Youth Choir is to keep the highest standard for our Armenian music,” said Dr. Kavlakian.