KZV Students Present Interactive Workshop on Armenian Culture at Mount Tamalpais School!
February 5th, 2015 - KZV 8th grade students, along with the Hamazkayin Araz Dance Group (older girls) participated in an interactive and entertaining Armenian Cultural Day organized by the Mount Tamalpais School (MTS) in Mill Valley. This event gave our students the chance to not only meet students from another K-8 school but allowed them to showcase all of their knowledge to peers and teachers alike.
Ms. Cathy Angelo, chair of the MTS Performing Arts department, organized the event with the help of MTS teachers. The program started in the morning, with a keynote 15 minute long video presentation prepared by MTS teacher, Mr. Rob Potter, introducing Armenia to the whole student body and staff. Immediately after, the Hamazkayin Araz dance ensemble under the leadership of Mrs. Ani Ayanian, performed two dances. The students were amazed by the performances and commented on the beauty of our dances.
Mr. Paul Henson presented the traditional music instrument duduk to the students and played a selection of music by Sayat Nova. Then, Azat Fishyan, a violinist from the SF Conservatory of Music, played Nocturne by Baghdassarian and Groong by Komitas, accompanied on the piano by Mrs. Sima Kesecker. During these performances, the pictures of Komitas and Sayat Nova were projected on the big screen behind the performers. Finally, the morning program ended with two patriotic dances performed by the Hamazkayin Araz Dance Group, featuring the Armenian flag.
The students and the entire MTS student body, teachers, and guests enjoyed a delicious Armenian lunch, catered by La Mediterranee Restaurant. Our students had time to mingle, exchange questions about a variety of topics such as food, school uniforms, vacation times and interact with their peers.
The afternoon program included five different workshops presented by KZV 8th grade students. MTS middle school students and their teachers rotated through the different exhibitions.
In the Art room, KZV 8th Grade students Matthew Kesecker, Athena Bacciocco, and Garo Ekmekjian gave a presentation on the Armenian alphabet and showed MTS students how to write their names in Armenian while Jennifer Kazaryan and Jhostine Chalen conducted an art project. MTS students learned to write their initials in Armenian using clay.
In another classroom, Alique Momjian, Armen Demirjian & Arman Archouniani from KZV gave a Power Point presentation covering the historical events of 1915 and the Armenian Genocide. In the Music room, KZV students, Karoleene Amanian and Galia Der Abrahamian, wearing Armenian traditional costumes, gave a presentation on traditional costumes from Armenia.
During these jigsaw rotations, dance instructor Ani Ayanian taught students ethnic Armenian dances in the dance studio, while KZV alumni Nayiri Ayanian and 8th grader Talar Andonian taught the MTS students steps to traditional Armenian folk dances.
In the Founder’s Lobby, Nora Shirikian from the Armenian Relief Society showed a variety of interesting treasures and artifacts from Armenia such as Khatchkars, Armenian rugs, paintings, needlework, carvings, and pomegranate pottery. Meanwhile, a few volunteer parents were serving a sparkling pomegranate juice, as well as a sampling of apricot and pomegranate fruits, which are national symbols of Armenia.
After the workshops, all the students gathered in the auditorium for a final performance of KZV students playing the piano: Talar Andonian and Alique Momjian performed a piano duet: the Masquerade Waltz from Khachaturian’s Gayane ballet. Alique Momjian played Arno Babajanyan’s Elegy based on a theme by Sayat Nova. Ending the program, Matthew Kesecker from KZV, Tamara Ekstrand and Ms. Cathy Angelo from MTS, delighted the audience with a 6-hand performance of Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance!
Needless to say, we were immensely proud of our students and they experienced a great sense of accomplishment. Teachers from MTS commented and asked many questions to our presenters, and were impressed by our students’ demeanor and knowledge. “I can't thank you enough for your invaluable contribution to the MTS community”, stated Ms. Cathy Angelo, director of Performing Arts at MTS school. “Our students loved having the KZV students on campus. The KZV 8th grade students gave very impressive workshops on Armenia - you should be proud of their accomplishments. Our teachers commented on how well the KZV students handled the workshops including their ability to speak well, good delivery and natural presentation as well as being able to handle a group discussion. Congratulations!”
“We are grateful to MTS for their warm hospitality and for giving us this unique opportunity. A huge accolade to Mrs. Panossian, Armenian language teacher, for preparing our students to share their rich heritage and culture and educate the MTS students about Armenian history during this most important year commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide”, said Mrs. Andonian.
The KZV administration would like to thank Mrs. Ani Ayanian, Mrs. Nora Shirikian, Mrs. Sima Kesecker and all volunteer teachers and parents for their tireless work and making this one of a kind workshop a reality!