AGBU and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Children’s Centers have been operating in Yerevan for about 20 years now. They have an established role in the education and upbringing of our new generation. These centers provide art, computer, crafts, dance, gymnastics, language, music and sport programs to local children after regular school hours and during the summer. The performing arts troupes of the Children’s Centers have always displayed great skill and true professionalism and are always anticipated guests at different cultural events, jubilee evenings and award ceremonies. Here’s a brief history of their activities of the past several months. The holiday of St. Sarkis is celebrated by more and more people in Armenia every year. February was rich with various events on this occasion. A festive concert program with the participation of the Nork Children’s Center’s “Haykazunk” folk song and dance ensemble and “Armenner” dhol group, took place at the St. Sarkis churchyard on February 19th.

Another concert program and an exhibition and sale of works were organized in Vanadzor on the same day upon the initiative of the Gugark Diocese. A roundtable discussion dedicated to the holiday of St. Sarkis was organized in Etchmiadzin on February 14th with the participation of students from different higher educational institutions and Gevorkian Seminary. Recently, the children of the Centers also participated in the celebrations dedicated to the holidays of “Tiarnendaraj” and “Barekendan”, and the “St. Vartanants” event at the Yerevan State University. On March 13th, a piano concert dedicated to the day of beauty and motherhood took place at Nork Children’s Center. The performing arts troupes of the Children’s Center recently participated in a series of theatrical events and literary evenings including the “Artavazd” award ceremony dedicated to the International Day of Theater, which took place at H. Paronian Theater of Musical Comedy, and the jubilee evening dedicated to the 125th birthday anniversary of the famous poet D. Varujan at the G. Sundukian Academic Theater. “Narek” dance group and “Nork” circus troupe were invited guest performers at both these events. At the end of 2010, the theater class of the Malatia Children’s Center participated in the “Nran Hatik” (“Pomegranate Seed”) annual theater festival with the performance of “A. Santrosian’s “Liar” fairy-tale. Malatia Children’s Center dhol group and Arabkir Children’s Center dance ensemble were recently hosted at the retirement home of Haghtanak district. They spent hours talking to the residents, telling them interesting stories and entertaining them with an hour-long concert program. Besides being guest performers at different cultural events, the performing arts groups of the Children’s Centers also give solo concerts in packed halls, like the recent concerts of “Haykazunk” ensemble at A. Babajanian hall and “Narek” dance troupe in H. Ghaplanian drama theater. Nork Children’s Center students were invited to perform at the Annual National Award Ceremony at Al. Spendiarian opera and ballet theater hall on March 27th.

As well as the cultural groups, the Children’s Centers’ sports groups have had great success.Recently their judo and sambo groups took part in the international junior tournament at the “Dinamo” sport complex and won first and third places. Children’s Centers were invited guest performers at last year’s celebration of the 65th anniversary of UN at the G. Sundukian Academic Theater. High-ranking officials and diplomats present at this event highly praised the performance of “Narek” dance ensemble and “Armenner” dhol group and expressed their admiration of their skills and professionalism.

An exhibition of the children’s works was also organized as part of the UN jubilee events. A painting competition was organized near the Swan Lake in the center of Yerevan on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of Catholicos Karekin II’s enthronement. Children of the painting class of the Nork Children’s Center participated in this competition.

The doors of the Children’s Centers are always open to foreign guests and our diasporan compatriots, who very often express a wish to visit the centers, get acquainted with the beautiful works created by the children and watch their performances. Every year the Nork Children’s Center hosts the AGBU YSIP interns for their Armenian dance classes. Over the years AGBU Children’s Centers’ performing arts troupes have traveled to the US, Canada, Russia, Georgia, Uruguay, Brazil and Poland to present their talents at various cultural events attracting tens of thousands of attendees. Next is Beirut, which will host the children from April 1-9.

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