On June 4, at 12:00 pm, the Gyumri branch of the conservatory started the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of its establishment at the Gyumri Art Academy building constructed by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). Within the framework of the events the first republican festival of musicians will start today and will last until June 10. About 500 musicians of different ages from Armenia and Artsakh will participate in the festival. The Gyumri branch of the Komitas conservatory, which currently has 150 students, has 20-25 graduates every year. “Imporit” college operates in the higher educational institution since 2004. The Gyumri Art Academy was built in 1997. The Movie and Theater State Institute, and the Gyumri branches of the Komitas Conservatory and the Art Academy are located in this building. This is not AGBU’s first initiative in Shirak marz. After the earthquake the AGBU has fulfilled a number of projects in Gyumri. The Union has constructed the Gyumri school # 7 and reconstructed the playground of the Lord Byron School of Gyumri. With the initiative of the Armenian General Benevolent Union the Gyumri school # 3 for handicapped children will have a centralized heating system this year. It is financed by the AGBU Marseilles, which provided 15,000 euros for this purpose. This school welcomed its pupils in a renovated building in September 1, 2006. The project was financed by the AGBU London and accomplished with the help of the volunteers of the AGBU District of France. The 15-year-old school, which provides 8-year education to 132 children with mental disorder has been renovated by the AGBU London Trust, which provided the children with beds, renovated the floor and the sewage. The children of the AGBU France summer camp, who visited Armenia in August 2006 to participate in the benevolent projects carried out by the AGBU in Armenia, painted the walls of the school. Armenian General Benevolent Union provides regular donations to the “Huys” orphanage of Gyumri. Within the frames of the events dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Academy, the AGBU Armenian Representation will deliver clothes, toys and stationery sent by the scouts of AGBU California to “Huys” orphanage. Editor’s Note: AGBU Armenian Representation Director Ashot Ghazarian was also invited to the event. In the message of the Shirak Marzpet Romik Manoukian, read by Shirak Deputy Marzpet, special gratitude was expressed to the Armenian General Benevolent Union and Louise Manoogian Simone for the Academy building, and as a sign of respect and gratitude towards the AGBU, Ashot Ghazarian was also invited to make a short speech. Special guests from different countries including the rector of Tbilisi State Conservatory Manana Doidjashvili, rector of Moscow State Conservatory Tigran Alikhanov, Armenian by origin, who is in Yerevan currently heading the jury of the Aram Khachatrian piano festival, which started on May 30, plus rector of Yerevan State Conservatory Sergey Saradjev, composer Eduard Mirzoyan, and RA Deputy Culture Minister Karine Khodikian were also present at the ceremony.