In the last few years, I have tried to avoid writing blog posts about my performances as I am really looking to create content in these postings which may be more thought provoking or promotional of other topics. However, I would like to make an exception for a performance I did a few weeks ago that needs some attention. Not because I performed, but for the work that went behind the scenes to create this event.
The Hawk is a marvelous venue. It is the former Harrison High School that was purchased by the City of Farmington Hills, Michigan a few years ago. The city transformed the school into a multi useful venue (community center) that includes a fitness center, multiple theater opportunities, sports arenas and much more. Through my affiliation with the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, I was even invited to their Makerspace unveiling which is a great opportunity for all ages that wish to make something and provide them the technical resources to do so.
I have had a long and enjoyable affiliation with the City of Farmington Hills, especially their Special Services Department which includes their robust arts and culture efforts. This is a dynamic team led by Rachel Timlin that provides some of the finest events and ideas I have seen in our region. All of her team are rockstars and they know I am major fans of all of them. For this event, I worked with their Program Coordinator Lindsay Janoch.
Last year we discussed putting on a small concert highlighting Armenian music at The Hawk. That quickly turned into discussing how we could incorporate Armenian cultural components. However, I really didn’t realize to what extent the city department would go for this event and I was really blown away by the work and effort (and care!) they took in putting this event together.
Here is what Lindsay and her team helped put together for this event:
- We utilized The Hawk BlackBox which was the schools old band room. A perfect smaller room that was ideal for this entire event.
- They decorated the stage and room with artifacts and oriental rugs that were provided by sponsor Hagopian Rugs.
- They had several stations focused on Armenian culture:
- You could help weave a rug.
- Children could color in the Armenian flag or the Republic of Armenia emblem.
- Children could even make a crown or part of an Armenian costume!
- They had a map of Armenia and individuals could place a pin on the map where they were from along with post a index card about their family history and what brought them to this country.
Drums! We had a ton of different percussion instruments for anyone to play. Prior to the concert, we (George Nigosian & Jerry Gerjekian as well) taught a short workshop where we demonstrated and talked about the instruments. I gave the participants an easy rhythm to learn, a 2/4 tempo, and we played a song together. The song was Karoun, Karoun, a song that Armenians identify with but is also performed by other ethnicities. At the end of our performance, we surprised the audience by having the workshop participants grab a percussion instrument and played along with us.
Kudos to Lindsay and the entire team that took great care in creating more than just a musical event, but a cultural experience that continues to make me proud to be an Armenian. In the meantime…check out the Hawk and their other cultural performances, you will be a better person for it. 🙂