TROY, N.Y.>> The Capital Region Armenian community has a lot going on in the coming days, weeks and months, as they remember and celebrate their heritage in several different ways.
A movie, a play, a concert, a liturgy and an annual commemoration ceremony are all on the event schedule for many local Armenian-Americans, and they hope to share their story with other cultures, too.
Each of these events represents Armenia through a different medium.
The first is a new movie called “The Promise” starring Christian Bale. Produced by Survival Pictures and financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian, the film will premiere this Friday in nearly 1,500 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Set with the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide, it is the first time Armenian history will be featured in a wide-release film, a major triumph for the Armenian community. It will be screened locally in the movie theaters at Crossgates Mall and Colonie Center. All are urged to see the film on its opening weekend to secure a long run and encourage the film industry to produce more films about Armenian history.
Following film’s debut, is Armenian Martyrs’ Day on April 24, as observed by the Armenian diaspora, or the communities of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia. It is held annually as a day of remembrance for the one million Armenians who died in the Turkish massacre of the Armenian Genocide, which started in 1915.
In the Capital Region, a 102nd annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration event will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday evening at the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Genocide Monument in Troy’s Riverfront Park. Regional dignitaries have been invited to speak at the event, which will also include a musical component. A community dinner and program will be held afterward at the Holy Cross Armenian Church, located at 255 Spring Ave, Troy.
Later that week, the Armenian community and others will gather again in Troy, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Cultural Center for a spring concert featuring the works of Armenian composers, performed by award-winning pianist and area Armenian Hayarpi Grigoryan Dayian. Donations collected at this concert will benefit the Children of Armenia Fund.
Across the river in Albany, a new play about Armenian history will begin its run at The Capital Repertory Theater, located at 111 N. Pearl St. This powerful musical love story was directed by its star Kevin McGuire. Set between 1914 and 1915, in New York and southern Turkey, in the midst of shocking historical events, Some People Hear Thunder is an uplifting tale of a young reporter, his true love in America, and Armenians fighting for dignity and survival in the face of brutality. Previews will be performed from April 28 to May 4, followed by an official opening on May 5. Some People Hear Thunder will run through May 21 at the downtown Albany theater.
The final upcoming Armenian event will be a joint liturgy between Holy Cross Armenian Church in Troy and St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Watervliet. This annual joining of the two parishes, a musical worship, will occur at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 7 at the Troy church.
Though 102 years have passed since the Armenian Genocide, “We haven’t forgotten it and will never forget it,” said local Armenian community leader and owner of Top Custom Jewelers Rafi Topalian. “We’re paying homage, respect to our ancestors so they can rest in peace .”..We are proud to be the first nation to adopt Christianity in 301 AD and are grateful to our ancestors for their valiant sacrifices throughout the centuries.
Another mission of these events is to educate people on the unique Armenian history and culture, including the genocide, which was covered up and denied for a century.Its time Turkey owned up to its murderous past so it wont happen now and in the future..
However, the idea is not to dwell on the tragedy. Instead, all of these events have a positive message of love, Topalian said. “The message is despite Turkish goverments attempts to wipe us off the face of the earth we've survived and we’re thriving.Love will conquer hate ”.....We just celebrated Easter,death was conquered .We live with the hope that one day this cruel denial will end as well.Only then Turkey can finaly join the civilized world and begin to become a democratic republic.
While these five events are sure to draw large Armenian crowds, “We want non-Armenians to see it,” Topalian said. “People should come and experience it and dont allow Turkey to get away with murder.”
For more information on any of these upcoming events call Topalian at 272-2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.