6th Annual Choir Association Assembly at St. Mary, Costa Mesa

The 6th Annual Choir Assembly of the Armenian Church Western Diocese convened on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at St. Mary Armenian Church in Costa Mesa, CA. presided by His Eminence Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Primate and hosted by the church’s Hovsepian Choir. Thirty six delegates and clergy representing 13 chapters participated.

A delicious breakfast of croissant sandwiches, with orange juice and coffee was served in the morning. The morning session began with singing of Armenian and American national hymns and prayers led by the Diocesan Primate. Fr. Moushegh Tashjian and Mrs. Hilda Sakarya welcomed the guests. The meeting was chaired by Dn. Allen Jendian. Choir Central Council chair Dn. Ari Demiral was also present and gave his report. Previous year’s minutes were read, financial reports presented and new 11-member board was elected.

The following clergy were present: Host Parish Pastor Archpriest Fr. Moushegh Tashjian, Archpriest Fr. Arshag Khatchadourian (St. James), Archpriest Fr. Manoug Markarian (St. John, Hollywood), Archpriest Fr. Nareg Matarian (Diocesan Choir Master), Archpriest Fr. Hovsep Hagopian (La Canada Parish), and several deacons from different churches.

Two workshops, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon sessions were conducted mainly of singing church hymns and melodies by Fathers Arshag and Nareg. The Hovsepian Choir Committee led by Chairman Mrs. Hilda Sakarya served a delicious eggplant lunch with cheese beoreg, pilaf, hummus and salad with wine, soda and coffee and assortment of baklavas for dessert. A group picture was taken both in the sanctuary and outside in front of the bell tower. The afternoon session continued until 3:00 p.m. Everyone departed to their respective parishes and houses expressing thanks and appreciation for a very warm welcome and generous hospitality to Archpriest Fr. Moushegh Tashjian and Hovsepian Choir members.

We thank Hovsepian Choir members Mrs. Hilda Sakarya, Dn. Rupen Ozsogomonian, Mrs. Lidia Tepelian, Mr. & Mrs. Baruyr & Hasmig Mirijanian, Hrant Rakijian, Makruhi Cilingirian, Haig & Hermine Tashjian for their donation of foods and beverages and participation and organizing a very well hospitality for our guests.

Next year the Choir Assembly will be held at St. Gregory Armenian Church in Fowler, in conjunction of their parish’s 100th Anniversary.


St. Mary Armenian Church was the selected location for the “Zaratzi“ Compatriot Organization for their annual “ Hokehankist “ ( Requiem ) service for this year, for their ancestors who have fallen victim of 1915 Genocide. Zaratzi Organization have been formed 7 years ago by around 100 families , who have moved from Istanbul to Southern California whose Roots goes back to Zara, a small town near Sivas, Turkey.

Primary purpose of the Zaratzi is to maintain the special bond among the families which were established by their survivor parents and grandparents after the Genocide. In addition to usual activities of the compatriot Organizations, including extending financial support to various Armenian Charity Organizations, they organize Annual Requiem services to remember their ancestors.

On Sunday November 1 2009 Zaratzi families gathered at St. Mary for the Requiem service.During his Sermon, Church Pastor Rev. Fr. Moushegh Tashjian emphasized on the importance of the remembrances of the Parents and ancestors, and expressed his appreciation to Zaratzi families for their exemplary action of establishing the Organization and for their annual remembrance tradition. Following the very emotional requiem service with all the worshipers present in the Church sanctuary holding candles, Zaratzi families moved to the Church Hall for the “Hokejash “ ( Lucheon for the soul of their ancestors). Past Chairman Ovagim Ashikyan , who had taken charge of the event, was supervising and going over every small detail to assure the perfection of the entire event.

Sebuh Madoyan , Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zaratzi Organization, offered welcoming remarks thanking all members for their presence and participation at the Organization’s activities. He presented detailed information about the activities during the past year. He then called to First Chairman and Present Honorary Chairman of the Organization Antranik Zorayan for his remarks. Mr. Zorayan thanked and congratulated the members present for their continuous support .He pointed out the wide range of recognitional success of the Zaratzi by the Armenian community. He also emphasized on the necessity of remembering ancestors, who have fallen victim of Genocide, with Requiem service in a Church because they don’t even have a grave that we could visit and take a bunch of flowers to .He suggested that Zaratzis should consider having next year’s Requiem service at the Mother Cathedral, which will be completed by September of 2010.

In his financial report Treasurer Garbis Zorian indicated all the financial supports given to the Organizations which includes, United Armenian Fund , Mother Cathedral Fund, Hrant Dink School in France and Bolsahay Building Fund. Following a solemn music by the Sarkis Bukujian Quartet, the event was concluded with the Benediction by Rev. Fr. Moushegh Tashjian.

Zvartnots Choir and Dance Ensemble held a Recital for the parents on Sunday October 23rd

For a brief unforgettable hour, Saint Mary Armenian Church was transformed into the Armenian Performing Arts Center on Sunday, October 23rd, 2009. With great anticipation, Zvartnots Choir and Dance Ensemble performed magnificently as their family, friends and churchgoers watched. Mothers and grandmothers, filled with tearful eyes, listened to the soft voices singing “Hay Vortik” and other Armenian songs and Church Hymns. Fathers and grandfathers, sitting tall and proud, watched the graceful moves across the dance floor of their offspring dressed in traditional Armenian dance costumes.
It wasn’t easy for Zvartnots dance director and choreographer Maria Barin to keep her tears back since this was her last directorship performance. After voluntarily teaching and sharing her knowledge with dozens of Armenian youth over the last decade, Maria is taking a much needed break. Her dedication to Zvartnots over the years is unsurpassed by anyone. She will continue to be involved as a Zvartnots Committee member.

Deacon and Choir Director Roupen Ozsogomonian was proud of his labor of love. “Hay Vortik Vor Gabrik Took Herou” and “Sourp Asdvaz” was just two of the many songs that echoed throughout the church hall.

Since its establishment in 1997, Zvartnots has been home away from home to over 150 students over the years. With the support of Rev. Fr. Moushegh Tashjian and St. Mary Parish Council, Zvartnots has flourished over the years and continues to grow and evolve with the changing times. As a new Zvartnots chapter begins in November 2009 with a new dance instructor, the Zvartnots youth is more excited than ever. They look forward to not only expanding their knowledge of Armenian dance with the help of the new dance teacher, but also growing and fostering friendships with many of the new Zvartnots students that have recently joined the group and will call Zvartnots home for years to come.  Click here to see pictures from this event. For more information or to sign up, please see the Zvartnots Flyer

St. Mary Armenian Church Food Festival was a Great Success

Saint Mary Armenian Church of Costa Mesa held its first annual Food Festival on Sunday, October 11, 2009 on the Church Grounds in Costa Mesa. Hundreds of Armenians attended the festivities and enjoyed music and entertainment by the Tom Bozigian Band, folk dancing and choir performances by the Zvatnots Youth Choir and Dance Ensemble,

Saint Mary parking lot was magically transformed into a beautiful festival grounds with bright white tents and tables and chairs were set up for the attendees' comfort. Admittance was free and fresh Armenian Food was available which included homemade Sarma Dolma, Lahmajun, cheese boregh, sish kebob, chicken kabob lokma and baklava. Attendees enjoyed themselves while socializing and dancing to Armenian Folk Music.

There was plenty of entertainment for kids as well. There were several booths with kids games and a bouncy house was set to to keep the little ones happy. Popcorn and ice cream was served. A face painting both kept the young and the young at heart entertained. Mommy & Me parents supervised the games and the bouncy house and made popcorn for the little ones.

Several vendor and organization booths were set up to satisfy the festival attendees shopping needs. AGBU Saturday School, St. Mary Sunday School and Zvartnots Youth and Dance Ensemble  all had personnel on site to accept applications for youth who would like to learn the Armenian Language, Armenian Religion or Armenian Folk Dancing , Songs and Hymns  A 50/50 raffle was carried out throughout the day to give the guests a chance to try their luck and win some cash.

All Saint Mary Organizations contributed and worked hand in hand to make this day possible.


New Zvartnots Dance Teacher was a Smash Hit

With great anticipation and success, Zvartnots held its first dance lesson under the leadership of Mr. Alex Khachaturian and his wife Shushan on Friday, November 6th. In two separate halls, nearly 30 boys and girls, ranging in ages 4 to 14, participated and took advantage of this amazing opportunity while others were learning Armenian songs and hymns in the church. Many parents had already submitted membership applications for their children before the start of first class. Some parents had a lets wait and see attitude wanting to observe class before signing up. However, they did not wait long. Before going home that evening, their membership applications were turned in and dues were paid. Zvartnots expects many more new students to join next week and in the weeks and months to come as the word spreads and families discover what a gem they have in Orange County for the Armenian children and youth with Alex Kachaturain and Shushan. For signup information please see Zvartnots Choir and Dance Ensemble Flyer.

Copyright © Saint Mary Armenian Church   148 22nd Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627    Tel: (949) 650-8367   Fax: (949) 650-9489   Contact: fathermousheght@aol.com