I’m hoping to generate a feeling of solidarity.
-- Ani Nalbandian, HOLY CROSS SENIOR

‘Pour Toi, Arménie (For You, Armenia)’
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Seelos Theatre, College of the Holy Cross
How much: $15; $10 for Holy Cross students and children younger than 12

WORCESTER — This Sunday afternoon, the newly built Seelos Theatre at the College of the Holy Cross will host a concert of musicians playing instruments unfamiliar to most Americans to benefit a country most can’t find on a map in remembrance of a genocide some historians consider forgotten.

Creating awareness has been the mission of Holy Cross senior Ani Nalbandian, 22, since her freshman year. She is one of only 15 Armenian-American students in the entire college so the learning curve is steep. “I’m hoping to generate a feeling of solidarity,” said Ms. Nalbandian, when asked about the goal of holding this concert.

How? With expectations that the non Armenian-American audience will walk in expecting a new musical experience but walk out connecting with a little known culture that is centered around the 1915 Armenian genocide that wiped out over one million people during and after World War I.

April is an important month to Armenians, Ms. Nalbandian said, because the 24th is also Genocide Remembrance Day, a memorial day for those wiped out as a war strategy by the Ottoman Empire to defeat the Russians.

The show is titled “Pour Toi, Arménie (For You, Armenia),” and proceeds will go to the Fund for Armenian Relief, an organization that provides emergency help to the neediest of this small post-Soviet Union nation that borders Turkey.

John Berberian, the concert’s headline act, will provide the musical link between the two worlds. As he pulls out his Turkish-made oud (pronounced OOD), and runs his hands over the mahogany and spruce wood body, he talks about the similarities between the Middle Eastern music he has performed for 49 years and American jazz. “There is a lot of improvisation in our music,” he said. “Just like jazz.”

The oud’s body has a pregnant bulge similar to a mandolin. It has a bent neck at the top where the pegs that tighten the strings lie. When played it sounds similar to a Spanish acoustic guitar. Mr. Berberian and his ensemble will perform a blend of traditional Armenian dance and folk pieces. Mal Barsamian will accompany him on guitar and clarinet, with Harry Bedrosian on keyboard, and Bruce Gigarjian on Dumbeg, which is an hourglass-shaped drum, played like a tom tom.

In a separate set, Ms. Nalbandian will perform on keyboard and accordion with her father, Untzag Nalbandian, who is an Armenian Orthodox priest as well as a pianist. They will be accompanied by fellow Holy Cross students Justin Rucci on drums, David Sheerin on piano, Michael Ferraguto on violin and Michael Simms on clarinet.

The concert will be held on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Seelos Theatre on the Holy Cross campus. There is a handful of tickets left for this event, which are $15 for adults and children older than 12, $10 for Holy Cross students and children younger than 12. For ticket information, contact Ms. Nalbandian at (203) 581-1443 oranalba09@holycross.edu.