AACCWD Holds First Ever

Sacred Music Convention & Assembly in Las Vegas, NV


Burbank, CA – The Association of Armenian Church Choirs of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America (AACCWD) held a three-day convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 10-12, 2017. The convention was a culminating success of the tenure of Chairman Sevag Derderian whose long-lasting record has been to implement, maintain, and enhance education as the core component of the AACCWD.

“Education requires devotion, interest, passion, and time. Education envelops individuals of various backgrounds, identities, sexes, and religion for one common theme: to further enhance the betterment of our societies by giving them the resources to strive to new heights.” – Chairman Sevag Derderian

On Friday, November 10, 2017, Chairman Derderian honored Father Nareg Matarian for his countless years of dedication to the Armenian Apostolic Church and the AACCWD during the convention’s opening night banquet. Ordained by His Holiness Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch Vazken I in February 1980, Father Nareg started his long serving career as a shepherd of God, and a strong, moral, and unwavering champion of Armenian sacred music to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Since his ordination, Father Nareg has served in a wide array of positions ranging from the Holy See of Etchmiadzin to parish priest of East Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the AACCWD held lectures, workshops, and masterclasses within the sanctuary of Saint Geragos Armenian Apostolic Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. The guest lecturers were: Mr. Sevag Derderian (AACCWD Chair), Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan (Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church N.A.), Dr. Kimberly James (Professor, University of Las Vegas).

Derderian’s lecture focused on the fundamentals of Armenian sacred music through the ages. He gave a concise summary overview of various musical notation, composition, and history of sacred music as it pertained to “khaz”, European notation, and the core modes of the Divine Liturgy. His workshop later, surrounded a masterclass that divvied up participants into clusters to focus on efforts surrounding junior choirs and how to build sustainable immersion programs from various resources such as local schools, communities, and religious programs.

Father Findikyan presented two different lectures, the first titled “Ten Things You Need to Know about the Divine Liturgy”, and the second, “What No One Ever Told You about the Badarak”. His message to the participants was one filled with love, not only for the Almighty himself but for our Armenian Apostolic Church, and most importantly, for others.

Dr. Kimberly James, presented the core principles of singing and the imperative elements of vocal pedagogue as choral singers. Her workshop tasked participants with getting out of their element and working together by focusing on breathing, phonetics, posture, expression, and volume. She tasked and commended singers for their volunteer efforts and to take the subject matters which they learned back to their communities.

Later that afternoon, Assembly Chair Dn. Dr. Sarkis Mesrobian, held the 12th AACCWD Assembly where he championed the efforts of the Central Council led by Derderian and their ongoing efforts in preserving and promoting our sacred music.

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy with Chairman Derderian conducting over forty choir members, who represented parishes across the Western Diocese. Derderian’s message to the faithful participants of the weekend concluded with a powerful message to attendees to take back to their parishes.

You today, are a testament to my remarks. You have made the effort to travel to further your educational needs not only for your betterment, but, for your Armenian Apostolic Church. You, my dear faithful, have proven to be the pillars of our sacred music society.” – Sevag Derderian

The next AACCWD Convention will be held at Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Rancho Mirage, California November 9-11, 2019.