To what ends do we begin our work only in hopes to further witness the fruition of our efforts. We toil, commit, endeavour, and give all that we can to ensure that we weave the thread of history into our actions. That is why, when it comes to matters of education, and specifically traditions, we must not look at others but within ourselves. Many ask, “What can the AACCWD do to recruit and teach a new generation of musicians to partake in our church choirs?”. The answer lies not only in our efforts but yours. This organisation, with limited financial support, has sustained herself through many years of hard work, detailed educational resources, and through my tenure, educational expansion as witnessed in our library expansion, music curriculum, publication efforts, masterclasses, workshops, video productions, and trainings. But this organisation and myself can not do the needed work on behalf of the parishes. That is simply the fact! Let me be firm in reassuring you that our work, my work, and our collective work is no where near done, but we must simply do more. 

We must realise that within the coming years, if not already having the notion of limited volunteers, singers, or parishioners within our musical groups within our congregations across the Diocese, we will soon face a bleak shortage of faithful who are trained in the hymns of the liturgy as well as the canonical foundations of our church services. That being said, we do have aspiring young adults and children being trained at the very moment through our efforts with the Christian Education Council under the leadership of Ms. Gail Chelebian, junior choirs, and scholarship initiatives. This, while a step forward under my direction, is still not enough. 

Our faithful across the Diocese are committed, await instruction, and a invitation to form new relations with fellow parish faithful. I urge you to recognise that in order for not only our choirs to succeed but for our sacred music, that change and recruitment is needed. We must further accept that our roles within our sanctuaries, whether volunteer or compensated, require our undivided attention and physical and mental readiness. We must be willing to work arduously and collectively without pretence in the succession planning of our choirs. 

Our time is limited, and further, so is mine. This November, I will be concluding my elected term as Chairman and passing the baton to the individual whom the assembly elects. It has been my pledge to you and the youth of this Diocese to form a plan for succession. However, that is where each and every one of you are required to take heed to my urgency and act. Dream big and come together. Raise not only your voices but open your hearts with even further love towards the Almighty and youth of our Diocese. 

I am charging you to enact change and build upon our collective works to continue the change that I have set forth and educate the young minds of our Diocese. They stand ready and we must welcome them! Fill their hearts and souls with our most cherished hymns and teach them to pray with not only with their talented voices but with a pure Christian heart. You are directly responsible for the betterment of our choirs, and therefore, I can stand assured that the work you must embark upon will further blossom under the many achievements we stand to witness. 

My dear faithful, the time has come for us to publicly and plainly acknowledge that we in the present, must urgently plan for the future. History will hold us directly accountable for our acts in ensuring the survival and expansion of our sacred melodies. Our roles, whether Chairman of all Diocesan church choirs, clergy, conductor, organist, singer, or newly entered volunteer must be to further weave the thread of sacred music across the hearts and minds of a new generation of musicians. Your AACCWD stands tall to support you in all your musical efforts. 

May the Almighty bless you and our Armenian Apostolic Church.

Sevag Derderian