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Wilmington Student Composes Armenian Symphony For Martyrs

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  • Wilmington Student Composes Armenian Symphony For Martyrs

    by Tom Vartabedian
    March 19, 2013

    After learning about the Armenian Genocide for the very first time,
    Francis Norton decided to vent his anger over the tragedy.

    WILMINGTON, Mass.-After learning about the Armenian Genocide for
    the very first time, Francis Norton decided to vent his anger over
    the tragedy.

    The Wilmington High senior sat behind a computer and composed an
    Armenian symphony he so aptly calls "Hellfire." He debuted it inside
    a genocide studies class called "Facing History and Ourselves,"
    being taught by Lisa Joy Desberg and Maura Tucker.

    The two-minute piece is full of ritualistic movement done with cello,
    violin, piano, and brass with multiple key and tempo changes, much
    like an early Alan Hovhaness work.

    One might equate it to "eerie and unpleasant" at first, but that's
    just the medium for which it was intended by the young composer. The
    entire work was compiled in just two days.

    "It's a dark theme that inspired the Armenian Genocide," says Norton.

    "I thought of the mood and subject matter. In some instances, I had
    to stop writing when I thought about the torment and depression this
    nation faced. I felt the pain of the victims."

    Members of the Armenian Genocide Education Committee of Merrimack
    Valley have been making repeated visits to the school for each
    semester, as well as other communities throughout Greater Boston and
    Merrimack Valley.

    While student essays on the subject of the Armenian Genocide are
    nothing unusual, the fact that it comes from a totally non-Armenian
    classroom setting taught by sympathetic instructors remains tantamount
    to our cause.

    "They have a sincere desire to learn from outsiders who've approached
    our school with such motivation as the Armenians," Desberg pointed
    out. "They want to be students who make a big difference in the world."

    Tucker's symphony will be performed during a Merrimack Valley genocide
    presentation at local churches.

    "I told them to pick their means of expression," said Tucker. "Never
    did I expect a musical interlude on genocide."

    The results were vast and varied. Out of the assignment came an
    eclectic poem over an Armenian khatchkar done by Michelle Soel and
    Katie Finn, which reads in part:

    "Giving justice where it's due,

    Honoring angels in our sky,

    So many will not soon forget

    The once-forgotten genocide."

    The addition of an Armenian tricolor and sunflower sprouting from
    the ground gives it added appeal. That's not all. The Armenian word
    for freedom (azadoutoun) is etched on the side-in Armenian lettering.

    Allie Silva and Danielle O'Brien emerged with a 20" by 30" Armenian
    tri-colored poster board with these poetic words inscribed:

    "The genocide was an awful thing. Who knew what misery it would bring?

    Throughout the struggles of many, there remained hope. Thoughts of
    lost family members, Armenians had to cope. Never forgetting the
    lives that were lost. They all came at such a great cost."

    A collage by Mary Torres and Alana Madore depicted turmoil and unrest
    done in color. They said, "It's easy to learn about genocide in black
    and white through facts and numbers, but they cannot account for the
    unique life of each individual who was sacrificed."

    Students Chris Palmerino, Patrick O'Connell, and Mitchell Goulet
    designed their own interpretation of the Armenian Heritage Park
    Memorial at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, done in the form of
    a labyrinth. A global configuration with a dove flying in its midst
    carries the words: "Give peace a chance."

    Other works also intensified the mood, including two inscriptions by
    writers Peter Balakian and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    "We are all deeply touched by this tragedy," said teachers Desberg and
    Tucker. "A lot of us are offended by the fact that Turkey still denies

    From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress