A social hour ran from 6 to 7 pm during which our 40th anniversary signature drink, the “Hye Ball”, was debuted: an alcoholic version of a Champagne/Pomegranate juice mix. The non-alcoholic version was a sparkling juice with Pomegranate added. A very colorful and tasty addition to the evening.
Dinner was served starting about 7:10 pm and was a buffet catered by Mim's Restaurant (back for the third year in this location). The main meal consisted of hummus, a green salad, pita bread, rice (with vegetables for a topping), chicken, falafel, and kufta.
After all were served, President Naïry Digris gave a brief history of the organization and recognized a number of people that were instrumental in starting the organization. Among them was Aram Charchian who provided guidance for the organization to be set-up. He had plenty of experience in working with the Armenians in Memphis. He approached Vahram Kardashian, and together with 5 other community members, on February 16, 1980, ACOM Constitution and By-Laws were drawn and the organization was born. Vahram served as ACOM's first President. Vahram (Van as he was called) and Vali Kardashian’s home became the center of many of the group’s activities during the early years. The remaining officers of the first ACOM board were named including Naïry Digris and Pat Goshgarian (both present at this party). First ACOM Board members who have moved out of state were Steve Merjanian, Evelyn Weinsheimer, and Arek Tathevosian.
Following the history lesson, Naïry introduced the 2018-19 board members who have kindly agreed to serve on the board for another term. They were: Naïry Digris, President, John Parker-Der Boghossian, Vice President, Francis Bulbulian, Past President, Lynne Gildensoph, Secretary, Naïry Digris, Treasurer, and members-at-large who assisted in any and all tasks helping the board: Patty Kardashian, Sarah Erickson, Kassian Vaubel, Terry McGibbon (also Newsletter Editor and Webmaster). Special appreciation was given to Tom Keljik who had served as Board advisor.
The new ACOM Board for 2020-21 were then asked to present themselves: John Parker-Der Boghossian, President, Naïry Digris, Past President and Treasurer, Lynne Gildensoph, Secretary. The members-at-large are: Patty Kardashian, Kassian Vaubel, Sarah Erickson, Mark Wiersbeck, Annie Wells, Terry McGibbon (again Newsletter Editor and Webmaster). Tom Keljik will continue as Senior Advisor. John then gave some introductory remarks in his first official act as President stating that his hope for the organization is to continue to remain strong and more vibrant for our next 40-year celebration.
The first special guests were then introduced - Max Lundgren (Cello) and Robert Bell (Guitar). The duo played two pieces to the total delight of the audience. Well done, Max and Robert.
This musical presentation was followed by Dr. Chuck Hajinian from Milwaukee and his comedic delivery of “Haji Comedy”. Chuck kept the audience laughing with his Armenian-pointed humor and fast paced delivery.
Following the formal program, dessert was served consisting of a special cupcake table (cupcakes provided by Sarah Erickson and Alarica Hassett) and servings of pakhlava and mini éclairs.
Last but not least, we were treated to the Armenian sounds of Music Mundial that provided a lot of dancing music. The four players of this musical ensemble have been providing Armenian dance music to ACOM’s events since 2014. All of them are accomplished musicians in their own right, and they all play with many different ethnic group bands. They are very experienced and flexible, and ACOM is very appreciative of their versatility and talent.