Monday, June 5, 2017

Lest we forget: The Armenian “Baden Powell” and his Son

Lest we forget: The Armenian “Baden Powell” and his Son.
Vahe H. Apelian

On October 20, 2014, Levon Sharoyan of Aleppo posted about Levon Apkarian where he noted the following.
“Give another year, half a century would have passed since Levon Apkarian’s death, He was the Armenian scout master “Baden Powell”. The new generation may not know of him or even heard his name. But the older generation, as onetime students in Armenians schools, and orphanages in Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, knew this legendary person. They could never forget the athletic events he organized, the Swedish exercises he taught and scouting troupes he led wearing his hat, carrying a whistle around his neck and the emblems he wore on his formal scout dress.
Levon Apkarian hailed from Sassoun. His life would have made a captivating novel if one had been able to do the impossible task of narrating it. In the immediate aftermath of the genocide, his life was marked by his efforts of salvaging Armenian orphans from the Syrian cities of Deir Elor, Ras al-Ain, Arab Punar and entrusting them to the care of Armenian organizations.
After the war he devoted himself completely to athleticism and scouting. The Syrian Arab community bestowed upon him the honorific title as the “Chief of the Scouts”.
After his death, the Armenian community did not have a scoutmaster of his caliber. There has not been another Levon Apkarian. Along with the genocide martyred founder of the Armenian Athletic organization and scouting, Shavarsh Krisian, Levon Apkarian remains a towering figure in the history of Armenian athleticism and scouting.
Levon Apkarian, was also the father of the legendary artistic director and conductor of the Kohar Symphony Orchestra, Sebouh Apkarian”.
On August 5, 2014, Asbarez Daily also reported the passing away of the legendary artistic director and conductor of the Kohar Symphony Orchestra, Sebouh Apkarian. Many if not most of us remember him with his long white hair flowing down his back shoulder, his graceful, and undulating body as he conducted the Orchestra.
The following communiqué was carried in the Armenian press:  “Sebouh Apkarian was born in Cyprus. He was a composer, conductor, painter and educator. He founded the Armenian Radio Program at the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, where he served for 46 years.
He graduated from the Melkonian Educational Institute, where he later taught music and conducted the school choir, following the steps of his music teacher and mentor, Vahan Bedelian.
After graduating from the Melkonian he continued his studies in Paris.
As an opera singer, he performed in Nicosia, Athens, Beirut, Aleppo, Cairo, and Paris.
He composed many songs, choral works, chamber music, oratorios, cantatas, symphonic suites and musical caricatures. Many of these compositions have been performed in Tokyo, Paris, Cyprus, Beirut and the US.
His work and performances with Kohar Symphony Orchestra and Choir were characterized by many as the most significant contribution towards the promotion of Armenian culture during the last decade.”

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