Artist Series remembers genocide, honors professor

Students reflect on new chapel seating
October 7, 2019
Olivia Thomas
October 7, 2019

Artist Series remembers genocide, honors professor

Dr Edward Panosian with daughter, Lisa, walking front campus of BJU during Homecoming 2015. Photo by Hal Cook

BJU students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and the Greenville community will have the opportunity to attend the festivities of BJU’s upcoming Homecoming weekend.

From class reunions to expositions of BJU’s programs and arts, attenders have several activity options to choose from. One of these activities is a Homecoming concert. The concert will center on the life of Dr. Edward Panosian, who taught history at BJU for over 50 years.

He passionately taught history with the goal of presenting it as God’s story. Faculty and alumni remember Panosian for deeply touching the lives of his students.

The concert will tell the story of how Panosian’s life was affected by the Armenian Genocide, the ethnic killing of over 700,000 Armenians which took place between 1915 and 1920 in Turkey. The concert’s title is Panosian and the Providence of His Story and will involve both musical and theatrical elements.

Dr. Michael Moore, chair of the Division of Music, will direct the orchestra in Symphony No. 1 by Alan Hovhaness, an American composer of Armenian descent. Moore hopes that Symphony No. 1 will shed light upon the Armenian Genocide, since Hovhaness composed this symphony to commemorate it.

In addition to the orchestra, Armenian singer and songwriter Mariam Matossian will sing songs related to the Armenian Genocide. The genocide greatly influenced her family history, giving her a passion to share her story through song.

The other primary component of the concert program is a video produced by Dr. Paul Radford, chair of the communication studies department. In this video, Panosian will relay the story of how the Armenian Genocide played a significant role in his family.

The inspiration for this program came from both Moore and Radford as they combined the passion they have to share the story of the Armenian Genocide, a piece of history that people often overlook.

Moore’s interest in the event was piqued after he read Chris Anderson’s book, Panosian: A Story of God’s Gracious Providence, and became aware of how deeply the Armenian Genocide affected Panosian’s life.

Radford has been interested in the story of the Armenian Genocide for a few years now, particularly because of negative responses to recent films that were produced with the intent to shed light on the event.

Ultimately, Moore and Radford hope that the homecoming concert, which will double as the first artist series of the 2019-20 academic year, will enlighten students and other attendees to the importance of the Armenian Genocide and the deep impact it has had on people, particularly those of Armenian heritage.

Radford said the focus on the genocide will not only familiarize people with Panosian’s story, but also familiarize them with history and, ultimately, God’s story.  The concert will take place in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 pm. Following the program, Anderson and Panosian will hold a book signing for Anderson’s book.

They will also have the new audiobook available in which both Dr. Panosian and his wife Betty, a retired speech faculty member, will participate as readers.