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Ian Gillan takes part in opening of Gyumri N6 music school


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
N6 music school opened in Gyumri.

Photo: Mediamax


Yerevan /Mediamax/. The opening of new building of N6 music school reconstructed within the joint project of Mediamax, Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and Australian Do Something organization was held in Gyumri today.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan and Executive Director of Do Something organization Jon Dee attended the opening ceremony.

Approaching the building, Ian Gillan said that he "had tears in my eyes" seeing the school. "I already hear the music which will come from the school. We managed to revive the music", said Ian Gillan.


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

Congratulating everyone on the opening of the school, Director of Mediamax media company Ara Tadevosyan presented the story of "Rock Aid Armenia" project initiated by 24-year-old Jon Dee in London in 1989 which brought together British rock superstars around the idea of helping earthquake-hit Armenia. Ara Tadevosyan also told about realization of "Armenia Grateful 2 Rock" project initiated by Mediamax in 2009 when the 20th anniversary of "Rock Aid Armenia" was marked. 

"Four years ago, we visited this place together with Ian Gillan, Jon Dee, Tony Iommi and Geoff Downes promising to take the children out of those awful small dwellings and build a new school for them. Toni Iommi is absent today for valid reasons but you can be sure he's also very happy and proud. I hope he'll visit Gyumri next year", Director of Mediamax said.

"When we came here 4 years ago and promised to build a new school, the director was a bit skeptical. He said many people had come over 20 years and made promises. And we kept our promise. And now it's school director's and teachers' turn. Today you have good conditions to educate good musicians and I hope we'll hear the names of your pupils soon", Ara Tadevosyan said.


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

Director of Mediamax thanked Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Head of President's Staff Vigen Sargsyan and Fund for Armenian Relief, especially Garnik Nanagulyan and Bagrat Sargsyan, for their joint teamwork.

"I express my special gratitude toward Mardigian Family Foundation. Learning about our joint efforts, Mr. and Mrs. Mardigians decided to triple the raise funds in a day. Without them, the school wouldn't be built today", said Director of Mediamax.

Ara Tadevosyan also thanked former British Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale who greatly supported the project, former head of ArmRusGazard Karen Karapetyan, VivaCell-MTS and Ralph Yirikian, Orange Armenia, Tim Irving from Canada as well as "Kanaka" construction company led by Hayk Hovivyan.

***

After devastating Spitak earthquake in 1988 N6 music school in Gyumri has been made up of “domiks” (metal sheet dwellings), where children were educated until the 2013.

The opening of Gyumri N6 music school will mark the logical end of Rock Aid Armenia project started back in 1989.


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

A few months after the devastating Spitak earthquake that killed 25 thousand Armenians and left hundreds of thousands homeless, 24 year old Jon Dee organized the Rock Aid Armenia project in London. British rock stars recorded a top 40 cover version of Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and helped to release the special “Earthquake Album”. Revenue from the single and album sales was contributed as aid to Armenia.

In 2009, Armenian Mediamax media company decided to honor the participants of Rock Aid Armenia and contacted Jon Dee who lives in Australia and heads the Do Something organization that he set up with tennis star and former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. As Jon was planning to re-release Rock Aid Armenia’s Smoke on the Water to raise additional funds for Armenia, Mediamax and Do Something joined forces to implement the Armenia Grateful 2 Rock / Rock Aid Armenia project.

In October 2009, Mediamax invited Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, Geoff Downes from Yes/Asia and Jon Dee to Armenia. Under the Armenian President’s decree, they were awarded an Order of Honor. It was later that Brian May from Queen and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd were given their Orders of Honors by the Armenian Embassy in London.


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi, Geoff Downes and Jon Dee visited the Octet Music School in Gyumri during their trip to Armenia. If there has ever existed a painful blend of poverty and talent, then it was vividly exposed at the Gyumri Octet School of Music. Many of the students come from underprivileged families in Gyumri. Their music school has been made up of “domiks” (metal sheet dwellings) that were left over from the 1988 earthquake. The promise to rebuild these temporary premises with a proper building has not happened. Despite their dilapidated premises, the Octet Music School has kept producing talent year after year.

The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) has been sponsoring the underprivileged students of the School for many years. A hint of hope came to the school about 5 years ago when a very special couple from the United States, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Janet Mardigian visited the students, accompanied by the FAR Board of Directors. “I would never forget those children, tears were coming to my eyes every time I recalled their beautiful musical performance”  - said Mrs. Janet Mardigian. They have never stopped thinking about the ways that they could help the children.

The children’s performance also struck the rock heroes Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi and Geoff Downes. Together with Jon Dee, they announced that they would help to rebuild the school. By the end of 2009, FAR, Mediamax and Do Something signed a trilateral agreement to achieve this outcome.

In March 2010, Mediamax and Do Something organized two charitable concerts by Ian Gillan with the Armenian Symphonic Orchestra in Yerevan. General sponsorship of the concerts by leading Armenian mobile operator VivaCell-MTS allowed to raise 45.000 USD. Over the past 2 years, a total of USD 110.000 has been raised for rebuilding the school - the Armenian Government, Geoff Downes, EMI Records and Orange Armenia also made contributions. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan pledged to support the project with AMD10mln (or 25.000 USD). This money will soon be transferred to the school account.

N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

In 2010, Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi set up the WhoCares ad-hoc super-group to raise funds for the Octet school. In May 2011, Edel Music released the first single by WhoCares with 2 brand new songs – Out of My Mind and Holy Water. In July 2012, Edel Music released the WhoCares album that comprises the 2 songs from the single and unreleased and rare material from Gillan and Iommi’s back catalogue. Gillan and Iommi will make an advance payment of 15.000 USD for the school and the rest will be transferred after the album sales.

The FAR Board recently briefed the Mardigian Family Foundation about these extensive fundraising efforts. The following day, their Foundation informed FAR that it will almost triple the funds raised so far. This generous donation was extremely important and it allowed FAR, Mediamax and Do Something to launch the construction of the school.


N6 music school opened in Gyumri.
Photo: Mediamax.

The construction was carried out by “Kanaka” company, which had won the tender, organized by the FAR.

Schoolchildren will also have new musical instruments. In December 2009 and January 2010, VivaCell-MTS, Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi donated new instruments to the school.

In January 2011, the owner of music store Millbank Music in Canada Tim Irving contacted Ian Gillan's manager Phil Banfield and said that he would like to provide music instruments to the Gyumri school. Tim noted that he had been the fan of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath since childhood and he would be honored to take part in WhoCares project implemented by Ian Gillan and Toni Iommi. Over  two years, Tim Irving collected an impressive number of music instruments for N6 music school in Gyumri - 24 violins, 12 acoustic guitars, 12 ukeleles, 4 alto Saxophones, 4 trumpets, 2 mandolins, 2 flutes, 3 hand drums, 1 conga kit with stand, 3 Yamaha portable keyboards, 1 Yamaha 88 note digital piano etc. (at the total amount of $ 21 200).

Tim Irvin also participated in today's ceremony of opening of new building of N6 music school in Gyumri.

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