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How Gyumri's brass orchestra won a Grand Prix after 1988 earthquake
2018-12-11 15:58:58

Anna Martikyan
Public Radio of Armenia

In 1988 musicians of the Leninanakan (now Gyumri) brass band were trying to change the atmosphere in the city in the aftermaths of the devastating earthquake that claimed almost 25 thousand lives and left thousands without shelter.

“Everyone would put aside the sorrow and attend the rehearsals,” the bank’s artistic director Garnik Mejlumyan recalls.

The musicians were playing on instruments recovered from under the debris and were taken aback by an invitation to represent the country at the prestigious Eurofanfare Festival.

“We thought we would not be able to attend the festival with crooked instruments, but our will was strong,” Mejlumyan says.

The orchestra visited 25 European cities, played in the streets and on stages. The musicians hoped to get some certificate from the festival, but heard their name when the Grand Prix was being announced.