By Jack Arikian
In my house, Saturday is not complete without the sound of Armenian music echoing throughout the house, and my mother dancing to the songs she loves and has listened to her entire life. This is the case for many Armenian households who enjoy the songs played every Saturday on the Fresno State radio station KFSR 90.7. From 9 am to noon the station airs the Hye Oozh Show, which is hosted by two Fresno State students who take the time each week to provide Armenian music for the Central Valley.
The show is currently hosted by Susie Saghdejian and Sevag Tateosian and offers a combination of traditional Armenian folk music and modern dance mixes. This variety satisfies everyone’s tastes and preferences, and the show expresses a part of the Armenian culture. The show is one of few in Fresno that plays Armenian music, and the only one that provides uninterrupted play. The Armenian community is diverse in the Valley and Tateosian recognizes this, stating, “It is important to provide music for everyone in the community and to acknowledge everyone’s preferences.” He continued and said, “Although I am still in my first year with the show, I feel it is my responsibility to see that the community embraces the show and makes it a regular part of their Saturday mornings.”
The show currently has three sections, each of which is an hour in length. The first hour is dedicated to folk music, the second hour to more modern music, and the third hour is for dedications. Saghdejian and Tateosian feel that if they can demonstrate an increase in demand for the show to the University, then they can lengthen the show an additional hour. This will allow an even larger variety of music as Tateosian said, “It is important to understand our ancestors’ culture by listening to the folk music. I feel it is important to show the direction Armenian music is headed. It is necessary for the youth to be exposed to the vast styles of Armenian music.”
The student DJs illustrate their desire to bring new and exciting music to the community with their recent announcement of a benefit concert. The Hye Oozh Show has scheduled an appearance by Joseph Krikorian and the Knar Band on July 8, 2000 at the Fresno State Satellite Student Union on campus. It is an exciting event because it will be the first time Joseph Krikorian will play in the Valley. Krikorian is one of the recent stars of Armenian music and is thrilled at the opportunity to play in the Valley. Saghdejian and Tateosian selected Krikorian because it would give the community the opportunity to listen to something new. An event like this does not happen often and it is exciting to see new artists in town. This concert will give the Armenian community of Fresno an opportunity to unite and get together for a night of dancing right before the summer picnic festivals. Tateosian promises the show to be a success, which means more artists may be invited in the future.
The Hye Oozh Show has enjoyed much success over the years and no one knows how large its listener base can get. The show’s success can be attributed to Saghdejian who has worked hard on the show for over three years. She has raised money through her public appearances and various fundraisers to build a collection of compact discs for the show. Unfortunately, Saghdejian has elected to make this her last semester with the show. However, the show will continue with Tateosian taking her place as full-time DJ.
Listening to the show you can see that Hye Oozh provides more than just music; it provides the community with knowledge and history along with entertainment. It provides an opportunity for the community to unite through the beautiful sounds of music. The show has passed its tough days and is looking to expand on the exceptional progress Saghdejian achieved. One can only believe that this show will prosper in the community and will provide us with additional events and activities.