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University President Directs Benefit Performance at MWSU

Missouri Western showcased the talents of students from the opera program in a special performance, while also featuring Dr. Robert Vartabedian as director.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A benefit on Sunday at Missouri Western showcased the talents of students from the opera program in a special performance about the American Labor Movement.

The performance also featured the talents of the University President Dr. Robert Vartabedian. He directed the show titled 'American Story.'
 
The story is one of hope and determination for American immigrants after a massacre in Ludlow, Colorado in 1914. It's a unique look at the struggle between corporate power and labor workers in America.

"It's a very interesting story, and particularly compelling when set to music. It's about this 1914 terrible tragedy that started part of the beginnings to the American labor movement," said Dr. Vartabedian.

"I wanted them to know this story about people who struggled for a better life, because I really think it's everybody's story," said Dr. Laural Vartabedian, writer.

Dr. Laural Vartabedian wrote 'American Story' after visiting the Ludlow Monument in Colorado years ago with her husband.

"We were in Colorado about 15 years ago and saw the Ludlow Massacre Monument, and then my wife who is really the creative force behind this show "American Story" started doing historical research for about five years," said Dr. Robert Vartabedian.

"I originally had the concept and then wrote the script for the show and the lyrics," said Mrs. Vartabedian.

"American Story" has been performed on and off since 2000, and the shortened version performed by Missouri Western students is an effort to raise money so the students can reach a broader audience.

"This concertized version that we're doing and taking to Colorado, we've been working on it off and on all semester long," said Mrs. Vartabedian.

After months of preparation, the students put on two performances at Kemper Recital Hall, a benefit to help fund their trip to Colorado where they can take a deeper look into the massacre while sharing their talents.

"We will travel to Colorado in May, and we will present this in Trinidad, Colorado. We also have several things that we will do in the Denver area to help promote the students and their careers," said Dr. Laural Vartabedian.

A trip filled with educational opportunities and the experience to expose their talents as students in Missouri Western's opera program.

Both performances also featured an 11-member children's choir from the St. Joseph community.
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