Blog Archives

115th Diocesan Assembly Conference, Kef Night, and Gala at St. Hagop Armenian Church Tampa

Join delegates and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese for Dinner and Dances at Innisbrook Resort on Thursday & Friday evenings May 4 & 5, 2017.

Garden Buffet Dinner & KEF Night

Thursday, May 4, 2017, 8:00 pm—11:00 pm

Tickets for the 115th Diocesan Assembly Dinner at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club are $50 per person. Buy tickets online here.

Gala Banquet Dinner & Dancing

Friday, May 5, 2017, 7:00 pm – 12:00 am

Will be held at the Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, as part of the 115th Diocesan Assembly. Gala Dinner & Dance tickets are $115 per person. Buy tickets online here.

Dance tickets are available for ONLY $25 per person, and will be held 10:00 pm – 12:00 am. Buy tickets online here.


5th Annual Return to Asbury to Take Place Aug. 5-7


By Taleen Babayan
FLArmenians Guest Contributor

ASBURY PARK, NJ – Following the Armenian tradition of friendship, camaraderie and music, hundreds of Armenians will gather in the historically rich Asbury Park for the fifth annual “Return to Asbury,” scheduled for August 5-7, 2016.

Following their grandparents and great-grandparents footsteps when summer weekends were spent on the beach in the 1950s and 1960s, a new generation of Armenians has emerged who will socialize on the beach, dance to traditional Armenian kef music and participate in tavloo and volleyball games.

Cocktails at the beachfront Watermark will kick off the weekend, followed by a day of fun and games on the 7th Avenue beach. The highlight of “Return to Asbury” will feature a joyous “kef” on Saturday night at the newly built hotel The Asbury, featuring talented musicians of a new Armenian generation, including Yerakouyn Band and Steven Vosbikian.

Yerakouyn, a trio of Armenian-Americans from Northern New Jersey who play Armenian folk music, consists of Shant Massoyan (guitar, vocal), Raffi Massoyan (oud, drums) and Raffi Rachdouni (keyboard).

They will be joined on stage by Steven Vosbikian (clarinet, zurna, vocals), Vicken Makouchian (keyboard) and Markos Shahbazyan (drums, dhol).

Vosbikian himself is a descendent of the Vosbikian Band, who played kef music at Asbury Park in the mid 20th century and continues his family’s tradition – all in the name of a good cause.


“The money we raise from Return to Asbury will allow for us to have shvis and dhols created for students here in local Armenian schools,” said Vosbikian, who will give music lessons in person to the students. “The instruments will be handmade in Armenia and will contribute towards continuing the Armenian musical tradition here in the U.S. for the next generations.”

“Return to Asbury is an event created by Armenians, for Armenians,” said Arsine Kaloustian, former Return to Asbury chairwoman and Florida Chair of the Armenian Assembly of America. “All are welcome to recapture the magic that our parents and grandparents felt in those hot summers many decades ago.  This event is truly timeless, where strangers can become friends within minutes.”

In fact, a participant was so inspired by the event that he himself stepped up to chair this year’s event.

“This event is like none other in our community,” said Alan Minoyan. “And it’s important that we preserve important social and cultural events such as these so our heritage doesn’t fade away.”

“Return to Asbury” will take place from August 5-7, 2015, with the main affair taking place on August 6 at 8 pm. For tickets and more information, please visit Have a story or photo to share from the past? Please submit them at

All proceeds for the event will benefit Armenian music education, specifically to buy Armenian school children musical instruments and keep the “kef” going well into the future.

This article originally appeared in the Armenian Weekly and is republished with the expressed written consent of the author.

Armenians Return to Asbury 2016

Return to Asbury is hitting the beach for its FIFTH YEAR in a row!

For Armenian Americans on the East Coast in the 1950s and 60s, Asbury Park, New Jersey was THE place to come together on summer weekends. Days were spent on the beach and in the ocean, and at night everyone would gather at the Hye Hotel, the Van Hotel, the Sunset Lounge and the Hye-Da-Way kef room. Friends and families crowded the boardwalk, and the sounds of the oud and doumbek filled the air.

With Return to Asbury 2016, we’re bringing back this summer tradition — in perfect symmetry with the historic beach town of Asbury Park, which is currently in the midst of its own exciting rebirth! Come run away to the beach with us!


Return to Asbury 2016 Kef on the Beach will feature music by:


Shant Massoyan: Guitar/Vocal

Raffi Massoyan: Oud/Drums

Raffi Rachdouni: Keyboard


Steven S. Vosbikian: Clarinet/Zurna/Vocals

Vicken Makouchian: Keyboards

Markos Shahbazyan: Drums/Dhol

Staying through the weekend? No problem! We have secured a discounted room rate of $240.00 per night at the The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, just call: (732) 776-6700.

Tickets to all events can be purchased here.

Because of restrictions with the venues, tickets CANNOT be sold at the door. There are NO REFUNDS once tickets have been purchased. Please plan ahead!

Have a story or photo to share from the past? Please submit them at

All proceeds to benefit Armenian music education, specifically to buy Armenian school children musical instruments and keep the Kef going well into the future!

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter.

Florida Armenians invites you to join us and fellow Armenians on the beach! We hope you can make it!