You would have to search high and low to find a couple more devoted to one another than they were. He pampered her and relished in her successes, just as she did in his.
They were passionate about their Armenian heritage, its music, its young people, and most of all, one another. Together, Annabelle and Albert Darakjian wrote the background score to a long and beautiful life story that brought joy to others through the arts and a shared faith. From his earliest years, Albert was exposed to the distinctive melodies of Armenian folk music. His mother would say that, as early as three years old, Albert would put on his favorite Armenian recording, filling their home with the echoes of their ancestors.
After retiring from teaching in the Los Angeles City School system, Albert turned his attention to his real passion, music and composing. He prayed for the inspiration to create music for the Armenian people; a prayer that was answered when he went on to compose his most beloved suite Armenian Symphonic Dances.
Another highlight of Albert’s musical career was when his composition Flight of the Eagle was performed at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion by the Glendale Symphony, conducted by maestro Lalo Schifrin. His music was also featured by the Sister City Committee of Thousand Oaks’ concert, which raised funds for victims of the Armenian earthquake in Spitak, Armenia in 1988.
On one of Albert’s CDs, he expresses his thoughts and feelings on his work. He said, “From my earliest years, I was exposed to the characteristic beauty of Armenian folk music. There is a certain Armenian element in my music suggesting that I was strongly conscious of my ancestral folk heritage, and frequently drew upon it as a source for creative expression. However, the true creative inspiration for this work and all my musical endeavors has been the person of the Lord Himself, for I firmly believe that all my music is God’s purpose for my life and without His guidance and help, it could not have been accomplished. The glory is for God alone.”
Annabelle also loved the arts, from music, to dance, theater, and artwork. After she and Albert moved to Westlake Village, she was elected to the board of the Arts Commission Westlake Village, which she served from 1993 until October 2009. During this time, she chaired a committee called the “Healing Power of Music,” which brought the transcending properties of music to mentally disabled adults.
The Darakjians were married for 58 years before Albert’s passing in 2013. They were deeply in love and committed to one another. As Annabelle’s niece Laureen Mgrdichian described their relationship, “You would have to search high and low to find a couple more devoted to one another than they were. He pampered her and relished in her successes, just as she did in his.” Annabelle joined her husband in 2015.
With no children of their own, both Annabelle and Albert took special interest in youth, particularly those of Armenian descent, which, combined with their love for music, inspired their generous gift to AGBU for music scholarships.