The Congregational Church UCC is hosting the third and final Concerts For A Cause featuring singer/songwriter Raffi Froundjian, a 2010 graduate of Manhasset High School. Froundjian’s concert will raise money for the Katie Oppo Research Fund.
Katie Oppo was raised in The Congregational Church of Manhasset, graduating from Manhasset High School in 2009. After completing her first year in premed at Johns Hopkins, Oppo was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly form of ovarian cancer.
Despite intensive chemotherapy and an indomitable spirit, Oppo died on April 11, 2011. In July of 2012, Team Katie, a group of Oppo’s friends and family, created the Katie Oppo Research Fund (KORF) to further critical research helping to prevent, treat and cure ovarian cancer, which affects women of all ages. The eighth annual Katie Oppo Memorial Run is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, starting in Flower Hill Park. The KORF Dinner Gala is scheduled for Nov. 16. For more information, visit www.teamkatieoppo.org.
Froundjian is an Armenian-American solo guitarist and singer songwriter. Froundjian began playing music at a very young age. When he was five years old, his mother taught him how to play very simple Armenian and Middle Eastern rhythms on a doumbek drum. There were two doumbek drums, sets of finger cymbals, castanets, tambourines and other hand percussion items in his house. Rhythm was second nature to him since day one. He received a children’s set of drums and began taking lessons. Next came a full-size drum set as a Christmas present from his uncle, and he began to play songs by The Beatles, The Who and System of a Down. His life was forever changed after hearing two albums his drum teacher gave him—Led Zeppelin II and IV. It was then when he knew he wanted to be a guitar player. He has been playing guitar for almost 14 years.
At the age of 17, Froundjian discovered the guitarist Andy McKee in a YouTube video, playing a piece called “Drifting.” This piece had a huge impact on Froundjian, as it combined two of his loves in music—guitar and percussion. He first played this piece for a large audience at the Green Club Talent show at Manhasset High School, where he won first prize. This piece marked a turning point in his love of acoustic guitar performance, and brought him to new guitar playing mentors like Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Hedges, John Butler and Chet Atkins. He’s been testing his acoustic abilities ever since.
Froundjian recently returned from Havana, Cuba, where he participated in a music camp led by Tommy Emmanuel, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo. This opportunity to work closely alongside his creative hero, Tommy Emmanuel, was for him, a dream come true. After many years of playing in bands, Froundjian has decided that it is time for him to continue his musical journey as a solo artist. This is a new chapter for him and he is looking forward to performing his music at many concerts and events.
Tickets for the Froundjian concert are $20 and can be purchased using a credit card online at www.eventbrite.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door (cash/check). The Congregational Church (UCC) is located at 1845 Northern Blvd. in Manhasset (directly across the street from the Apple Store). For more information, call Rev. Jimmy Only or Rev. Lori Burgess at 516-627-4911 or visit www.uccmanhasset.org.