Mary Louise Arias, of Mexican roots and mother-in-law of the beatle George Harrison, was a fan of Mariachi music that at her death, her daughter decided to donate thousands of dollars to the Mariachi Heritage Society Foundation led by José Hernández.
Maestro José Hernández, director of the Mariachi Sol de México and Mariachi Reina de Los Angeles, clearly remembers that in the mid-seventies the former member of the band The Beatles, the now deceased George Harrison, hired him and his mariachi to play in an event.
“When we arrived, it was very interesting because one part of the party was very Mexican and the other very classic (American),” Master Hernández told La Opinión in a telephone interview.
What little Hernandez imagined is that George's mother-in-law, Mary Louise Arias, of Mexican roots, was a fan of Mexican music and especially Mariachi. It was at her request that the mariachi became part of their lives.
"They were following my career for a long time," said Hernandez, who was unaware of his popularity with the famous family.
Years later, Olivia Harrison, George's wife, and her mother Mrs. Arias saw Hernandez again at a concert and from there they began a closer relationship.
"When George passed away, (Olivia, his wife) donated $ 30,000 to my foundation," said Hernandez, who is the founder of the Mariachi Heritage Society.
“This year that his mother (Mary Louise Arias) passed away, Olivia gave this new donation. They have always been very attentive to us, ”said Hernández.
The recent donation of $ 50,000 was made by the Material World Foundation to the Mariachi Heritage Society, which will continue to share traditional Mexican music with future generations. The donation will honor the memory of Mrs. Mary Louise Arias, who always demonstrated her love for Mariachi.
The Material World Foundation was created in 1973 by George Harrison, with the purpose of promoting non-profit organizations, formally established, dedicated to the production of alternative artistic expressions.
Maestro Hernández said that through this donation from the Material World Foundation, they will be able to offer 25 scholarships to children and / or young people with low income to participate in the Summer Institute Mariachi Nationals summer program, organized by the Mariachi Heritage Society.
In this educational program, participants, ranging from 7 years to 60 or 70 years, have the opportunity to learn from the experts of Mexican vernacular music for four days.
The program also includes solo competitions and mariachi groups, as well as the opportunity to be winners of musical instruments.
“Last year we had Ana Bárbara as a (teacher) guest and this year we will have Shayla Durcal (daughter of the late Rocio Durcal),” said Hernández.
The donation will also help in mariachi music instruction in public schools in the United States – which in the Los Angeles region alone encompasses 25 public schools – and in the general operations of the Mariachi Heritage Society Foundation.
The Mariachi Nationals program celebrates its ninth anniversary in 2020. During this period, scholarships have been offered to thousands of low-income students. The musical education they have received, as well as their artistic presentations, have been top notch, says Hernández.
So much is the passion that young musicians have developed that two of their last mariachi elements have been ex-participants of the program.
“For me, seeing them done is like a complete circle. It's a great pride, ”said Hernandez, who added that one of the young people even showed him a picture of when he participated in the program, at the age of 4, and now they are both together.
"Now he is an academy teacher with a violin degree," said Hernández. "Students come not only from California, but also from Arizona, New Mexico and have come from Australia."
This year the Mariachi Nationals program will be held in the city of Anaheim. Those interested in participating can obtain more information at mariachinationals.com or by calling (626) 279-1700.